Getting up close to a 74M waterfall - Via Ferrata in a massive canyon just East of Quebec City
Updated: Jan 26, 2020
Do you get excited about the idea of exploring a massive canyon?
Having the opportunity to get up close to a 74 meter waterfall?
Walking across the canyon walls getting close enough that you might get soaked from the waterfall?
Read on for more about the experiences at Canyon Sainte-Anne – and some pictures. It is gorgeous even to visit and witness from the viewing decks and suspension bridges!
All photos and videos were taken by Out Here road warriors or travellers on our road trips.
Quebec is known as"La Belle Province" aka"The Beautiful Province" for a reason.
One of our favourite cities to explore is Quebec – which is in the province of the same name, Quebec. It is known as La Belle Province aka The Beautiful Province for good reason. It is absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. The city is a gem. The cobblestone streets that have a unique medieval city feel. Great people, culture, food and beyond. It is also because of the amazing scenery and natural wonders nearby. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls and canyons galore.
If you’re like us you we know that you will also enjoy combining some activity with natural wonder. This is why we recommend heading east to Canyon Sainte-Anne for exploration and Via Ferrata. And it is only a short 30 minutes drive away.
The canyon is gorgeous and massive!
It is 74 meters tall. Has a massive waterfall. There are also multiple suspension bridges to explore. The tallest one towering 60 meters above the river (with a great view of a zip-line below). Each of the bridges provides provide completely unique views and it is worth exploring all around the canyon. We would recommend spending ~1.5 hours exploring the paths.The entire location is setup really well. And this image just shows a small part of it!
What is Via Ferrata?
A via Ferrata is by definition considered a "protected climbing route". In Italian the word means "iron path" – that sounds pretty cool to us! The original ones were in the Alps. Now we know... this doesn't really provide a clear description of what it is. It doesn't bring it to life.
Essentially you have a harness, and are clipped to steel cables and ladders that run along the canyon or "climbing route" so that you can make your way through safely. There are also pegs or boards and places for your feet and hands. All these items are fixed to the rock. This is how you are protected. Basically you are pseudo rock-climbing along a charted trail with support. Let's be honest here... some pictures would really help!
The other fun parts about the experience is that you can also get the opportunity travel across monkey bridges, a zip-line across the canyon and more. This is route dependent of course!
How hard is it? There are different levels of difficulty which all depend on the route. How steep are the climbs? How wet the rocks get and more. Some are a nice stroll and others a bit more intense as you might be climbing on the side of a cliff. From a physical/active standpoint it isn't hard. Scared of heights? Consider it a challenge!
What route options are available at this Canyon? Can I just explore and walk around the area instead?
If you only have a ~3 hours from start to finish we strongly recommend La Chute or La Grande Viree Via Ferrata routes. The former is more challenging and get's you up closer to the waterfall. If Ferrata sounds like the best thing in the world for you - add even more to your circuit and do the La Chevronne. Whichever of these three you do, we are sure that you will have a great time.
Now if you just want to hang out and explore, there are tons of viewing platforms, suspension bridges and more to observe the canyon (and watch the climbers!). Spend a few hours and soak it in.
What should I bring?
We would always refer you to the Via Ferrata operators – Projet Vertical – for their recommendations. Generally speaking we woudl recommend hiking shoes, layered clothing options (for weather changes), hiking pants/shorts, top (not cotton), rain jacket (especially if doing La Chute or if it is.... raining!). On some days when the water is really gushing - which can happen during the spring run-off, we would definitely recommend bringing a change of clothing. Oh and don't forget a camera, sunglasses and little backpack (which you can bring on the course).
Getting to the Canyon & Ferrata
The Canyon's location is unsuspecting. It is very nicely marked. From the road, the magnitude isn't something that you would immediately expect! To get there you head east on the north side of St. Lawrence River (on route to Rimouski, Tadoussac, Saguenay, or Charlevoix). Then make a left at the main gates and drive a few minutes. There is a small snack-bar, washrooms and the main entrance. The Via Ferrata meet-up/entrance is about a ~15 minute walk towards our favourite suspension bridge there. You'll have lots of canyon views along the way!
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Oh, before we forget. Make sure to plan and book your Via Ferrata in advance – it can fill up and outside of high season isn't open every day of the week!