Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Hautes Gorges de Malbaie National Park

Location: 160 km (~3 hrs) NE of Quebec, QC
Website: Sepac
Map: Park Map or Google Maps
Camping Facilities:  Backcountry and Car Camping

Paddling up the Riviere Malbaie
Grade: A
Thoughts: This park is a good mix for those who are new to camping and even some moderately-skilled backcountry folk. It has good hiking, seemingly unspoiled wilderness, river paddling opportunities, car camping and backcountry camping.  Its a reasonable drive from Quebec, so it can be counted as accessible too. It centres around the Riviere Malbaie, with its high valley walls providing a sense of majesty when you're wandering inside it on foot or on water.

La Chute de Ruisseau Blanc
Our stay at L'Equerre campsite provided a very nice backcountry feel, with a rewarding paddle up the Malbaie. It can be an hour and a half paddle upstream (but nearly half that downstream), but you won't mind because the scenery make the time fly.  Once you arrive at L'Equerre, you find a campground with sites that are well spaced out and sheltered.  Many are also close to the river, which provides a nice spot to enjoy nature, the wildlife and the landscape of the valley.  You can also hike up to La Chute de Ruisseau Blanc from this campground, an added bonus if you're going to be camping here anyways.  I don't think the trail is worth making the paddle if you didn't intend on going up river anyways; if it you wanted to paddle the river or if you're staying at L'Equerre, then you could probably justify it, its a very short hike even if the waterfall disappoints you.

View SW from L'Acropole des Draveurs 
Another great thing about this campsite is that they provide a hanging pole inland of the campsites.  That way you don't have to find the perfect tree with the thick branch jutting perpendicular to the trunk.  It makes storing food very easy, and more backcountry sites that are clustered together.

The other main hike, L'Acropole des Draveurs, is one that is well worth doing.  The panoramic views are outstanding.  It's a relatively crowded hike, and the path up to the lookout is rather uneventful, but once you get to the top, you'll probably forget all that.  Pack a lunch and stay awhile.
View NW from L'Acropole des Draveurs

I recommend this park strongly for a few reasons;  the sites are relatively well divided, the scenery is beautiful, the paddling is fun, there's easy backcountry food storage and the hiking (especially L'Acropole des Draveurs) is memorable.  In truth, you won't get much sense of solitude here, but as in other parks with outstanding natural beauty, that can be forgiven.

View E from L'Acropole des Draveurs
(Photos courtesy of Adrian Mohareb)

No comments:

Post a Comment