Known as the “birthplace of French Civilization of North America,” Québec is most famous for its unique culture, European charm and delicious food. But beyond the famous cities of Québec and Montreal, this province is also an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. With easy access to surrounding waterfalls, forests and fjords, there are endless hiking, biking and wildlife adventures to be discovered!
Get active in the great outdoors in one of our favorite places to experience the beautiful natural landscapes of Québec.
Natural beauty awaits in its Laurentian Mountains, just an hour north from the Québec City. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, these remarkable landscapes offer endless walking and hiking trails that are perfect for learning about local flora and fauna. Just a little further out, the Parc National Des Grades-Jardins, located in the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve, offers landscapes thriving in boreal forests, arctic vegetation and glimpses of Canada’s picturesque mountain ranges everywhere you turn. If an adventure closer to the city is what you’re after, Parc De La Chute-Montmorency has an incredible waterfall climb that cannot be missed.
Did you know Québec contains North America’s longest cycling network, La Route Verte – stretching over 3,293 miles? Cycle along some of the best mountain bike trails in Québec, past charming villages in the Eastern Townships, restaurants, coffee shops and wineries. Enjoy the lake breeze as you pedal along beautiful beaches. Give your legs a rest with a stop in Magog, where you can explore the local art galleries and boutiques, or take a hike in the surrounding grasslands and mountain ranges.
Set out for a kayaking adventure on gentle currents of the Missisquoi River. Watch for herons, kingfishers, mink and deer along the shore as you learn about the river’s past as a major shipping route during prohibition.
Or kayak the calm waters of Lake Memphremagog, and stopping along its storied shoreline for a lakeside lunch and a visit to St. Benoit du Lac’s Benedictine Monastery.
Whether you’re looking to spot some gentle giants on a study cruise or are looking for some animal adventures on land, Québec has a diverse array of wildlife just waiting to be discovered. Explore the densest population of moose in all of Québec by traversing into Matane Wildlife Reserve — a protected area with over 4,000 of these fascinating animals. In the summertime, birds, polar bears, wolves and cervids can also be spotted in the reserve.
Or venture just 30 minutes from Québec City to Rimouski Wildlife Sanctuary to learn from expert naturalists about the white-tailed deer, beavers, flora and the 130 bird species that call the reserve home.
Though many may think winter is the time to take a break from exploring, Québec actually thrives in the snowy season. Skiers can enjoy the mountain trails on Mount Tremblant or Mont Blanc. Or try dog sledding through the glistening landscapes for a truly unique perspective of the region. Wildlife lovers can observe animals in local refuges and parks that thrive in the cold, like the arctic fox and grey wolves.
Or, in Québec City, stay at Hôtel de Glace — the only ice hotel in North America, completely rebuilt each December with 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of sculpted ice.
No matter how you choose to explore Québec, you’re sure to find an activity for every type of outdoor adventurer! Explore our complete collection of Québec programs to find the perfect learning adventure for you.
About the Author Hailing from London, England, Alexander Morris studied at The School of Oriental and African Studies in his home city. He began his Road Scholar journey 13 years ago designing small programs in the Midwest, learning a great deal about North America in the course of managing and developing unique programming. In his current position as the Director of Strategy and Program Development, his broader International perspective and knowledge is invaluable as he oversees new Road Scholar programming across the globe. Alex espouses the value of an occasional sabbatical to recharge creative batteries, spending four months sailing the Greek Islands prior to joining Road Scholar and more recently spending a year in Costa Rica.
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