Best Trails in Quebec Canada

Best-Trails-in-Quebec-Canada

Top Velo Routes and Hiking Trails on Quebec's Sentier Transcanadien

All you need to know about hiking and cycling the Sentier Transcanadien in Quebec, Canada

This list of the best trails in Quebec Canada includes our favourite velo routes and hiking sections on the Sentier Transcanadien (aka Le Grand Sentier, the Trans Canada Trail, or the Great Trail) in Quebec, Canada. More than 1,400 km of the Sentier Transcanadien are in La Belle Province, spanning from the New Brunswick border in the east to the Capital Region around Gatineau in the west. From velo routes like Le Petit Temis to the pathways of Gatineau Park, the Trans Canada Trail in Quebec provides plentiful opportunities to walk, hike, and cycle through epic landscapes, learn about French-Canadian history and culture, and sample delicious cuisine. Furthermore, over the past 30 years the Sentier Transcanadien has been developed into an almost seamless, unified cycling route that is paved, level, maintained to extremely high standards, and fosters a national connection with nature for all users. At the heart of this system is the Route Verte trail network, which features regular rest areas (halt velos), bike repair stations, picnic shelters, and washroom facilities.  Amazingly, while this world-class trail system is much loved by Quebecers, it remains largely unknown across Canada and the rest of the world.  We hiked the Sentier Transcanadien in Quebec during our Come Walk With Us Expedition, when we walked more than 14,000 km across Canada.  As a result, what follows is our list of the best trails in Quebec, whether you're planning a family vacation, a weekend getaway, or a once-in-a-lifetime cycling holiday.
Hiking the Best Trails in Quebec, Canada. Credit: Sean Morton
Sentier Transcanadien in QC, Canada. Photo credit: Sean Morton

Parc Linéaire Interprovincial Le Petit Temis

The Parc Linéaire Interprovincial Le Petit Temis is a 134 km long cycling, hiking, and snowmobiling trail that follows an old CN railway line from Edmonston, NB to Rivière-du-Loup, QC. This immaculately maintained interprovincial rail trail takes hikers and cyclists through peaceful fields and pastures and landscapes dominated by rolling hills, forests, marshes, and pristine lakes, including the beautiful Temiscouata Lake. In addition, charming villages along its length, including Degalis and Cabano provide ideal spots to stop for lunch or find accommodations for the night. Le Petit Temis opened in 1998 and has been regularly maintained by the Route Verte and Sentier Transcanadien organizations ever since. As a result, users can expect to enjoy regular rest areas, bike repair stations, viewpoints, maps and distance signage, and established campsites along its length. Moreover, Le Petit Temis connects trail users to the shores of the St. Lawrence River, offering them the option of continuing westwards into the famous Charlevoix region of Quebec.


Pro Tip: Plan your next hiking or cycling adventure on Le Petit Temis in autumn to enjoy stunning fall colours along the route!

Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix

The Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix is our next pick for the best trails in Quebec Canada on the Sentier Transcanadien as we move west across La Belle Province. This rugged 42 km long pathway spans from near Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois to the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, traversing the forested hills above the St. Lawrence River. Originally established in 1996, the Sentier des Caps section of the Trans Canada Trail has been regularly developed, maintained and expanded upon since. Unsurprisingly, it is a favourite destination for long-distance hikers and backpackers in spring, summer, and fall and for cross-country skiers and snowshoers in winter. Furthermore, established campsites can be found along the trail, and water sources are clearly marked on the map and regularly available. Best of all, for hikers or skiers seeking a higher level of comfort, a series of rustic wooden cabins can be rented as well, and you can even arrange to have your food delivered to your cabin for a fee.


Pro Tip: The Sentier des Caps is connected to a network of trails, including the Sentier Gabrielle-Roy-Ouest, the Sentier Mestachibo-Est, and the Veloroute Marie-Helene Premont which offer additional opportunities to explore the stunning Charlevoix region.

