Exploring the Valle Bras du Nord, Quebec

Canoeing

"Canoeing on the Bras-du-Nord River. Photo: Steve Mullen"

Slipping peacefully down the Bras-du-Nord River we enjoyed the warmth of the late summer sun. The shallow river, unruffled by rapids, allowed for quiet meditations on the natural beauty of the Vallee Bras du Nord in near Quebec City. The thickly forested river banks provided cover for birds and dragonflies, as well as a few hikers. A couple of fisherman were casting without much success, but seemed to be enjoying the day anyway. A dry summer left the water level low in the river creating navigation challenges in locating the deepest channel to avoid grounding the canoe in the fine gravel.

Canoes

Canoe rentals are available at Shannahan. Photo: Steve Mullen

Canoe rentals are available at Shannahan on the Bras-du-Nord River, for $66 per couple, including a shuttle ride back to Shannahan. After securing our canoe, my companion and I paddled 3 quiet kilometers, lazily meandering with the winding river. We then beached the canoe and took a 10 minute hike to Delaney Falls, a spectacular waterfall that furiously cascaded down rock cliffs, even in this low water year. Small groups of hikers were scattered around rock bands at the base of the falls, admiring theĀ  roar of the water, but there was plenty of room to spread out.

Delaney Falls

Delaney Falls. Photo: Steve Mullen

To reach the falls by foot, hikers can cross a suspension bridge over the Bras-du-Nord River at Shannahan and take an easy hike to the falls, a popular activity for visitors to the park.

The Vallee Bras du Nord park, encompassing some 500 square km of land, is being developed by an outdoors cooperative to provide a variety of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Currently, more than 80 miles of hiking trails are available for day or overnight trips. A hut system of 5 yurts and 8 huts is in place offering shelter from elements and lightening the load for backpackers, who can dispense with a tent. Activities in the Vallee Bras du Nord include snowshoeing, ice climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, canyoneering, canoeing, kayaking and rafting.

Bras-du-Nord River

Bras-du-Nord River. Photo: Steve Mullen

To reach the Vallee Bras-du-Nord from Quebec City (about an hour):

  • Take AUT 40 west
  • Take Rte 365 north to Saint-Raymond
  • When you arrive in St-Raymond you will cross the Saint-Anne River
  • Turn right on Mgr Vachon/Rang du Nord
  • Turn left on Rang Saguenay, arrive at Shannahan
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