At the furthest tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, the Appalachian Mountains plunge dramatically into the sea. Here lies Forillon National Park of Canada, the first Canadian national park established in Quebec. It’s not surprising this location was chosen for such an honour. This is a beautiful and scenic place that’s absolutely worth visiting and preserving.
Whether you’re new to national parks or a seasoned veteran, you’ll find there’s plenty to do at this spectacular park. Here are seven of our favourite park experiences. You’re sure to find a few things on this list that will convince you of why you should visit Forillon National Park of Canada.
Forillon National Park of Canada is part of our Gaspé road trip. Find the full story here >
Hike the Les Graves trail and see the end of the world
Hike to the end of the Les Graves trail in Forillon National Park of Canada, and you’ll find the end of the world!
Well, technically it’s not the end of the world, but it translates that way. The lookout at the end of the trail is known as Le Bout du Monde, which in French means “the end of the world.”
To reach it, you have a few options, and they all start at the trailhead at L’Anse-aux-Amérindiens. You can take the multi-purpose trail, which is wide, gravel-lined, and well-cleared. This offers an intermediate hike or fat bike experience with some moderate hills. Challenge yourself further by tackling the numerous side trails that weave up and down the hillsides.
The trail traces the seaside along Gaspé Bay, where you’re likely to spot some whales along the way. You may also see some wildlife. On our most recent hike, we spotted a bear cub having a snack a few feet from the trail.
At the end of the point you’ll find the Cap-Gaspé Lighthouse. There, you can descend another half-kilometre down the cliffside. At the bottom, view the end of the peninsula from the lookout at Le Bout du Monde. The vistas are incredible, and they’ll make you forget all the work it took to get this far!
This is a comfortable half-day hike along the multi-use trail. Depending on your pace, it takes two to four hours of hiking in total to complete.
Go underground into the Fort-Péninsule World War II battery
Below ground within the boundaries of Forillon National Park of Canada lies Fort-Péninsule. This is the only fully preserved shore battery in Quebec that is open to the public. Through a series of panels, you’ll learn why the fort was built to defend the Gaspé Peninsula in the 1940s. Some of the original rifles are still in place, and you can walk right up to them and view them up close. If you’re interested in military history, this site is not to be missed.
Sleep in an oTENTik
Forillon National Park of Canada offers several types of camping accommodation, from tent campsites to ready-to-camp structures. If you opt for an oTENTik, you can stay overnight in a structure that’s half tent, half cabin. Each one has built-in bunks that sleep up to six, a table and chairs, and an outdoor fire pit. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire while you camp in a comfortable setting. At the Des Rosiers campground, you’ll find a playground that overlooks the peninsula’s cliffs and the Gulf of St. Lawrence!
Hike to a forest waterfall
Just off the main road through the park, La Chute is a beautiful 17-metre waterfall tucked into the forest. The trail is relatively short at less than a kilometre, but be cautious. It can be slippery if it’s rained recently, and the walk down is less challenging than the uphill hike back! We’re certain you’ll agree this magical place is worth the effort.
Visit a general store from the 1800s
Located in the Grande-Grave section of the park, Hyman & Sons General Store is a treasure. Preserved since the 1860s, visitors can explore the store during the summer months. Learn how company stores were operated by fish merchants of the period. If you have kids with you, be sure to pick up the Parks Canada Xplorers booklet. You’ll find some activities inside that will help you unlock some of the store’s deepest secrets! Once your junior explorers have completed the activities, take the booklet to a welcome centre to receive a small memento.
Swim at one of the park’s beaches
Most of the beaches at Forillon National Park of Canada are pebble-lined and exposed to the ocean. You’ll find them wonderful for walks and sightseeing but too chilly for swimming most of the year. If you’d like to take a dip, head to Penouille Beach instead. It lines a sheltered bay, which helps warm the water and make swimming much more enjoyable. This is a very popular spot for families during the summer months, so it’s wise to arrive early to secure yourself a prime location.
See Canada’s tallest lighthouse
Just outside the park’s northern boundary, you’ll find Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse. A National Historic Site itself and standing at a height of 34.1 metres, this is the tallest lighthouse you’ll find anywhere in Canada. Use it as a starting point for a lighthouse tour as you make your way westward along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River!
Find the details of the Gaspé lighthouse tour in our ultimate five-day Gaspé road trip itinerary >