Finding Fall in Quebec – A Fall Road Trip Itinerary
Are you finding yourself constantly dreaming about going on an adventure in the peak of Fall through a dreamy red, orange and yellow landscape? The best way to describe Quebec in the Fall is dreamy. The vibrant Fall colours in Quebec are absolutely insane and there are so many places where you can go to see them! We loved Quebec because it felt like a much less popular tourist destination and so we didn’t have to deal with the crowds of people chasing the Fall colours like you do in some of the USA States during Fall.
Dave and I road tripped through Quebec this Fall of 2022 and so have created this guide to help you plan your very own road trip through Quebec, beginning and ending in Quebec City and teach you how to figure out how to know when the Fall colours will be at their peak in each location.
This guide is perfect for you if you are interested in visiting the best national parks in Quebec for the Fall colours and doing some hikes to some of the most amazing Fall coloured views! I will be sharing 4 of the best national parks in Quebec that adventure travellers will love!
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LNT (Leave no Trace)
Whenever you are enjoying the beautiful nature that our world has to offer, remember to leave no trace (LNT)! Respect the beautiful places that make our world beautiful and take out everything that you take in, take only photos and respect the wildlife and other people. You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here.
How to get to Quebec
This guide is based on a road trip beginning in Quebec City and driving out to the surrounding National Parks. We flew from Vancouver to Quebec City return and rented a car from the airport. From Vancouver, we had to fly to Calgary, where we got a connecting flight to Quebec City.
How to find the best Fall colours in Quebec
You might be asking, “but when is the best time to see the Fall colours in Quebec?”
The Fall colours only last a couple of weeks, with the peak colour time window being even smaller. Every year, the dates of the colour changes change a little so it’s quite hard to predict. However, there is a way to help with planning your trip. You can still book your trip in advance and choose the places you want to go, but leave your trip open to slight changes.
There is a Fall Foliage Map available which shows each national park in Quebec with a colour coding chart showing what stage the leaves are at. The map is not updated until the leaves start to change colours, but when it starts, it becomes a lot easier to predict where and when the peak leaf peeping will occur.
Our experience in planning our trip around the peak foliage times
We pre-planned our trip to Quebec quite a few months in advance. We booked our road trip from the 2nd October – 8th October 2022 and had to just cross our fingers leading up to the trip. About 1 week out from the 2nd October, I checked the map and saw that the places that we were going to be visiting were at mid-point which is the stage prior to near peak. A couple of days prior to our trip, they were near peak which seemed to work out perfectly!
Update Fall 2023: I have heard that it sounds like the Fall colours will be peaking at around the same time again this year!
National Parks with the Best Fall Colours in Quebec
There are SO many provincial parks in Quebec that have amazing hikes and amazing Fall colours! We explored some of the best parks in Quebec to see the Fall colours and did some amazing hikes.
We picked the following 4 parks to visit during our road trip which were all incredible in their own way. 3 of these parks are all in close proximity to each other up North and one of them (Mont Mégantic) is down South.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps! The map also includes directions to show the way we did our road trip.
If you are visiting the National Parks in Quebec, you will need a parks pass. There are a few different options for passes depending on how many days you plan on spending in the parks. You can purchase your pass here or at the entrance of the park.
|INDIVIDUAL RATES (CAD per person – 18 years and over) – last updated Oct 2023|
|Daily rate for one park||$9.55|
|Annual Park Card (for one park)||$47.75|
|Annual Québec National Parks Card (for all parks)||$86.00|
Parc national des Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie
Hautes-Gorges is one of the most popular parks in the Fall, and for good reason! This park is beautiful and it was so vibrant at the peak of Fall when we were there. It is one of the best parks for Fall colours in Quebec.
There are lots of hikes in Hautes-Gorges and also some lovely spots to relax by the water if you prefer not to hike.
There is a boat cruise which you can do along the Rivière Malbaie between Le Draveur Visitors Centre and the Équerre sector. The cruise is around an hour long and takes you 5km up the river and back again.
The bridge next to Le Draveur Visitors Centre is also really pretty and a great place to have lunch next to at the picnic tables. We enjoyed taking photos here.
TIP: Contact Sepaq with regards to whether you can drive into the park or not. We visited on a weekday and were able to drive in, however, on the weekends you may need to book a shuttle due to the popularity. The shuttle schedule is located here.
Hikes in Hautes-Gorges
There are some really beautiful hikes in this park. We recommend L’Acropole-des-Draveurs which is where the below photo is from. This hike takes you high up above the tree line and has some amazing views of the river and the Fall trees below.
It is the most popular hike in the park so you will not have the viewpoint to yourself, however there is not only 1, but 3 summits at the top so plenty of space to spread out and get your photos. There are some rules for this hike, such as strict cut off times to start and descend. You can find more on these rules here.
|Distance||10.6km / 6.5 miles|
|Elevation||885 metres / 3,264 ft|
|Time||4-6 hours approximately|
|Difficulty Level||Hard – there is a lot of elevation on this hike so lots of stairs|
Places to stay near Hautes-Gorges
If you want to stay close to the park entrance, you need to make sure you book well in advance as this is the accommodation that gets booked up first. Some great options near to the park are:
- Auberge Le Relais Des Hautes Gorges – this is where we stayed and we loved it! It is only a 15 minute drive from the park and they do the BEST breakfasts! Probably the best pancakes either of us have ever had!
