Sunday, January 03, 2010

Parc national Jacques Cartier

This national park is operated by the SEPAQ. A popular canoeing and camping location in the summer time, it offers an 35 miles (55km) of cross-country trails along with a network of 5 snowshoe trails totaling about 12-1/2 miles (20km). It's located about 40 minutes north of Quebec City, along highway 175.

Immediately after paying for the park entry fees, there is a small parking lot. If you keep driving a bit further, you may be lucky to find room at the secondary parking lot closer to the trail-head.

While the trail C is considered a "must see" because of it's spectacular mountain side views, we opted for the less challenging loops A and B, with a short stop at the Relais cabin for lunch in a comfortable and heated cabin.

The best viewpoints in my opinion are on the river, as long as you pick a frozen section and not one where the current prevents the ice from forming.

There is a campground about 3km from the park entrance. As you can see, the accumulation of snow is reasonably good given the limited number of snowstorms that we've had this year (and the rain & freezing rain only a few days before this outing).

Below are pictures of two of the cabins in the park: Grand Kernan and Moyen Kernan. These cabins are available year round (reservations required).

The trails were well marked and the free trail map was reasonably detailed. There were only a couple of times that we strayed off the intended path on this outing, without ever losing sight of our location and intended direction. The scenic beauty of this park and the great snow conditions make this a snowshoeing destination worth considering.

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