Saguenay Fjord National Park
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Situated in Quebec Canada, Saguenay Fjord National Park offers more than 120,000 acres of enchanting landscape. The striking natural habitat is guaranteed to leave an impression on visitors all year round.
A small inlet towered by tall cliffs on either side, is partly what characterizes Saguenay Fjord National Park. The massive 300-meter granite walls formed naturally through moving glaciers thousand of years ago attract thousand of visitor year after year. The mesmerizing viewpoints overlooking the sea and falls makes this park even more remarkable.
The park is decorated by a series of picturesque waterfalls, including the La Chute, the 30 meter-high fall close to Baie-Saint-Marguerite and the even taller Bride’s Veil Fall at 80 meters of height. Two other popular falls are the 60 meter tall Le Mur Fall close the the river Eternity, and the La Statue close to Eternity Bay at 45 meters of height.
Saguenay Fjord is a fantastic hiking location offering its visitors numerous trails to choose from, varying in length and in difficulty. The Meanders-to-Cliff trail, is a 1.6km looped trail passing through a variety of landscapes passing by the Saguenay Fjord National Park Discovery and Visitor Center. A 7.6km in and out trail starts with a rather challenging 1.6km uphill climb to Bellevue Spot, followed a much easier trail on flatter terrain. This is before taking the final descent to the Statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay overlooking the breathtaking fjord. The 8.4km river trail, leads in and out between the Baie-Éternité campground, heading on a winding trail leading to the bay, while following the river route.
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Visitors may opt for a longer trail such as the Les Caps Trail, a challenging 10.2km trail, covering 4 to 5hrs heading to the Giant’s Viewpoint, offering unparalleled views of the valley. Alternatively the same view point can be reached through the 18km looped, Until Cape Eternity Trail. This later trail moves along the quieter eastern side of Baie Éternité, passing through thicker forests. Tougher and longer trails lead up to the White Mountain, the highest accessible peak in the area. Other trails lead to the scenic waterfalls and further inwards with viewpoints once again overlooking the fjords. It is best to look up the trails before visiting as some trails are closed throughout the winter months.
Saguenay’s waters are home to a variety of fish species including salmon, trout and pike, making the area a dream for many fishing enthusiasts. Fishing is allowed at very specific areas of the park, however it is important to keep in mind, that the park has very strict regulations on how and what fish can be caught in the park to protect the different species and the ecosystem. Check online for the latest regulations and requirements to avoid unnecessary trouble.
Located just outside the park, at the point of intersection between the rivers of Saguenay and St. Lawrence, Tadoussac Bay is an other mesmerizing location worth visiting. This bay offers the perfect balance of sea views and nature. Its waters are home to a rich biodiversity of wildlife, including larger mammals such as seals, dolphins and whales. Boat tours are a wonderful way to explore the area, by getting closer to nature and its inhabitants. The area is also also renowned for migrating birds including geese, ducks and warblers, this also contributed to the opening of the Tadoussac Bird Observatory (OOT).
Similarly on east of the Saguenay Fjord, visitors can find Saint- Marguerite Bay, a large body of water popular for beluga whale watching particularly in warmer months. For information about these whales, the Beluga Interpretation and Visitor Center is a great place to start learning about their habitat and its protection. From the bay visitors can follow the 3.2km trail leading to the whale look out point at the fjords. The trails also offers a historical background of the Bay Mill Village.
While Saguenay Fjord National Park is open all year round, some of its facilities and services are only available in Summer, specifically between June and October. While hiking, campgrounds and visitor centers are more accessible in summer, in winter the area is perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and observe the wild-life in their natural habitat. It is ideal to always check online for most updated information prior to visiting the park to avoid disappointment.
For an overnight stay visitors can consider the campground located close to all the action of the park.
With 85 sites, visitors can choose between serviced or unserviced sites. For a no hassle stay, visitors can visit the one of 7 Huttopia tents, which are simply ready-to-camp at $43.85. Visitors can also shop for souvenirs, gifts and snacks at the two service centers, as well as rent bikes, lake fishing boats or join guided sea kayak tours.
Saguenay Fjord National Park was established as a national park in 1983. It shares the mission of other similar national parks that to preserve nature, the flora, wildlife and the territories themselves. Sépaq, the authority managing many parks in Quebec, seeks to preserve the environment and surrounding territories, by minimizing human footprint on nature as well as implementing conservation projects.
From the heart of Quebec, a 2.5 to 3 hour drive leads to Saguenay Fjord National Park. The unique landscapes, the flora and the wildlife in the area come together to create a natural haven for visitors to explore. The calming atmosphere builds the perfect setting for a most memorable experience.