- Chez Les Bergeron – about 25 minutes drive from the park with a beautiful garden, hot tub and yummy continental breakfast!
Parc national des Grands-Jardins
Grand Jardins is located in the Charlevoix Regional County Municipality, only an hour away from Hautes Gorges and the colours were absolutely stunning!
You could definitely visit this park while staying in one of the accommodations closer to Hautes-Gorges if you prefer not to have to move. We ended up staying in Baie-Saint-Paul in this motel which worked well.
From our motel, it was only 20 minutes to the Grand Jardins park entrance. Baie-Saint-Paul is the closest town to the park and it is so cute! There are some really nice shops and places to eat. It really made us feel as though we were in Europe!
Hikes in Grand-Jardins
This park is a gold mine of awesome hikes! We recommend the ones listed below but if you only have time for one hike, our favourite was Mont Du Dome (pictured below), which is technically located outside of the park in a separate recreation area called ZEC des Martres, however it is still in the located along the same road as the other hikes.
Another hike with amazing views is Mont du Lac-des-Cygnes Trail which has some of the most impressive views of the Fall foliage from the top and is a must do and also Monts du Lac à l’Empêche which has insane views during most of the hike as you are continuously hiking up and over the summits.
Mont du Lac-des-Cygnes Trail
|Distance||9.2km / 5.7 miles|
|Elevation||439 metres / 1,440 ft|
|Time||approx. 4 hours|
Monts du Lac à l’Empêche
|Distance||8km / 4.9 miles|
|Elevation||301 metres / 987 ft|
Sentier du Mont du Dôme
|Distance||8km / 4.9 miles|
|Elevation||467 metres / 1,532 ft|
|Difficulty Level||Moderate to Hard – hard due to a bit of scrambling. There is a sign that warns you when you are approaching this section of the trail.|
Places to stay near Grand-Jardins
- Maison Chez Laurent – this is where we stayed. It was a pretty basic motel but very clean and the staff, although could not speak English were super friendly.
- Hôtel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix – This place looks amazing and is about a 30 minute drive to the park!
Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier
Jacques-Cartier is located only 50km North / 40 minute drive of Quebec City and is a great choice for a day trip if you are planning on staying in the city.
Hikes in Jacques-Cartier
If you are planning on just a quick stopover in Jacques Cartier like us, the Eperon Trail is a great choice for a short hike with a view. If you are planning on spending an entire day in the park, you might want to opt for a longer, more challenging hike such as The Wolves Trail.
|Distance||5km / 3.1 miles|
|Elevation||249 metres / 813 ft|
|Difficulty Level||Easy – moderate|
The Wolves Trail
|Distance||9.6km / 6 miles|
|Elevation||479 metres / 1,574 ft|
Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
Mont-Mégantic is the only park on this list which is down South. Although it was kind of out of the way for us, we found that it was the least touristy park that we visited and had some of the views all to ourselves.
The Fall colours in Mont Mégantic were amazing and it is a park you simply have to add to your list! We do not regret the out of the way drive for this park at all!
Hikes in Mont-Mégantic
We did Sentier Des Cimes for sunset and spent sunset overlooking a sea of red and orange trees. It was absolutely magical! Another great hike is the Mont Mégantic Trail which is a bit longer and steeper but the views are insane from the top!
Sentier Des Cimes
|Distance||12.9km / 8 miles|
|Elevation||396 metres / 1,295 ft|
|Time||2.5 – 3.5 hours|
Mont Mégantic Trail
|Distance||15.9km / 9.8 miles|
|Elevation||724 metres / 2,375 ft|
|Time||5 – 7 hours|
Places to stay near Mont–Mégantic
We stayed in the cutest little cabin near Mont-Megantic. It was a great stay apart from the check in, which was an unfortunate situation of the hosts forgetting to send us the check instructions and door code and then us not speaking French and them not speaking English when we were trying to explain our problem. Google Translate saved us!
This is your reminder: ALWAYS remember to check that you have all the information you need to check into your accommodation as these days it is quite often a self check in. Even with the unfortunate check in mishap, we still absolutely loved our stay as the cabin was clean and had good facilities and so have recommended the cabin below.
- Domaine Des Montagnais – This is where we stayed. They have a selection of cabins ranging from lots of different sizes.
- Domaine de La Giroux-ette – Another great option near the park which includes breakfast! I took ages to choose between this one and the cabin that we booked because they both looked so amazing!
Tours From Quebec City to See the Fall Colours
One of the best tours to see the Fall colours in Quebec is this guided hike in Jacques-Cartier National Park. This tour is perfect for you if you would prefer not to rent a car but still be able to visit one of the National Parks to go hiking through a Fall coloured paradise.
Are the Fall colours in Quebec worth it?
The Fall colours in Quebec were the best colours we have ever seen! We were absolutely blown away by how many of the trees were either red, yellow or orange and by how vibrant they were!
If you are looking for somewhere in Canada to see the best Fall colours, Quebec is definitely the place to go.
If you are planning a trip to Quebec in the Fall, you might also find these guides useful:
- Mont Du Dome: One of Quebec’s Best Fall Hikes
- How to Spend 1 Incredible Day in Quebec City
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