Discover Québec's wildlife and nature on this two-week fall road trip. The journey takes you from Montréal to Québec City via stunning parks, river gorges, and fjords. Along the way, you'll soar above the Saint-Maurice River on a seaplane, hike among blazing fall foliage in the Charlevoix region, and visit mighty Montmorency Falls. Wildlife encounters await on safari in Parc Oméga, a whale watching cruise, and a unique black bear spotting experience.


  • Soar above the Saint-Maurice River on a seaplane
  • Glimpse black bears on a wildlife tour
  • Explore the Charlevoix region’s national parks and gorges
  • Take a whale watching cruise along the St. Lawrence River
  • Enjoy a day trip around the historic Île d'Orléans

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Montréal & Drive to Montebello Montebello
Day 2 Explore Montebello & Tour Parc Oméga Montebello
Day 3 Drive to Mauricie Mauricie
Day 4 Seaplane Adventure Mauricie
Day 5 Bear Viewing Tour Mauricie
Day 6 Drive to Saguenay Saguenay
Day 7 Whale Watching Tour Saguenay
Day 8 Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux Saguenay
Day 9 Drive to Charlevoix & Grands-Jardins National Park Charlevoix
Day 10 Hiking in Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park Charlevoix
Day 11 Drive to Québec City & Visit Montmorency Falls Québec City
Day 12 Explore Old Québec & Île d'Orléans, Evening Cruise Québec City
Day 13 Drive to Montréal, Walking Tour & Ride the Observation Wheel Montréal
Day 14 Depart Montréal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Montréal & Drive to Montebello

Pick up your rental car and take a scenic drive to Montebello

Welcome to Canada! Touchdown in Montréal, where you'll pick up a rental car to begin your self-drive adventure. Start by driving west along pretty tree-lined highways to your first destination, Montebello. Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing. Take your first stroll around the historic village, which was founded in 1878 by the wealthy businessman Louis-Joseph Papineau.

Day 2: Explore Montebello & Tour Parc Oméga

Spot some of Canada's famous wildlife at Parc Oméga

Today, head out to explore Montebello. The village is most famous for Montebello Château, the largest log structure in the world and has hosted NATO conferences and a G7 summit. The spirit of the Papineau family is still visible in the village's historic buildings like the Manoir and Funeral Chapel. Stroll along Main Street for quaint bed and breakfasts, shops, and restaurants.

In the afternoon, discover Québec's wonderous wildlife and history at Parc Oméga, which lies just outside of Montebello. The 2,200-acre (890 ha) safari park is home to various species that roam freely. Look for everything from silver foxes to caribou, black bears, bison, and wolves. The park offers many activities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, a visit to the farm of yesteryear, and a nocturnal pedestrian trail with sounds and lights.

Day 3: Drive to Mauricie

Hike among fall foliage at La Mauricie National Park

Start the day with a three-hour drive northeast to La Mauricie National Park, a protected area of the Laurentian Mountains north of the St. Lawrence River. The site has long been home to First Nations people involved in the fur trade and was once a vast logging area for the paper industry. In 1970, the government established the park to protect the landscape, naming it after the nearby river.

Today, La Mauricie National Park sprawls over 206 square miles (536 sq km) of thick forest valleys scattered with 150 lakes. The area is a haven for wildlife, including the black bear, moose, wolves, beavers, and 193 species of birds. You can explore 53 miles (85 km) of cross-country skiing trails that lead to scenic viewpoints; ice climbing is also popular in the park. Head back to your hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening ahead of your adventures tomorrow.

Day 4: Seaplane Adventure

Get a bird's eye view of the Mauricie region on a scenic flight

Today you'll enjoy views of Québec's stunning wilderness on a seaplane adventure. Take off for a short flight over the Saint-Maurice River and La Mauricie National Park. You'll wear a headset to listen to the pilot's commentary; they'll point out key highlights and landmarks below. Take in views of the lakes and forests to the north and the lush St. Lawrence Valley to the south. Your seaplane has large windows perfect for photographing and soaking up the scenery. After the tour, spend some time hiking, biking, or kayaking in the national park or simply relax at your hotel. 

