Anyone who loves the outdoors will tell you: one of Quebec City’s best qualities is that it’s so close to nature. Not only are there numerous parks and walking and biking paths within the city itself, but you also only need to drive a short distance to leave every bit of urban bustle behind. Our four, well-defined seasons add to the diversity of colorful scenery, creating particular pleasures at every time of the year. Naturally, there are numerous ways to make the most of this bounty: a wide variety of outdoor activities can be enjoyed in the region, a fact that is bound to please all nature-lovers and physical fitness buffs, from casual walkers and hard-core hiking enthusiasts to mountain bikers and downhill skiers. No matter how active you want to be or how fit you are (or possibly aren’t!), Québec City’s great outdoors can happily take care of you (and the kids).
Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier, a short 30-minute drive from Quebec City, is one of our real treasures. A valley runs through its center, and a vigorous river flows along its bottom. An impressive range of activities, such as hiking on some 60 miles of paths crisscrossing the park, lets you enjoy the stunning scenery.
What could be more energizing than visiting the city and admiring its most beautiful scenery by bike? The Corridor du Littoral allows you to do just that. It is a 30-mile biking path stretching from the western suburbs to the majestic Chutes Montmorency, passing through the pretty Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain. Rest stops and overlooks are set up all along the way so you can take in panoramic views of the region.
About 25 miles from downtown Quebec City is Mont-Sainte-Anne, a mountainous area in which you can go camping, golfing, mountain biking or hiking in the summertime, or – the activity for which it is best known —downhill skiing in the winter. The mountain itself, at 806 meters in altitude, is famous for its 69 snow-covered slopes that skiers and snowboarders of any level will love. There are also several well-maintained paths for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Cross Country Skiing
A playground of over 55 square miles, Station Touristique Duchesnay welcomes outdoor enthusiasts who come do a wide variety of activities all year long, from hiking in the summertime to dog-sledding in the winter. The Station also features a hotel, a restaurant and a Scandinavian spa, and is particularly well-known for its network of over 30 miles of well-maintained cross-country ski paths.
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the park nestled along the Rivière Saint-Charles, which runs from the lake of the same name to the St. Lawrence River. This linear park stretches along 20 miles of river bank, and the scenery ranges from urban sectors to a nearly wild wooded area. A portion of the forest path made of wooden boardwalks is reserved for hiking, but the rest is also accessible to cyclists.