La Montagnarde

 La Montagnarde is our next choice for the best trails in Quebec, Canada on the Sentier Transcanadien. One of the most southerly sections of the Trans Canada Trail in Quebec, this 58 km hiking and cycling trail traverses the township of Memphremagog. Specifically, it begins east of the charming village of Magog, winds its way through the forested hills of the Parc national du Mont-Orford, skims the north shore of Lac d'Argent in Eastman, and continues on west of Stukely-Sud. Fortunately, it is part of the impeccable Route Verte velo route system, which winds around stunning lakes, through dense maple forests, and past the Appalachian Mountains. Amazingly, almost everything a hiker or cyclist could want is in this region. For example, the townsite of Magog features mouth-watering bakeries, cafes, and restaurants as well as pathways that take users along lakefront beaches and on long boardwalks across superb birding marshes. In addition, heading northward, le Sentier Transcanadien navigates the rolling landscapes and forests of Parc national du Mont-Orford on a route that is smooth and well packed and offers stunning scenery. The result is a region that provides both gastronomic delights and a connection with nature.

Lieu historique national du Canal de Chambly

The Lieu historique national du Canal de Chambly is a 20 km long trail situated on the southern outskirts of the Greater Montreal region, spanning from the town of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu to the village of Chambly. This easy hiking and cycling trail follows the Canal de Chambly, which was originally built in 1843 to allow steam boats and shipping vessels to navigate around the Richelieu River rapids. Interestingly, the Canal has now been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, and this paved pathway takes hikers and cyclists over 9 locks, 2 bridges, between luxurious green spaces, and to several Parks Canada sites. Furthermore, the trail itself is smooth and level and traces the original towpath beside the canal, which has been recently developed as a recreational waterway. In sum, this short beautiful pathway is ideal for a day hike or short bike ride. Best of all, the towns at both ends offer all the amenities, meaning this trail provides unparalleled opportunities to enjoy nature, experience history, and enjoy local culture.


Pro Tip: Sunsets at Fort Chambly on the northern end of this trail are stunning to enjoy with a picnic and glass of wine after a long day's trek.

Lieu historique national du Canada du Canal-de-Lachine

The Lieu historique national du Canada du Canal-de-Lachine, in the heart of the beautiful city of Montreal, is the next top trail on the Sentier Transcanadien on our list. The Lachine Canal was developed when Montreal was becoming one of the key commercial and economic centers of the early 1800s. Impressively, creation of the Lachine Canal gave way to vast industrial growth in the region. However, as a result of shifting dynamics in trade and transport, by the 1990s the canal and surrounding neighborhoods were extensively redeveloped. Consequently, the waterway was transformed into a superb recreational route, and the Lachine Canal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. Today, this 12.5 km paved linear pathway begins at Pont Victoria and follows the historic Lachine Canal past chic renovated neighborhoods and the wonderful Atwater Market to Parc Rene Levesque and the Lachine Rapids. As a result, with the skyline of Montreal as the backdrop, delicious foods to entice you en route, and regular green spaces to enjoy along the route, the Lachine Canal trail is perfect for a relaxing and scenic stroll or a leisurely cycle.

Parc Lineaire le P'tit Train du Nord

The Parc Lineaire le P'tit Train du Nord in our opinion is one of the best Canadian cycling trails and one of the most enjoyable sections of the entire 28,000 km long Trans Canada Trail, which is why it definitely has a place on our list of best trails in Quebec on the Sentier Transcanadien. The P'tit Train du Nord is a 236 km long hiking and cycling route running from the suburbs of Montreal, through the Laurentian Mountains, to Mont Laurier on an abandoned railway line. Opened in 1996, it is considered by many to be one of the top Rails to Trails pathways in Canada, if not North America. Beginning in Bois-des-Filon, a suburb of Montreal, the P'tit Train du Nord follows a level railway route through communities such as Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Mont-Tremblant, and Nominingue before concluding in Mont-Laurier. Given that the trail surface varies between being paved or firm gravel it is ideal for hiking and long distance cycling. In addition, there are regular amenities along the route including rest areas (hault velos), gites, campgrounds, bakeries, and restaurants – all of which cater to tourists, explorers, and cyclists.


