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The keys for a successful fall outing

Fall is already upon us and with it comes the desire to head out and enjoy multicoloured trees with warm hues, invigorating weather, and larger-than-life landscapes. Since we know that you got hooked on the outdoors this summer, we’re sure that you'll take advantage of the beautiful fall days to rediscover your nature in all its glorious colours.

To help make sure that your first fall getaway is a resounding success, here are the things to keep in mind when planning your outing at one of the 24 jewels of Quebec… your national parks.

Parc national d'Oka Parc national d'Oka
Parc national d'Oka Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq

1. Identify a colourful destination

Let's be honest, the choice of destinations is the “tough” part of planning a national park getaway. These protected territories are chock-full of exceptional places to admire flamboyant fall nature, and it can be difficult to choose the colourful destination that suits us best. Fortunately, we're going to help you out a little here!
All you casual hikers… something tells us that you’ll love our destinations located near major urban centres where a number of short hiking trails await you. Located a mere stone’s throw from Montreal, Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville and Parc national d’Oka are perfect spots for an express outing in nature. 

For those of you who’d like to take advantage of their fall outing to take up a slightly more physical challenge, Parc national du Mont-Mégantic and Parc national de la Gaspésie will satisfy your thirst for total escape and spectacular peaks. Attention all lovers… let yourself be inspired by the adventure of our friends at Go-Van who recently travelled down the roads of the largest park of the network, Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, in order to unearth activities so you and your co-pilot can cozy up with front-row seats for Mother Nature’s show.

Are you the proud owner of a small endearing four-legged beast? Please note that only your dog can come with you to national parks, under certain conditions. In fact, places where dogs are allowed vary from one national park to another and from season to season as well. Why on earth is that? In order for canine creatures to have a minimal impact on these natural environments and to preserve a high-quality experience for all visitors. To identify a destination that will suit both you and Fido, check out the full list of authorized locations.

Discover the 24 national parks

Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant Go-Van | © Sépaq
Parc national des Grands-Jardins
Parc national des Grands-Jardins Émile David | © Sépaq

2. Choose your activity

What’s the indispensable activity for those wishing to take in all the colours, you might ask? Hiking. Simple and accessible, hiking is featured at all Sépaq destinations. Do you feel like going on a short walk, just enough long enough to fill up on fresh air? Choose from among our impressive range of express hikes. Or are you the type that wants a return on your investment? Then venture down one of our top trails for accessing spectacular lookouts.

On the list of must-do activities during fall, we’re very (even extremely) partial to via ferrata circuits. With a guide, you’ll make your way safely along rock walls equipped with cables, beams, bridges, and walkways, all in a spectacular setting. Some say that this original activity offers the very best “effort/view” ratio when it comes to accessing breathtaking scenery, especially during fall. Let’s face it, they’ve got a point!

3. Gear up to be safe

No matter what destination and activity you choose for enjoying the colours, there are a few things you need to know about the fall season.

First of all, even if the temperature is quite mild in the city, the weather is much cooler in the forest and still more so in the mountains. Some peaks even accumulate a few centimetres of snow. To avoid being surprised by what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, wear multi-layered clothing (a tight-fitting sweater not made of cotton, a wool or fleece sweater, and an insulated garment, such as a wind-breaker). Also bring gloves and a toque in your backpack. Don't forget to check the weather forecast before leaving and remember that it's better to have some extra warm clothes with you than to get caught by a sudden drop in temperature.

In addition, please remember that fall precipitation and cool nights can often result in more muddy trails. Choose good walking shoes with a thick sole and suitable ankle support. It may also be a good idea to add a second pair of socks to your backpack.

If you plan on going on a several-hour hike, also remember to bring a headlamp, as the days are getting shorter very quickly indeed. However, for your safety and that of the emergency teams that could be called in case of an incident, hiking outside of sunlight hours is prohibited. 

Finally, in terms of snacks, choose foods with high nutritional value, such as nuts and dried fruit. For a longer hike, consider a more substantial lunch, such as a sandwich, cheese cubes, and some fresh fruit. If you need inspiration about how to fill up your bag with yummy snacks, step right this way.

Good to know #1: The cold reduces the feeling of thirst. Remember to bring enough water for the activity planned and to hydrate regularly. At a minimum, one litre of water in your backpack!

Good to know #2: At a number of national parks, your cellular signal is sure to fail. To tell the truth, you won't have any signal at all. So before leaving home, it’s a good idea to download the free Avenza Maps app: awesome georeferenced maps that will always tell you where you’ve landed, even without a grid.

Daphné Caron and Nicolas Gauthier | © Sépaq
Parc national d'Oka
Parc national d'Oka Quentin Orain | © Sépaq
Parc national de la Yamaska
Parc national de la Yamaska Julie Audet | © Sépaq
Parc national de la Gaspésie
Parc national de la Gaspésie Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq

4. Rediscover your nature… and respect it too

The mission of national parks is first of all to preserve the most beautiful territories of Quebec by protecting their rich ecosystems. Although our specialists work tirelessly to carry out this invaluable mission, your contribution is essential so that future generations can also marvel at the beauty of these 6,995 km2 of unique territories.

See how you can help preserve the richness of our national parks by keeping in mind these five simple actions:

  • Stay on the trails.
  • Refrain from removing natural elements (plants, wood, rocks, etc.).
  • Pick up your garbage.
  • Avoid feeding the animals.
  • Keep your distance when wildlife watching.

Are you ready to rediscover your nature in all its glorious colours?

Now’s the time to open your eyes wide and let yourself be amazed by everything that our national parks have to offer.

I'm all set to go!

QUICK TIP!

At home, make sure to use the virtual ticketing system to purchase your daily right of access.

Reminder: Holders of an Annual Québec National Parks Card or an Annual Card for a single park don't need to purchase a daily right of access.

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