Charlevoix 4 Day Hike

Charlevoix 4 Day Hike

Trip Highlights

  • Get a taste of one of the best long-distance trails east of the Canadian Rockies
  • Meet like-minded outdoor enthusiasts on the trail and at the huts
  • Experience the freedom of hiking while carrying only a day pack
  • Enjoy the untouched wilderness of UNESCO-designated Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve
  • Take in the beauty of Parc des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-riviere-Malbaie

Trip Summary

The Traversée de Charlevoix is one of the most magical hiking trails in Quebec, located in the mountainous hinterland of the Charlevoix region and at the heart of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. For those without time to do the full 7-day traverse, this shortened package includes the first four days of the rugged trail, from the start point near Sainte Urbain to the spectacular towering gorges of the Malbaie River, where you can hike out at the national park "Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie". Overnight, stay in the first three back country huts along the trail, each equipped with a 2-burner camp stove, cooking/dining equipment, and comfortable 3" mattresses in an upstair sleeping area (accommodating up to 10 hikers, non-private). The huts, combined with daily luggage transfers, allow hikers to tackle the rugged trail without the need to carry camping equipment. With your luggage transfers, we've included drinking water refills, easy-to-prepare meals, and daily fresh food items, meaning just a day pack to carry on the trail and no advanced food planning required - We'll take care of it all!

Suitability

These adventures involve trekking, cycling, rafting or paddling for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. Hikers should be prepared for plenty of roots, rocks, significant elevation gain, steep ascents/descents, and potential variable weather conditions. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. The Charlevoix Traverse is a back country, self-guided hike mostly through forest with side trails to awesome view points. Daily hiking ranges from 4km to 19km+ and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy this trip. The terrain is rugged and you should be prepared for lots of roots and rocks and potentially muddy trails. As with all trips in Canada, weather plays a major factor in the difficulty of this hike, so come prepared and with an open mind. You will be expected to collect/boil water at the huts for cooking and to prepare your own (included) meals using the propane stoves at each hut. You will be sleeping on a matt on the floor of shared loft spaces and using outhouse facilities at each hut - This trip is therefore best suited to those who enjoy camping and who enjoy forest walking.

Self guided walking requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!) Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of if as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide local contact information in the event of any problems. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self guided trips, however with a methodical approach potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.

Itinerary

This morning, you will be picked up from either your accommodation in Baie-St-Paul, the bus station, or the train station for your transfer to the trail office (buses and trains from Quebec City generally arrive around 11am). At the office, we will have a detailed briefing, organize luggage and food, and hand over the trail maps. This section of trail is rather easy and features a few mild downhill slopes through a long glacial valley. Tonight's shelter is located next to charming Lac a l'Ecluse and the first hiking day is short, allowing time to enjoy the spectacular day hikes accessible from the first hut (with perhaps the best views of the entire trip). Your luggage and food will be waiting for you in the hut - settle in and enjoy the quiet surroundings. Overnight Chalet l'Eccureuil. (Elevation gain/loss: -30m)

Meals:  L,D

Although the distance is longer today, this second leg is travelled rather easily thanks to lovely downhill slopes. From Lac a l'Ecluse, the trail runs along the Ruisseau aux Mouches, then the southwest Gouffre River. Crossing forests and plains, highlights today include old and imposing fir and spruce trees, a lush array of shrubs and herbaceous plants, and a view over the edge of an impact crater, created by a meteorite some 360 million years ago. There is an option today to take an alternative and slightly more demanding trail about 2/3 of the way through the hike - we highly recommend it for the fantastic views! Overnight Chalet la Marmotte. (Elevation gain/loss: +50m/-400m or +250m/-600m)

Meals:  B,L,D

If all is well and cloud cover is minimal, we strongly recommend ascending the extra 9km to the top of Mt. Noyee. The view is beautiful - on clear days you can even see the St-Lawrence River in the distance. A small shelter at the top of the mountain makes a great lunch stop. The descent that follows soon leads to the Chalet La Chouette (Owl Hut), located near the lake of the same name. (Elevation gain/loss: +350m/-160m or +700m/-450m)

Meals:  B,L,D

Awaiting you today is a real treat - the Hautes-Gorges Valley and the beautiful Malbaie River, the region's majestic 160km long waterway. Although long in distance, this is another mostly downhill day with amazing views, bridge crossings, and the gigantic trees of Grands-Ormes ecological reserve. After an initial uphill bringing you to amazing views of the Acropole des Draveurs (1040m) and Mont Felix-Antoine-Savard (910m), a long downhill brings you to the entrance of Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie; the protected area with views of the Malbaie River and the surrounding mountains. From the park entrance, it's another 2km either by road or a side trail to your pickup point. Here, you and your luggage will be transferred either back to Baie-St-Paul or to La Malbaie where your services end. (Elevation gain/loss: +250m/-700m)

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • Happy Yak Meal Plan with 'add water' camp meals and daily fresh food items
  • Drinking water delivered daily to each hut
  • 3 nights in multi-share back country huts (non-private)
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Pick-up from Baie-St-Paul
  • Drop-off in Baie-St-Paul or La Malbaie
  • Shared use of cooking equipment and dishes in huts
  • Comfortable 3 inch foam sleeping mat
  • Information package including trail maps (1 set per two hikers)
  • Emergency assistance
  • Park entry fees
  • $50 donation to the Trans Canada Trail
  • Optional vehicle transfer for those who come by car

What's Not Included

  • Travel to/from Charlevoix
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals and transfers not indicated in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
  • Applicable taxes

Reviews

Well marked trails and lovely views... Did not have to think of anything except the hiking. Food and warm cabins awaited us at the end of the day.

P. Smirke, Victoria, BC, Canada, 28 Oct 2018

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:4 Days
Province/Territory:Quebec
Starting Point:Baie St Paul
Activities:Self-guided hiking
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:CH4
Prices From:USD$790
* All prices subject to applicable taxes