5 Easy Hikes/Walks At Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park is at the tip of the Gaspesie Penisula in Quebec Canada. It is a Penisula itself with the Gulf of the St. Laurence to the North and the Bay of Gaspe to the South. The Peninsula is the tip of the International Appalachian Trail which ends at a feature called “le bout du monde” or the End of the World.
Getting to the National Park is a journey in itself. It’s an 8 hour drive from Quebec city. We included it in our week long journey around the Gaspesie Penisula and we were glad we did.
Traveling with 2 small children (aged 4 and 2), we stayed at the lovely Petit Gaspe Campground. My favorite feature of our campsite was that it was a dual level. Which means our car was on a different level than our campsite. The stairs provided a clear indication to the kids of where I expected them to stay. The campground also had small playgrounds near the bathrooms, free showers, and was within walking distance of the recreation center and a pebble beach.
We appreciated the kids activities at Forillon National park. My daughter participated in an Aquanaut activity for young children and she seemed to enjoy it despite not understanding French. I thought I would have to act as her translator, but she told me to go back to my seat.
While Forillon has it’s share of challenging trails (it is home to the start/finish International Appalachian Trail afterall), it also has several easy areas to explore with small children. A few of the activities I present in the list can also be viewed on a bicycle, which can be rented at the park (although I was disappointed to learn that they no longer rent out bike trailers for kids).
5 Easy Walks/Hikes at Forillon National Park
This little area of the park is basically a large sandbar in the Baie de Gaspe. It has several beaches on it, but also some of the easiest trails. We rented a Quad bike to be able to ride out to the tip of the Penouille and play in the park at th end. Depending on the wind direction, the beach at the tip can be better for kids to play at.
NOTE: While we were there I also rented a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) depite there being huge waves and not knowing what I was doing. Needless to say I feel in a lot. I couldn’t get over how warm the water was in June that far North. I guess it’s pretty shallow, so it warms up quickly.
2) La Chute
This is a very developped very popular trail. It’s only 1km, but there’s a lot of stairs involved. My 4 year old made it the whole way without being carried. There’s stair features, boardwalks, bridges, a large waterfall and a smaller waterfall to keep the loop interesting. A few plaques also line the trail telling you about the forest.
3) Prelude a Forillon
This is a very short trail (0.6mi) with a lot of plaques along the way to prepare you for your visit to Forillon National Park. The mostly boardwalk path takes you around a meadow (we saw several porcupines there), gives you a view of the cliffs in the distance, and has some beach access.
4) Les Graves (road and trail)
This is one of the harder trails on this list. To get to Cap-Gaspe (and the Bout du Monde) is a minimum of 6.4km if you use the multi-use trail and not the hiking trail. The advantage to this one is you can use a bicycle most of the way (you’ll still have to hoof it to the very tip though).
When we did it, we left the kids with my in-laws and took a date combining the hiking and multi-use trail. There’s some beautiful ocean views along the hiking trail and it’s not unheard of to see whales (we were not so lucky).
At Cap Gaspe, you will find a lighthouse station and some impressive and ever changing cliffs. Pictures do not do justice to the End of the World. They don’t capture the sound, the scale and the smell of the place.
This area allows you to explore remaining historical buildings from when people lived at Forillon (the park has many displays talking about the people who used to live in this incredible landscape who were removed when the park was created). There’s a general store set up as it would have been in the 1920s, displays about the cod fisheries, exhibits about how people managed to survive all 4 seasons among others. There’s a few trails allowing you to explore the remaining houses in the community.
Bonus: Cap Bon Ami
While not really a hike or walk, we had an amazing time hanging out on the pebble beach at Cap Bon Ami. The kids played at a waterfall while we took turns walking along the beach. The views from Cap Bon Ami are absolutely spectacular.
There may be a lot of stairs to get down to the beach, but it was heavenly for my family.
I made a little slideshow video of our trip to Forillon. Check it out here.
Have you ever visited Forillon National Park? What is your favorite trail there?
What Canadian National Park do I need to visit?