QUEBEC IS SUCH an incredible place for outdoor adventure. From mountain biking through classic East Coast forests — with leaves already starting to turn — to whale watching at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, I couldn’t stop saying to myself, “It’s like walking through a painting,” as my brother Yancy and I explored our way through the epic fjords, mountains, and coastlines of the province.

The lifestyle and attitude of the Quebecois made us feel right at home as we passed through cool little towns around the central hub of Quebec City, and the awesome beaches and forest trails had us wondering what it might be like to live here…a feeling Yancy and I don’t often get. We’ll definitely be back.

1

Vallée Bras-du-Nord

On the outskirts of Quebec City lie word-class mountain bike trails at Vallée Bras-du-Nord. With over 150km of biking and hiking trails, their newly constructed network will most definitely be blowing minds for decades to come.

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Brand-new bike trails

My brother Yancy and our local trail guru Matthew enjoy a fun stretch of single-track trail on streamside boulders linked with wooden bike bridges. These well-built trails wind for miles through forests and river valleys, making for sick riding that people of all skill levels can enjoy.

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Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux

Our adventure continued up the Saguenay Fjord to Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, which offers outdoor activities like kayaking and ropes courses. Suspended domes are the night’s accommodations, and the views looking out from the canopy over the fjord are amazing.

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Boarding the treetops

Cap Jaseux’s treetop ropes course has a fun mix of wooden ladders, cargo nets, cable zip lines, and these awesome features—wooden snowboards and skis mounted on rails that require you to jump on with the right amount of speed to make it to the next platform.

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Ropes course skis

Here's the ski version alluded to above.

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Stepping stones

This section of the course was ridiculously fun, though harder to cross than it looks. Each step moves differently, testing your reflexes and mental ability not to laugh too hard and fall off before getting to the end.

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Sailing Saguenay Fjord

Sailing was the perfect way to take in the colorful forests and cliffs that border the rivers and fjords of Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay. Trails and campsites only accessible by boat exist along the waterways, meaning there are tons of remote hiking and camping opportunities.

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Via ferrata

With the sailboat docked in the distance, Yancy and I embarked on a three-hour adventure up the the via ferrata climbing course on the Baie-Éternité cliffs. Via ferrata is Italian for "iron road," named after the iron steps drilled into the rock face.

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Via ferrata

Hanging off a cliff, trusting yourself to correctly clip into each step of the route, is no laughing matter. That said, with no prior experience needed, via ferrata is an easily accessible way to rock climb and get out of your comfort zone.

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Walking on air

The final few meters across this narrow footbridge are kind of terrifying, as the bridge sways back and forth with each step. My heart definitely skipped a few beats as I peered through the wooden boards beneath my feet to see a raging waterfall below.

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Sunset on the water

Sailing up the Saguenay Fjord and into the sunset was an incredible end to an action-packed day. Our guide for the day, Jacques, showed us the ropes on his boat while we enjoyed dinner and drinks under a ripping Quebec vista.

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Paddling the fjord

A sunrise paddle on the open water was a refreshing way to start the day and admire Quebec from a new perspective. Sea kayaking also means you gain access to trailheads and campsites along the water that are unreachable by road.

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Whale in the St. Lawrence

Quebec is famous for whale watching—many whales migrate annually to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, near the town of Tadoussac, to feed on krill. Each whale has unique markings on its fins, and boat captains can use these to identify the resident whales that return each year.

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Whale watching tour

Whale watching from the big boats provides incredible views of the animals as they surface and breach. The colorful coastline makes for a scenic backdrop.

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Humpback

Humpbacks like this one are the most common whales in the region. The beluga, minke, and blue whale are also among the 13 species of large sea mammals that can be seen feeding near the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

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A Quebec summer custom

It didn't take us long to notice that it's a local custom to enjoy the last light of the day by the water. In this pic, a few friends sit on the smooth granite shoreline and appreciate the warm summer evening.

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Forest and beach

After spending some time along the coastline, my brother and I headed back into the forest to search out a few mountain lakes. Hundreds of beautiful beaches, perfect for picnicking and lakeside recreation, can be found all over Quebec.

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Wildlife sanctuary

Near the town of Tadoussac, the wildlife refuge Ferme 5 étoiles is home to a variety of rescued and rehabilitated wildlife. In large enclosures of their natural habitat, deer, moose, wolves, cougars, and foxes are some of the local residents that you may catch a glimpse of if you get here at the right time of day.

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Old Quebec

Quebec City is ideally situated to be your base camp for all of these adventures. It's just a couple hours to both the Saguenay Fjord and Tadoussac, and under an hour to Vallée Bras-du-Nord. And in the city itself, you're surrounded by unique shops, restaurants, and galleries, all connected by cobblestone streets and a distinct Old World architectural feel. It's really unlike anywhere else in North America.

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Summertime in Quebec

Seven days of watching killer sunsets creep over the water, closing out long days spent exploring by wheel, feet, and paddle, made us feel sure we’d be back to Quebec soon.

This post is proudly produced in partnership with Tourism Quebec.