Day 5: Bear Viewing Tour

Learn about black bears from a specialist guide

Catch a glimpse of black bears today on a memorable wildlife tour. Travel into the forest with a specialist guide, who'll take you to a bear-watching shack for a close encounter with these powerful beasts, who you'll get to observe in a safe environment. Black bears are rife in the Québec region and revered by First Nation communities, who regard them as symbols of strength, introspection, and fortitude of the soul. Learn about these curious and intelligent animals from your guide as you watch them interact in their natural habitat. After the tour, you'll have free time to enjoy the natural wonders of Mauricie. 

Day 6: Drive to Saguenay

Drive northeast to the stunning Saguenay region
Plan your trip to Canada
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Travel northeast this morning to the beautiful Saguenay region, stopping at La Pulperie de Chicoutimi, which tells the story of the famous paper company. Browse the interactive exhibitions, Arthur-Villeneuve house, and historic buildings. When you arrive in Saguenay, check into your hotel and head out for a first glimpse of the city, known for its glacier-cut fjord, which flows down to the St. Lawrence River.

Soak up views of the 146-mile-long (235 km) fjord, which lies in the Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, a paradise of lakes, hills, and forested valleys. Discover superb walking trails, try swimming or canoeing at Lac des Sables, or hire a quad bike. You can also take a trip to Monts-Valin in the heart of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, for peaks that soar over 2,950 feet (900 m) high, deep forests, and glittering lakes.

Day 7: Whale Watching Tour

Whale Watching Tour
Look out for tail flips, breaches, and water spurts on a whale watching tour
Today you'll set off on an exhilarating three-hour whale watching tour on the St. Lawrence River, part of a protected marine park. Cruise down to the mouth of the Saguenay River, a magnet for whales between May and October, when they come to feed on nutrient-rich waters. A naturalist on board will help you spot these graceful marine creatures, looking out for species such as blue whales, humpbacks, fin, minke, and beluga whales. Keep your camera ready to capture tail flips, breaches, and water spurts. Afterward, spend some time in Saguenay, which has a selection of restaurants and cafés with waterfront views. 

Day 8: Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux

Try some kayaking or perhaps tackle a via ferrata at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux

Spend the day at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, a 494-acre (200 ha) nature spot on the edge of Saguenay Fjord. The area was established as a public park in 1997 to protect the surroundings and now serves as an ecotourism mecca. Take to the water for kayaking or sailing, or tackle a hiking trail. If you're looking for a dose of adrenaline, try the via ferrata or zipline through the trees. You can even sleep in a tree house suspended 26 feet (8 m) in the majestic pines overlooking the park.

Day 9: Drive to Charlevoix & Grands-Jardins National Park

Explore Charlevoix
Explore Grands-Jardins National Park for epic views and breathtaking hikes

Journey an hour east today to Tadoussac and Charlevoix. Stop at Tadoussac first, a village of 800 souls that acts as the gateway to the Côte-Nord tourist region. The village lies at the crossroads of the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. Settled by the First Nations, followed by Europeans in the early 17th century, Tadoussac has an attractive mix of historic buildings, including a replica of the 1600 Chauvin Trading Post, Canada's first fur-trading center.

Continue to Charlevoix, a region birthed by a meteorite that crashed here over 400 million years ago. The area is known for its rolling hills that shadow the St. Lawrence River. Here, you can sip coffee in pretty villages on the mountainside or in the hollow of peaceful coves and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. A vacation spot par excellence, Charlevoix combines quality hotels and an impressive range of outdoor activities and cultural events all year round.

Start exploring the area with a trip to Grands-Jardins National Park, which lies in the Charlevoix UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This protected area lies just outside Baie-Saint-Paul and spreads over 120 square miles (310 sq km), home to four mountains belonging to one of the world's oldest ranges, the Laurentians. The most well-known peaks are Mond du Lac des Cygnes and Mont René-Richard, the highest at 3,261 feet (994 m).

Hike through heather-and-lichen-spotted forests of balsam, fir, and black spruce, spotting wildlife such as moose, marmots, beavers, and muskrats. The park also has over 120 bodies of water, including sparkling lakes where you can kayak and paddleboard. In winter, the park becomes a snow-covered wonderland best tackled on skis or snowshoes.