Pro Tip: Some of the best bakeries and cafes along the Trans Canada Trail can be enjoyed on the P'tit Train du Nord route. For a wonderful experience check out Le Petit Café du Nord in Nominingue for their amazing culinary offers, relaxing balcony, and cool atmosphere!

Parc de la Gatineau

The trails of Parc de la Gatineau are located in a magnificent natural park on the edge of Ottawa, Ontario. Around 45 km of the Sentier Transcanadien are located inside the park, existing as part of a much larger network of trails that provide excellent cycling and hiking opportunities. Established in 1938, Parc de la Gatineau totals more than 165 square km of green space. As a result, from the outskirts of Wakefield to the national capital region, trail users can choose paths to suit their interests ranging from easy, short hikes, to longer, challenging bike routes, to cross-country ski and snowshoe adventures. Furthermore, along the way the route of the Trans Canada Trail passes by the Mackenzie King Estate, which served as a residence for Canada's Prime Minister in the 1920's. Another point of interest includes Lusk Cave at Lac Philippe. There is something for everyone in Parc de la Gatineau, which is why it appears on our list of the best trails in Quebec.

We don't stop hiking because we grow old - we grow old because we stop hiking.

by Finis Mitchell

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the Sentier Trancanadien in Quebec is a stunning collection of walking pathways, hiking trails, rail trails, and cycling routes. Furthermore, the routes are superbly maintained, featuring regular rest areas and nearby amenities. While this list only includes a handful of the paths along le Grand Sentier in Quebec, there are countless trails and spurs on other systems which could easily have been included. For example, there are several Quebec Camino routes which are also outstanding, as well as trails such as the Louise-Gasniere Trail.  Amazingly, while these world-class trails are well known and loved by Quebecers, they have remained a secret to most Canadians. These hidden gems at the heart of French Canada are just waiting to be explored by all.

Best Trails in Quebec Canada

  Top Velo Routes and Hiking Trails on Quebec's Sentier Transcanadien

Location (Map)

Quebec, Canada
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Comments 19

Andrea Horning on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 00:58

Wonderful article as usual! Amazing photos and I loved the Pro Tip of the best area for bakeries!

Wonderful article as usual! Amazing photos and I loved the Pro Tip of the best area for bakeries!
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 17:47

Thank you! Discovering new bakeries is definitely one of my favourite parts of any adventure!

Thank you! Discovering new bakeries is definitely one of my favourite parts of any adventure!
Andrea Horning on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 18:59

Couldn't agree more!

Couldn't agree more!
Diana Mohrsen on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 23:29

There is so much information included here, Sonya. You've written a terrific blog and, as always, I love the photos. I've been trying to imagine how you went about choosing the route you took across Canada. It seems there are many local options along the way. How did you do it?

There is so much information included here, Sonya. You've written a terrific blog and, as always, I love the photos. I've been trying to imagine how you went about choosing the route you took across Canada. It seems there are many local options along the way. How did you do it?
Sonya Richmond on Friday, 31 March 2023 02:18

From the beginning we decided to follow the 28,000 km long Trans Canada Trail. Although it is a network of different trails, it does have a fixed route. It made crossing the continent much longer than it needed to be, but in the end it was a very interesting journey!

From the beginning we decided to follow the 28,000 km long Trans Canada Trail. Although it is a network of different trails, it does have a fixed route. It made crossing the continent much longer than it needed to be, but in the end it was a very interesting journey!
Diana Mohrsen on Friday, 31 March 2023 04:44

Thanks for your reply, Sonya. It was something I've wondered about each time you've created a blog post. Now I know!

