This post originally appeared in French on the Aventure Écotourism Québec website.
Does rock climbing feel a little too daunting for you?
Via ferratas – routes of ladder-like iron rungs built into the side of a mountain – are a safer, easier alternative that still allow you to explore the elevated terrain. They’re also consciously built to be as invisible as possible, so as to not ruin the scenery with a ton of cables and bars.
There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after you’ve just finished scaling a mountain. Want to experience it for yourself? Here are eight great options in Quebec to get you started.
Mont-Tremblant National Park
With six large rivers, 400 lakes, and a multitude of streams, Mont Tremblant National Park is a wilderness paradise.
Dominated by 931-metre Mont Tremblant, the park is in the heart of the Laurentian Mountain chain, which was formed a billion years ago. Millions of years of erosion wore down the mountains to their current size, leaving solid terrain that’s perfect for exploring.
It’s here that you’ll find the magical Via Ferrata Du Diable, which winds its way up the Vache Noire rock face at around 200 metres up. The route comprises bridges, beams, and footpaths, and offers great views of the du Diable River.
Cap Jaseux Adventure Park
The team at Cap Jaseux Adventure Park are basically a tight-knit family, which is fitting as the via ferrata is perfect for families and beginners. Located on the shore of the Saguenay Fjord, this via ferrata is even open on nights when the moon shines bright and clear – an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Saguenay Fjord National Park: Baie Éternité
The Baie Éternité via ferrata is built into the imposing 280-metre walls of the Saguenay Fjord. The scenery will change drastically with the tides and weather, so no two trips are the same. “The Odyssey,” the most spectacular of the via ferrata routes, will see you cross an 85-metre-long suspension bridge at a height of 130 metres. That high up, you might even encounter a peregrine falcon, the park’s official animal.
The Palissades de Charlevoix
A via ferrata trek in summer not exciting enough for you? How about a winter climb followed by cheese fondue and a great bottle of wine in your accommodations?
That’s all on offer at the Palissades de Charlevoix, just over two hours northeast of Quebec City. This awesome via ferrata route is located on a 400-metre high rock wall and features a 200-metre suspension bridge, a 70-metre rappel descent, and a double windmill.
A glacial valley located right in between Montreal and Quebec City, Vallée Bras-du-Nord is home to a number of mountains and cliffs, as well as a waterfall. What makes this via ferrata route so interesting is that there are a number of ways throughout the course to head back down to solid ground. This allows for short runs, and makes it possible for people who might not be able to spend an hour or two on the cliff side to still experience a via ferrata.
Des Grand-Jardins National Park
Mostly known as a paradise for anglers, des Grands-Jardins National Park is also home to killer views, thanks to Mont du Lac des Cygnes. On that mountain you’ll find a 650-metre-long via ferrata, which reaches heights of 83 metres and takes about five hours total to complete.
Projet Vertical in Canyon Sainte-Anne
The first uninterrupted winter via ferrata in the world is found in Canyon Sainte-Anne, about 30 minutes from Quebec City. In 1967 the visionary Mc Nicoll brothers began clearing this remarkable geological site. Thanks to their entrepreneurial spirit, the canyon is now home to amazing outdoor adventures hosted by Projet Vertical. In addition to the via ferrata, which brings you right overtop of rapids, there’s the Air Cayon – a high speed chair ride over a churning river, waterfall, and beautiful forest.
Montmorency Falls Park
Only a few minutes outside of Quebec City, the three via ferrata routes at Montmorency Falls Park are built in a fault very close to the 83-metre high waterfall (30 metres higher than Niagara Falls!). If you can, tackle this experience in the spring time: thanks to the snow melt, the falls are at their most powerful, which means a nice mist on your face as you climb.