This post was originally published in French on the Aventure Écotourism Québec website.
Canoe-camping is part of Québec’s DNA. An age-old mode of transportation, Indigenous peoples used birch bark or spruce wood canoes to travel long distances throughout the province. Plus, between its old growth forests, countless rivers, and thousands of lakes, Québec is full of incredible canoe-camping terrain.
Accessible to everyone, from novices and families to the pros, canoe-camping allows you to discover preserved areas and magnificent, untouched nature. Whether you head out on a simple day trip or a longer wilderness expedition, there’s no better way to enjoy an adventure in Québec’s great outdoors.
The Bonaventure River
Found in the Gaspésie region of Québec, the crystal clear waters of the Bonaventure make for an unforgettable river adventure. Both beginner paddlers and more experienced canoeists will find something to enjoy here. Plus, depending on the time of year, you may be sharing the waters with Atlantic salmon.
Cime Aventures can help get you set up on the water, and their base camp is a great place to relax before or after your excursion.
La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve
Straddling the Outaouais and Abitibi Témiscamingue regions of Québec, the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve is over 13,000-square-kilometres of spectacular wilderness. Canoe-campers will have their pick of the litter, with over 800 kilometres of canoeable routes – the widest selection in the province – and circuits that can take anywhere from two to 10 days. Well-organised and wild, you’ll have a hard time finding a more enjoyable escape.
Papineau Labelle Wildlife Reserve
When you dip your paddle in Montjoie or Sept-Frères lakes, with only the sounds of wildlife to keep you company, you can’t help but feel a strong connecting with nature. Discover these, and other beautiful lakes in Papineau Labelle Wildlife Reserve, where many campsites can only be reached by canoe. There’s even a bit of whitewater for more advanced paddlers. The reserve also has canoes for rent, so you can avoid the hassle of bringing your own
La Mauricie National Park
Over 150 camp sites are spread out across La Mauricie National Park. Whether you take a guided tour or head out on your own, this massive park is full of waterways to explore and is also a great place to fish for lake trout and northern pike. Even if you have some paddling experience, you may want to consider booking a guide – their cooking will definitely come in handy after a few hours of paddling. Connect with Aventure Vent et rivière to learn more. (website in French only)
Québec’s wild rivers in the Laurentians and Lanaudière region
Fantastic canoe routes are of course not limited to the province’s parks. Discover beautiful, untouched rivers in the Laurentians or the Lanaudière region of Québec with the help of Au canot Volant (website in French only).
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Head into the white water with experienced guides and taken on exciting rapids. The Mistassini, Mistassibi, Samaqua, Ashuapmushuan, and other wild Québec rivers will teach you not only about canoeing, but about a different way of life. The kind folks at Aventuraid will help you get there, with organised canoe-camping expeditions on some of these waterways.