Canada’s 23rd National Park – La Mauricie National Park protects a chunk of billion year old scenic Canadian Shield. It doesn’t have the wow factor of some of the other national parks in Canada but it’s accessible, family friendly and the lakes and Laurentian foothills are still very beautiful.
There are two main launch points for a paddling trip – Lac Wapizagonke and Lac Édouard. Both offer easy paddling – at least if the winds don’t blow up and many campsites are within a short distance of the launch site – making it a great option for new paddlers and families. There are also opportunities for extended wilderness trips, starting on either one of these lakes as well – if you’re prepared to do some portaging.
If you start on 17 km (10.6 mi) long Lac Wapizagonke, then you can do a circular route with either seven or nine portages – depending on how much time you have and how many lakes you want to visit. Portages range in length from 0.4 km (0.3 mi) to 2.4 km (1.5 mi).
Paddling possibilities out of Lac Edouard are numerous as well. If you paddle north, you can explore some of the least visited and inaccessible areas of the park via a string of long, narrow lakes and a minimum of four portages. You can also paddle south and head for Lac à la Pêche though five portages in excess of a kilometer are required.
Don’t leave the park without seeing more of beautiful Lac Wapizagonke. It’s a long, narrow lake with beautiful outcroppings and plenty of bird life. In addition, it’s the site of 5000 year old red ochre rock paintings that attest to the presence of native Algonquin people called Attikameks.
What La Mauricie lacks in grandeur, it makes up for by way of offering a peaceful, contemplative adventure that soothes the soul. And the swimming is sublime. You’ll find the park roughly halfway between Montreal and Quebec City in the Laurentian foothills. In the fall, the area is truly one of the most spectacular in Canada for its foliage display.
- Costs are as follows: $7.80 per adult/day, $3.90 per youth/day, $15.70 canoe camping/night, $24.50 canoe camping/night with firewood, $9.80 daily fishing fee
- You can rent a canoe or kayak from LocationCanot right beside the lakes.
Do you have a favourite place to paddle in Quebec?