The area sure has a lot to offer to hiking enthusiasts, the meeting of the sea and mountains forming striking landscapes. Here are some suggestions of trails to head to, from the easiest loop to the most arduous mountain hike.
Hiking Trails in Forillon National Park
The class favorite is usually the Mont-St-Alban trail (departure point at Cap-Bon-Ami, about 2 hrs return, intermediate). The 2km climb is constant but the views from many lookouts along the way will reward your physical effort. The high point, literally, is a 15-meter tower built in the 90s on top of one of Forillon’s highest mountain, offering a 360 degree view. The trail continues on a 9 km loop but note that it is mostly a forest walk. Read more info on our blog.
If you go by the Interpretation Centre, do not miss the cute but short Prélude à Forillon (600 m, 15 minutes). This boardwalk takes you closer to the Gulf and is wheelchair-accessible.
Les Graves trail is another popular option, mostly the portion between the end of the paved road in the south area and the Cap-Gaspé lighthouse (8 km, 3 hours return, intermediate). You may reach ‘land’s end’ either by the walking trail or the old road now a cycling path (unpaved). Keep your eyes and ears opened as whales regularly approach the shore and probabilities increase as you get closer to the end. The final reward will be the Cap-Gaspé lighthouse, perch atop the cliff looking out to the Percé sector. Most will start the trail at l’Anse-aux-Amérindiens but it in fact start in Grande-Grave (16 km return).
La Chute trail (1km loop, constant climb for half the trail). Go in the morning when the light will be better. Along the trail, you will encounter a maple forest, cascades and a 15m waterfall.
The Penouille peninsula (1 hour return, easy hike). Penouille is a unique and mysterious environment. A sandy spit covered by lichens and black spruce, a type of vegetation more typical of high altitudes or latitudes. A phenomenon for which we have little explanation. Be mindful of staying within marked trails, for the protection of this especially fragile habitat. Forillon undertook major investments in this area in 2015 and we may now enjoy a beautiful boardwalk, a kiosk offering segways, bikes, stand-up paddleboard as well as an electric transport service to the tip of the peninsula.
Une tournée dans les parages (3 km loop, intermediate) takes you through the historic area of Grande-Grave.
More hardcore hikers will find a tougher challenge on Les Crètes and les Lacs, 2 trails of 18 km (one-way). Joined to Les Graves, they constitute the park’s portion of the International Appalachian Trail. This is actually the final portion of the trail after winding 6000km throughout North America.
More information about Park Forillon hiking trails is here.
Trails Outside the Park
Start with the trails we have at Camping Griffon. We have a short loop (about 600m, 15 minutes) and another portion that goes to our seashore. You could walk for quite a ways on the beach, independant of the tide, either direction.
4 km away from the campground, you will find the Maison aux Lilas walking trail. Access is free and the 2 km trail also links to the park’s boundary trail. The highlight is a lookout with a view on L’Anse-au-Griffon.
From the train station in Gaspé, you may hop on the Sentier des Pionniers, paved on 13 km all the way to Haldimand beach. This trail is also a cycling trail.
Halfway on the Sentier des Pionniers is the Boom Defense sandspit, a place where solitude comes easy. Access by Sandy Beach.
The Pointe-à-la-Renommée sector has some beautiful portions of the International Appalachian Trail. Here is more (in French only) info.