About 40 kilometers northeast of Québec City lies the impressive Canyon Sainte-Anne, which is an absolute paradise for photographers and nature lovers. For us, visiting the canyon was a perfect stopover on our trip from Québec City to Tadoussac.
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Things to know about the Canyon Sainte-Anne
Open from May to October, Canyon Sainte-Anne is a spectacular, steep-walled gorge dug into the 1.2 billion-year-old rock by the Sainte-Anne-du-Nord River. The canyon has been open to the public since 1973, but before that it was already known among the locals. Jean-Marie McNicoll had learned from a local lumberjack how to reach the waterfalls of the Sainte-Anne River. Since there was no road to the canyon at that time, Jean-Marie McNicoll had to make her way through the forest and was rewarded with the impressive canyon at the end. He described his discovery to his brother Laurent. The two brothers then leased the immediate riverbank, bought the neighboring wooded land, and built a road between Route 138 and the canyon. When the work was done, the first visitors were received on 14 July 1973.
On the premises there is a large parking lot, where even separate parking spaces for motorhomes are designated. At the ticket booth we bought “normal” tickets for 14.50 CAD per person (about 10 EUR), which only include the walk through the canyon. There are also combo tickets, as various activities are still offered on the premises, such as the AirCANYON. You sit alone or in pairs in a kind of motorized armchair and fly over the canyon at 50 km/h.
Through the terrain leads a beautiful about 3 kilometers long path for which we needed about 1 hour. Three suspension bridges cross the canyon, including one 60 meters above the river. Even though we were almost alone on the trail, the canyon is a well-known attraction in the province of Québec, which is visited by over 100,000 people annually.
The Mestachibo Bridge
Right at the beginning of our hike, our path crossed the Mestachibo Bridge. When the canyon was opened to the public in 1973, visitors could only view the waterfall and canyon from one side. Due to the high demand of visitors, the Mestachibo Bridge was finally built a year later. From the bridge you can look at the quiet Sainte-Anne-du-Nord river on the right, while on the left the river falls down over the edge of the rock.
From the Mestachibo Bridge we walked down the forest path and came directly to the first viewing platform. On the hike through the Canyon Sainte-Anne there are numerous viewing platforms that offer fantastic views from both sides of the gorge. At several points along the way, there are also multilingual display boards that describe the geography and local history of the area in more detail.
The Sainte-Anne Waterfalls
From the second and third viewing platforms you have a perfect view of the Sainte-Anne waterfalls. The falls are 74 meters high, about 14 meters higher than the famous Niagara Falls. The river that falls down here has its origin in over 30 lakes, which are located in a huge nature reserve. After 90 kilometres, it flows into the St. Lawrence River. By the way, there are also various species of fish in the river, such as trout or the American eel.
The Mc Nicoll Bridge
This impressive suspension bridge was officially opened in 1979 and named after the explorer brothers McNicoll. It is located at a height of 60 meters and wobbles slightly back and forth. Therefore, in the best case, you should not be afraid of altitude when walking over here. From the bridge you have the best panoramic view of the waterfall and the river that winds into the distance on the other side.
The Laurent Bridge
After passing the Mc Nicoll Bridge, we descended over 187 steps into the gorge to reach the third suspension bridge. The Laurent Bridge is located at the foot of the canyon and offers great views of the rocky cliffs and rushing waters. From here you can also see perfectly the Mc Nicoll Bridge floating in the air, over which we walked in front of it.
From there it goes over the eastern part of the circular route back to the entrance. On the way back we passed a few more viewpoints, from which you could see the gorge from a completely different perspective. From here we could also see a small rainbow over the waterfalls. We really liked the visit to the canyon: entertaining, hardly any other visitors, fantastic viewpoints and the breathtaking nature. Simply great!
All travel reports from our camper round trip through CanadaVacation with the camper or motor home in Canada - for many probably quite normal, but for us it was actually the first time. We have never been on the road with a camper, but always wanted to try it. In total, we drove almost 3,300 kilometers with our camper and explored beautiful regions and cities in eastern Canada.
Our Holiday in Canada 2021 - Flight, Entry & Itinerary
Camping in Canada - Our Questions, Experiences & Tips
La Mauricie National Park - A hike on the Les Cascades Trail
Québec City - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots
Canyon Sainte-Anne - Waterfalls, Cascades & Suspension Bridges
Tadoussac - Whale watching on the Saint Lawrence River
Parc Omega - Drive-Through Safari in Quebec
Ottawa - The capital city of Canada
Algonquin Provincial Park - Lakes, forests and magnificent viewpoints
Bruce Peninsula National Park - Dreamlike bays at Lake Huron
Niagara Falls - The world famous waterfalls
Toronto - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots
Thousand-Islands National Park - 1.864 Islands in the Saint Lawrence River
Montreal - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots