|Tour of Province of Quebec - Part 3:
Mauricie National Park and
Saguenay Fjord National Park
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A panoramic view of the beautiful Wapizagonke Lake in La Mauricie National Park in the Province of Quebec in
eastern Canada. Wapizagonke Lake resembles a river. This national park is located halfway between Montreal
and Québec City and has 150 lakes and many ponds. It is about 200 Km northeast from Montreal, and about
190 Km west of Quebec City. We toured this national park on July 4, 2011.
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing location of La Mauricie National Park
Beautiful Cascade Waber Falls
The Saint-Maurice River on east side of this national park. It is the third largest tributary of the St. Lawrence
River. The glimpse of this majestic waterway from the lookout of the Visitor Reception and Interpretation
Centre is an unforgettable experience.
During the 18th century, early fur traders travelled along the river. During the second half of the 19th century,
logging became an important industry in the surrounding Mauricie region. For much of the 20th century, the
river was used to transport logs to mills down river and it was, and still is, a major source of hydroelectric
On the afternoon of July 5, 2011, we got on this tour boat from the small marina in Baie Éternité (eternity bay)
in Saguenay Fjord National Park near Rivière-Éternité in the Province of Quebec to tour the most rugged and
sheer cliff portion of the spectacular Saguenay Fjord. This tour boat has a capacity for more than 125
The Saguenay Fjord National Park, about 200 Km north of Quebec City, offers breathtaking scenery with its
imposing towers of rock walls standing over 340 meters high, shaped by the massive force of the glaciers
during the last ice age.
Location of La Mauricie National Park: This national park is located halfway between Montreal and Québec
City, is about 200 Km northeast from Montreal, and about 190 Km west of Quebec City.
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing location of La Mauricie National Park
Direction to La Mauricie National Park:
There are two entrances into this national park: Saint-Mathieu Entrance on the west side and
Saint-Jean-des-Piles Entrance on the east side near Saint-Jean-des-Piles and the Saint Mauricie River as
shown in the following map:
Map: Click here to see a local map showing the two entrances and the park road of this national park
For Saint-Mathieu Entrance, take Highway 55 north, then take Exit 217 and follow the road signs towards
Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, at the junction of Rte-351 & Chemin St-Francois in St-Mathieu-Du-Parc, take Chemin
St-Francois (north) which becomes the park road going into La Mauricie National Park.
For Saint-Jean-des-Piles Entrance, take Highway 55 north, then take Exit 226, follow the road signs towards
Saint-Jean-des-Piles, and take Rue Principale (north) which becomes the park road going into La Mauricie
Location of Saguenay Fjord National Park: This national park is about 200 Km north of Quebec City near
the town of Rivière-Éternité.
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing location of Saguenay Fjord National Park
Direction to Saguenay Fjord National Park: Take Highway 170 to Rivière-Éternité, at the junction of
Highway 170 and Rue Notre Dame, take Rue Notre Dame (east) which becomes the park road going into
Saguenay Fjord National Park. Go all the way to the end of Rue Notre Dame where there is a parking lot and a
visitor center at the end of Rue Notre Dame. Buy the boat tour ticket at the visitor center, then take a
15-minute trail to reach the small marina to board the tour boat. This parking lot, visitor center, 15-minute hiking
trail and the small marina are all under the tall rocky cliff of the Saguenay Fjord as shown in the following
Beautiful roadside wild flowers along park road in this national park.
A bird near a lake (may be a Grouse)
More lakes in this national park.
Another tour boat near the base of the sheer cliff of the majestic fjord.
More views of Wapizagonke Lake
Breathtaking sheer cliff of granite walls stand some 300 m tall, nature at its grandest. A fjord is formed when a
glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock.
More than 100 Km in length, Saguenay Fjord is one of the longest fjords in the world. Its steep walls average
around 150 meters in height but reach nearly 450 meters at their highest point. It’s a spectacular place and
also a popular place for wildlife cruises. Gouged out by a glacier, with banks blanketed in thick forest and
flanked by rugged cliffs, the spectacular 100-km Saguenay Fjord eventually merges its warm waters with the
chilly St. Lawrence Estuary, creating one of North America's richest feeding grounds for whales. The waters
of the fjord are part of the Saguenay―Saint-Lawrence Marine Park, a vast marine conservation area for
beluga whale and other species of whale.
