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Hiking in La Mauricie National Park, Quebec

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The hiking in La Mauricie National Park in Quebec took me aback.

First it was way more beautiful than I expected. And the hikes that were labeled moderate, turned out to be on the tough side of moderate. I think because I live near the Rocky Mountains, I figure nothing can be quite as hard in comparison. I was proved wrong on this trip and again hiking to the summit of Le Mont Albert in Gaspé National Park.

"Impossibly blue water and such vibrant greens were the hallmark of this hike in La Maurice National Park"

Impossibly blue water and such vibrant greens were the hallmark of this hike

I had headed into La Mauricie for the purpose of kayaking Lake Wapizagonke – which I did – but I definitely got sidetracked for about four hours. I had been given a brochure of the park and pulled over to check out where the kayak launch site was located. But first I glanced at some descriptions of hiking trails. They looked intriguing and basically I got sidetracked. One trail in particular caught my attention – trail #15, otherwise known as the Lac du Pimbina trail. There was a suggested time of 5½ hours to hike it but I figured I could easily knock off the 13.1 kilometers in four hours or less.

"The hiking was rugged enough that there were ropes in place"

The hiking was rugged enough that there were ropes in place

What I hadn’t bargained for was how rugged much of the trail turned out to be. There was loads of up and down, and on one occasion ropes were in place and much needed for a steep descent.

"Pretty Solitaire Lake in La Maurice National Park, Quebec"

Pretty Lac Solitaire

"Lac aux Chevaux looked very pristine"

Lac aux Chevaux looked very pristine

The Lac du Pembina trail winds its way through woods and past five lakes in total – each one more seemingly more beautiful than the next one. There were four lookouts along the trail and the views down the lakes were outstanding. You’ll find lookouts at Lac Solitaire, Lac Benoit, Lac aux Chevaux and Lac du Pimbina.

"Fantastic view down Lake Benoit"

Fantastic view down Lake Benoit

"La Maurice National Park hiking"

One of what felt like the few flat sections of trail

"Pimbina Lake - the fourth one on the hike"

Pimbina Lake – the fourth one I encountered on the hike

"Quite a pretty stream"

Hiking alongside Bouchard Creek

"Beautiful lake views"

Beautiful lake views

By the time I got to Lac du Pimbina I was ready for a swim. The waters are an ideal temperature for swimming by the time mid-July rolls around – and there were a few people taking advantage of the lake. For a beautiful summer day, I was surprised that I saw very few people on the hike until I was just a kilometer or two from the end.

"The view down Bouchard Lake"

The view down Lac-Bouchard

I ended up taking a solid four hours to hike the trail – with stops only to take pictures and cool off my feet. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the kayaking, I am very glad I took the time to see another side of La Maurice National Park.

Have you ever visited La Mauricie?

Leigh McAdam

HikeBikeTravel
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Author Hike Bike Travel

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion No Comments

  • Gary Benton says:

    Please stop over saturating your photos. It detracts from the credibility of your article.

    • @Gary For your information I didn’t!!

      • Patrick Branagh says:

        Then the problem must be with your camera. Is it on a vivid colour setting? I’ve been there. The photos don’t look natural. Nice composition and article, though.

      • @Patrick The reality is that the water really was that blue and the greens really were that green. That’s what made the hike so magnificent. I have had the same experience with vivid colours in the mountains of Colombia – no saturation needed because nature looked after it.

      • Gary Benton says:

        Didn’t mean to offend. Been to that part of the Gaspé and it wasn’t that bright green. It wasn’t spring though. Also didn’t notice that you correctly said that the water was “impossibly” blue. Or perhaps it is a problem with my computer’s display, although Patrick seems to think the same. Don’t need to comment on Jackie’s assumption that I don’t get outside… Once again, sorry.

      • @Gary No worries. It was very kind of you to come back and comment again.

  • Muza-chan says:

    Beautiful colors :)

  • Jackie Smith says:

    I love your opening sentence! How many times have I had that thought about some place. . .beautiful photos, Leigh. And as one of your ‘regulars’ let me assure Gary that your photos show the beauty of the countryside that really does exist if one gets out and finds it (perhaps he should). ;-)

    • @Jackie Thanks for your great comment. It made me smile. The reality of La Maurice is the unreality of the colours in the park – and my camera settings are no different than normal.

  • Katie says:

    What a long hike! We have spots like that in Kentucky, where it’s pretty much unmarked, and the trail becomes a little blurry. 5 lakes in one hike – that’s awesome!

  • noel says:

    It probably would be an even longer trip for me since I tend to take my time with taking pictures and that happens quite often – the views are gorgeous

  • Marcia says:

    Five lakes? The park really is pretty, Leigh.
    Wonder where all the people were on the day you were there.

  • jan says:

    Personally I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that betters Canada’s lakes and forests. These photos are superb. I can’t imagine the water ever being warm enough for me to take a swim though. :)

    • jan says:

      I just saw the comment about the colours not being real. I have not been to the Gaspe Peninsula, but I have seen many lakes in B.C. that exact colour. My photos of them are that blue and are not altered. And the greens were that green. Both on my Camera and my husband’s which are completely different brands and types of camera. We travelled in Spring. I just thought I would add that I do believe the colours are accurate.

      • @Jan Thanks for your vote. La Maurice NP was truly one of the bluest, greenest places I have ever visited. The vivid colours really made the visit.

    • @Jan The water can be close to bath tub warm and I’m betting I cold get you in on a hot summer day.

  • Nothing like taking a dip in a cool lake after working up a sweat. I love swimming in Quetico after portages. Hiking trails can sometimes surprise like this. You never know the quality of the trail until you venture out on your own. Hard to make time swinging down ropes.

    • @Ted I wish I had gone for a swim. I think living out west has made me forget how fantastic it is to swim in a warm lake in summer. I used to love doing that and this hike made me realize how much I missed it.

  • Hi Leigh, it’s good to know that some trails still manage to challenge my hiking hero! This is another gorgeous hike, Leigh. I gasp on those pretty lakes and their colors. I believe you that it’s the right color. I have some pictures of water in Greece with the same deep blue. Some people thought I oversaturated it, but it was what it was. Thank you for taking us on another hike and sharing these photos beautiful and colorful nature.

    • @Marisol I love your comments as they always touch me. It was a fantastic hike and I just wish I’d brought my bathing suit. The lakes were an outstanding colour and thank you for letting me know that Greece offers naturally the effect of over-saturation.

  • Andrew says:

    A beautiful photo series, Leigh!

  • Whew, tough side of moderate sounds like a challenge to me!:-) These photos are simply gorgeous though, so it looks like the hike (and swim!) were well worth it! I’d love to experience this hike someday.

  • Wow, the blues and greens are simply stunning and vibrant. I like the view of Lake Benoit and along the banks of Bouchard Creek. It sounds like you made good time on the hike even if it was more challenging than what you expected for something labeled moderate. It reminds me of how I used to double the approximate hiking time when I used to select hikes for my young children. At 10 hours, this would have been out.

    • @Michele I’ve been in your shoes though it feels like a million years ago. At a few of the viewpoints the hike quite literally took my breath away because of its’ beauty.

  • fantastic. I love exploring canada. It has wonderful wilderness.

  • Nancie says:

    What a gorgeous piece of Canada! Looks like it was the pefect day for a hike.
    Thanks for linking to Travel Photo Thursday. Sorry I have been so slow in getting around. My host does not like me this week, and site keeps going down; no fun!

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