Day 10: Hiking in Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park

Hiking in Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie
Spend the day hiking in Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park
Spend today hiking in the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, named after a series of valleys cut deep into a range of high mountains. Also belonging to the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve, the park has some of the highest rock faces east of the Rockies. As you hike, enjoy views of the steep slopes that rise from the river valley—boat trips along the river provide dizzying views of the peaks. There are trails for all hiking abilities, including the challenging L'Acropole des Draveurs ("The Loggers' Acropolis").

Day 11: Drive to Québec City & Visit Montmorency Falls

Stop off at Montmorency Falls on your way to Québec City

Say goodbye to Charlevoix today and drive to Québec City. Your first stop is Montmorency Falls, which lies just outside the city. At 272 feet (83 m) tall, these falls are 100 feet (30 m) higher than Niagara and are accessible from a range of viewpoints. Take the cable car to the clifftop or cross a dramatic suspension bridge with the roar of the water beneath you. The via ferrata, a collection of three climbing and hiking routes, takes you on a challenging adventure to viewpoints, while the double zipline offers even more adrenaline.

After admiring the falls, learn about their history at the interpretation center and then relax with a meal or drinks at the Manoir Restaurant and Terrace, which has photo-worthy views of the falls. While the falls are accessible all year-round, they're particularly spectacular in the winter, when the spray freezes and creates a giant sledding hill. The area becomes a magnet for ice climbers who tackle the challenging pain de sucre (sugar loaf).

Day 12: Explore Old Québec & Île d'Orléans, Evening Cruise

Old Québec
Walk Old Québec's charming historical streets

This morning, spend a few hours exploring the streets of Old Québec independently. Wander the narrow alleys of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only walled city north of Mexico. Absorb the 17th and 18th-century architecture, which features European-style church spires, hilltop citadels, and stone buildings that now house French-style bistros. Learn about European influences at Place Royale, where Québec City was officially founded.

Later, take a self-guided tour of Île d'Orléans, a 22-mile-long (35 km) island just 15 minutes from Québec City. Classed as a historic district, this idyllic island is the birthplace of French North America, home to villages established by original settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Over 600 buildings on the island have been restored to their colonial splendor, including the oldest rural church in New France, Église Saint-Pierre.

Île d'Orléans is also a hotspot for artisans and food lovers. Stop at cheesemakers and farm stands heaving with locally-grown produce to pick up picnic supplies, which you can enjoy at a scenic spot overlooking the St. Lawrence River. You can also visit a vineyard or cider producer for a tasting session and browse for souvenirs at a gourmet chocolate shop before returning to Québec City.

End the evening taking in views of Québec City from the water. Board a boat for a relaxing cruise along the St. Lawrence, watching the city's lights pass you by. Look out for key landmarks like the Château Frontenac, illuminated by night.

Day 13: Drive to Montréal, Walking Tour & Ride the Observation Wheel

Take a spin on La Grande Roue de Montréal for epic views of Canada's second-largest city

This morning drive three hours west to Montréal, where you'll get to know the birthplace of the city on a guided walk through the historic district near the St. Lawrence River. Traverse cobblestone streets lined with 17th-century landmarks, markets, and bustling streets like Saint Paul. Highlights include the City Hall, Place Royale, and the Gothic-Revival Notre-Dame Basilica, which was the first of its architectural style in Canada and lies in the Place d'Armes square.

Later, take a ride on La Grande Roue de Montréal ("Montréal's Big Wheel"), Canada's largest observation wheel at 200 feet (60 m) high. Set on the banks of the St. Lawrence, the wheel offers views of Old Montréal and beyond; step into a climate-controlled pod to soar above the city and savor panoramic views.

Day 14: Depart Montréal

Say goodbye to Québec as you catch your onward flight

Today your Canadian adventure comes to an end. Drop your rental car off at Montréal airport in time for your homebound flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Discover Québec's Wildlife & Nature on a Fall Road Trip – 14 Days
Map of Discover Québec's Wildlife & Nature on a Fall Road Trip – 14 Days