The view is gorgeous
A seal basking in the sun at the base of the cliff
Sheer rock cliff walls on both sides of the fjord/river indicate that such fjords were sculpted by massive glaciers
(during last ice age) that gouged and quarried deep U-shaped troughs with steep stone walls.
The Cape Trinity is a rock wall over 350 meters in three trays of Eternity Bay overlooking the Saguenay
Fjord/River. It is the main attraction of the Saguenay Fjord National Park. The awesome Cape Trinity is
considered a "Big Wall" by professional rock climbers because it is over 400 meters and has attracted many
rock climbers to climb this Big Wall. It takes 3 days and 2 nights for professional rock climbers to climb up this
highly challenging cliff as demonstrated by the movie in the following YouTube website:
They spend two nights sleeping while hanging on this Big Wall. The experience of a rock climber indicates that
"Clean rock, beautiful view of the Saguenay Fjord, heightened sense of exposure because of the water,
incredible sun rises. If you are lucky, like some of us, you may even have a chance to see a pod of Beluga
whales carousing near the bottom of the cliff." and that "While we were there a large (dishwasher sized) block
of rock simply broke loose about 150m up. Good thing we were not in it's path or that would've been our
ticket to the great beyond."
The enormity of the landscapes amazes the visitors.
A distance view of The Statue of Our Lady of the Saguenay (Statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay, Our Lady of
the Fjord). Perched on Cap Trinité (Cape Trinity) in Saguenay Fjord, in Quebec, Canada, more than 300
meters above the water, the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay is a most impressive sight! Measuring almost
10 meters in height, the 3 ton statue was designed in 1881 by Louis Jobin and sculpted of solid white pine,
sheathed in lead to protect her from the weather. This monumental vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary has
become a regional landmark, watching over sailors for more than 125 years. Visitors and cruise ships from all
over the globe stop and gather at her feet to sing Ave Maria, in praise of the patroness of the fjord.
Zoom in for closer views of the Statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay.
One of the waterfalls of the Saguenay Fjord branches into many cascades. The environment here is very wet,
almost like a northern rain-forest. The water that accumulates high above the fjord has to go some place, and
it comes cascading down in waterfalls big and small.
A cruise ship here dwarfed by the enormous height of the rocky mountains on both sides of the Saguenay
。Two views of the Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park where the Saguenay Fjord/River flows into the St.
Lawrence River. It is about 180 Km northeast of Quebec City.
On the late afternoon of July 5, 2011 and after we finished the boat tour of Saguenay Fjord National Park, we
drove southeast to the confluence of Saguenay River and St. Lawrence River to tour Saguenay-St Lawrence
Here, icy saltwater carried up the St. Lawrence River from the Atlantic Ocean meets warm freshwater flowing
out of the Saguenay Fjord. As the two currents mix, they give rise to a rich sources of plankton and krill that
draws eight species of whales in summer and fall. It creates one of North America's richest feeding grounds
for whales. The enormous blue whales, fin-back whales, mink whales, humpback whales, sperm whales and
small white St. Lawrence Beluga whales congregate in the area where the waters meet. Look for birds
gathering over the water -- it's a telltale sign of whales beneath. The Park is one of the few places on Earth
where you can observe whales from the coast without even getting on a whale watching boat.
A whale watching boat cruising in the area of Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park. There are numerous boat
operators in this area running whale watching and sightseeing trips on the St. Lawrence River and Saguenay
Fjord. From May to mid-October, whale-watching boats leave daily from the town of Tadoussac,
Baie-Sainte-Catherine wharf on northern shore of St. Lawrence River, or nearby on the southern shore in
Rivière-du-Loup and Trois-Pistoles.
We got on this 10-minute big ferry to cross the Saguenay River to go from Baie-Sainte-Catherine to
Tadoussac. This ferry takes both passengers and their cars, even big trailer trucks to cross this river. It is free
of charge and operates 24 hrs / day. This free 10-minute ferry crossing is equivalent to a bridge for the busy
Highway 138 to cross the mouth of Saguenay River. I heard that they use the ferry instead of building a bridge
here because the Saguenay Fjord/River is too deep here for building a bridge.