Thanks for your reply, Sonya. It was something I've wondered about each time you've created a blog post. Now I know!
Cora Lee Rennie on Thursday, 30 March 2023 03:54

Wonderful article Sonya! I have never spent much time in Quebec and I’m amazed at how beautiful it is! I was not familiar with this section of trail. Amazing photos as always!

Wonderful article Sonya! I have never spent much time in Quebec and I’m amazed at how beautiful it is! I was not familiar with this section of trail. Amazing photos as always!
Sonya Richmond on Friday, 31 March 2023 02:20

The trails of Quebec are some of the best and mostly highly developed in Canada, especially for cycling! However, this seems to be a secret that people outside Quebec don't know about. We're trying to spread the word!

The trails of Quebec are some of the best and mostly highly developed in Canada, especially for cycling! However, this seems to be a secret that people outside Quebec don't know about. We're trying to spread the word!
Tania Stewart on Thursday, 30 March 2023 06:00

Fantastic article Sonya! Only been to Quebec a few times, but this makes me want to visit and explore more of it. Love the cabins at Sentier des Caps that will bring you food, great after a long day of hiking for sure! Great photo's.

Fantastic article Sonya! Only been to Quebec a few times, but this makes me want to visit and explore more of it. Love the cabins at Sentier des Caps that will bring you food, great after a long day of hiking for sure! Great photo's.
Sonya Richmond on Friday, 31 March 2023 02:21

Yes! Hiking and cycling in Quebec is a joy - they really know how to do things well. From fantastic food, to well placed rest stops, to interesting and wonderful places to stay, we loved hiking across Quebec. The Sentier des Caps trail was one of my favourites in all of Canada

Yes! Hiking and cycling in Quebec is a joy - they really know how to do things well. From fantastic food, to well placed rest stops, to interesting and wonderful places to stay, we loved hiking across Quebec. The Sentier des Caps trail was one of my favourites in all of Canada :)
Cary Horning on Saturday, 01 April 2023 03:23

Sweet looking trails, great information and the photos are fabulous!

Sweet looking trails, great information and the photos are fabulous!
Kim Kenyon on Saturday, 01 April 2023 05:15

I think I would really like Magog and the mouthwatering bakeries! Fabulous article and photos, (particularly the porcupine). I would love to do a cycling trip through the region someday, such nice refuges.

I think I would really like Magog and the mouthwatering bakeries! Fabulous article and photos, (particularly the porcupine). I would love to do a cycling trip through the region someday, such nice refuges.
Rene Coatta on Monday, 03 April 2023 18:12

This is some great information and amazing trails!

This is some great information and amazing trails!
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 15:07

Rene Coatta Thank you! Quebec's trails are some of the nicest in Canada, especially if you are into cycling.

Rene Coatta Thank you! Quebec's trails are some of the nicest in Canada, especially if you are into cycling.
Cora Lee Rennie on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 15:56

Amazing article Sonya! Beautifully written and beautiful photos. I love learning from You and Sean !

Amazing article Sonya! Beautifully written and beautiful photos. I love learning from You and Sean !
EH Canada Marketing Group on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 17:32

Wish we had more time in Quebec to explore.

Wish we had more time in Quebec to explore.
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 17:47

EH Canada Marketing Group Quebec is definitely well worth finding time to explore - from its trails and natural landscapes, to its history and culture, to its delicious food!

EH Canada Marketing Group Quebec is definitely well worth finding time to explore - from its trails and natural landscapes, to its history and culture, to its delicious food!
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 17:48

Cora Lee Rennie Thank you! Ditto!

Cora Lee Rennie Thank you! Ditto!
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 04 April 2023 17:48

Cary Horning Thank you! The trails in Quebec certainly are amazing and well worth exploring if you ever have the chance.

Cary Horning Thank you! The trails in Quebec certainly are amazing and well worth exploring if you ever have the chance.
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