An important French trading post in the seventeenth century, Tadoussac is the oldest continuously inhabited
European settlement in Quebec, and the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas. Today, Tadoussac
is a busy tourist town where many visitors come here every summer for whale watching either on boat or on
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing location of Tadoussac
Tadoussac Bay as viewed from board-walk trail of Pointe de l'islet at sunset time. It is absolutely beautiful.
Baie-Sainte-Catherine as viewed from board-walk trail of Pointe de l'islet across the mouth of Saguenay River.
St. Lawrence River as viewed from board-walk trail of Pointe de l'islet. The width of St. Lawrence River is
about 30 Km at Tadoussac and it looks almost like an ocean from here.
Three views of the busy Tadoussac wharf with many different kinds and sizes of whale watching and
sightseeing boats and ships.
After spending most of the afternoon of July 5 for boat tour of Saguenay Fjord, we arrived at Tadoussac in late
afternoon at about sunset time. We did not see a whale from the shore at Tadoussac probably because we
did not spend much time in this beautiful area. Even 11 days in our tour plan are still not enough to tour many
beautiful and interesting places in the Province of Quebec more thoroughly! We probably need to spend at
least one more day in this area to explore many points of interest as described in the following web page
entitled "Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park - Visitor's Guide"
such as either (1) getting on a whale watching cruise ship or (2) visiting the following three locations for whale
watching from shore:
(A) For white beluga whales, head to the viewing platforms at Baie Sainte-Marguerite which is on north side of
Saguenay Fjord accessed by Chemin Traverse de Ligne Anse Saint Jean which branches southwest from
Hwy 172. The belugas breed in Baie St Marguerite in the Saguenay. In summer, beluga whales gather in this
bay in great numbers, come frequently and stay here for long time. Take note that if there are birds floating for
no apparent reason over a certain patch of water, this is where the whales are. The birds are looking for an
easy snack from the whales leftovers. There are also some great views of the stunning cliffs on the fjords
(B) "Cap-de-bon-Desir Interpretation and Observation Centre" in Grandes-Bergeronnes, Quebec. It is a
lighthouse station on the north bank of the St. Lawrence Estuary and a magnificent natural headland that is
ideal for whale watching. (13, chemin du Cap-de-Bon-Désir, Les Bergeronnes, Québec). The whales come
right up to shore there, and it's not uncommon to have even the giant blue whales come within spitting distance.
A visitor indicated that "I went there 4-5 times and I saw whales about 70% of the time." The experience of
another visitor to Cap-de-bon-Desir is "Suddenly, in the silent dusk, we hear a strange sound… kind of
breath… like a big sigh… in the distance. An then a second breath ! Closer… and a third one, closer and
closer…and… and here it is… quite near the shore… a WHALE! And a seal in the background!; First the whale’
s spray ! and then the beautiful big creature of the sea emerging out of the water… so beautiful… so close…
and everything is so quiet… it’s truly MAGIC ! Quite unforgettable !"
(C) Viewing Platform at Pointe-Noire (Pointe-Noire Observation and Interpretation Centre at Route 138, Baie-
Sainte-Catherine, QC G0T 1A0, Canada, +1 418-237-4383).
The parking lot at the end of Rue Notre Dame in Saguenay Fjord National Park.
The Visitor Center at the end of Rue Notre Dame in Saguenay Fjord National Park.
The 15-minute hiking trail to go from the Visitor Center to the small marina to board the tour boat.
The small marina and the yellow tour boat for touring Saguenay Fjord National Park. The schedule of the tour
boat departure time is 9:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Reservation is required. When I called to try to make
reservation, I got an answering machine speaking French such that I could not make reservation. When I
arrived at the Visitor Center, the lady guided me to do the necessary reservation first, then sold me the tour
After the sun went down and the sky was getting dark, some ducks with many ducklings following came out at
Baie-Sainte-Catherine while we were driving to a hotel to prepare for the long driving trip to Forillon National
Park in the following day.
Romantic Tadoussac wharf at sunset time.
It is so beautiful and lovely here that some people sit on the rocks soaking it all in. Some of them see whales
Some people are peddling kayak in Saguenay Fjord or Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park. These people
have good opportunities for close encounter with whales, sometimes with a pod of several white beluga
whales, and seeing whales close up as described in the following website:
Some kayak rental companies have a zodiac following a group of customers paddling the kayak. If a customer
gets tired of peddling, the customer can get on the zodiac to rest.
青峰絕壁, 奇石班斕, 鬼斧神工, 令人心生嘆服,