Outdoor Activities In Quebec City – With so many fun outdoor winter activities in Québec City, it’s no surprise that visitors flock here every year during the winter season. Instead of trying to survive the cold weather, Québécois embrace it with pure joy and excitement, making it one of our favorite icy places to cool off.
You won’t find anyone miserably buried in their parka trying to get to the next warm building as quickly as possible. The people of Quebec do not hide or hide from the cold. They dance, play, drink and slide!
Outdoor Activities In Quebec City
With a long history with sub-zero temperatures, they’ve come up with plenty of fun outdoor stuff that will have you laughing and crying before you know it. I guess even the most cold-hardy person would be tempted to take a winter trip to Québec City after going through the advice below. Be sure to pack a really warm jacket and prepare to embrace this dreamy, snowy paradise.
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Fun fact: Iskajak is something completely unique to this particular region, not just Canada. Its history goes back to the beginning of Quebec City, when it was the only way to cross the Saint Lawrence River.
You see, in the winter the river was too frozen for ferries to cross easily. However, the river also did not freeze enough to form solid ice bridges to walk on. To overcome this unique problem, the Québécois came up with ice canoeing, which includes a combination of paddling and running!
Today it is a competitive sport, usually with a five-man team racing across the river and back. At 7:00 a.m. on a windy morning during our visit to Québec City, we joined Canot a Glace and two competitors, Caroline Boyaud and Lauriane Oullet, to try this unique sport.
Canot a Glace is a great way to try ice kayaking for the first time as they offer an introductory experience. Trust me, you want experts to guide you. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that you’ll have to get out of the canoe at some point when you’re in the middle of a river. It really goes against all natural survival instincts, so you’ll want some terrain practice beforehand!
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One of the most interesting things I’ve discovered about ice canoeing is that no two experiences will ever be the same. Conditions on the river are always changing, so you’ll never take the same route twice.
It’s very physically demanding, but the good thing is that you definitely won’t get cold! Canot a Glace also offers the most delicious cakes and hot chocolate made by the local Boulangerie Pâtisserie Le Croquembouche while you take a break by the river of ice.
Nothing is as classic as winter ice skating, and Québec City is no different. Some might even say that skiing is a way of life for Québécs. The city is friendly to all levels, from those still clinging to the edge to those who can skate as naturally as they walk, and there are so many tracks and trails to try.
If you’re looking for a more historic setting, try the circuit at Place D’Youville with Old Québec as a backdrop, the Plain of Abraham, a scenic spot made famous by a war of the same name, or the Domaine Maizerets. The 27-hectare park is home to everything from an arboretum to the 16th-century Château Ango des Maizeret.
Best Things To Do In Quebec City In Winter (2023)
For the slightly more adventurous, you can try sliding along a path. Yes, a clue! Villages Vacances Valcartier offers a 1 km route with various amusements and attractions. The Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is known for its 500-metre path that runs through snow-covered terrain, and Pointe-aux-Lièvres has a 1.5km track that gives you a beautiful view of the upper town.
Double check each of these places to see if you can rent skates or need to bring your own.
Not quite ready to explore Québec’s winter landscapes on the blade? You’re right. What about snowshoes? While snowshoeing is not native to Canada (some say its origins date back to Central Asia as far back as about 6,000 years ago), the indigenous people of North America are believed to have the most advanced footwear in existence.
The traditional snowshoe, which spreads your weight and makes traveling in the snow easier, is made of rawhide grid. Today, of course, you will find that it is mostly made of metal and aluminum.
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Recreational snowshoeing emerged in Québec when various sports clubs dedicated to it began to form. The first was the Montreal Snowshoe Club, founded in 1840. In the late 19th century, snowshoe clubs were the second most popular type of urban gymnastics!
That means there are plenty of opportunities to try it for yourself when you visit today. And if you really feel outdoorsy, you can combine your snowshoe trip with some winter camping.
For beginners, we recommend trying the trails in the Marais du Nord Marsh. It’s fairly flat and offers a beautiful view of Lake Saint-Charles, so it’s great for getting used to snowshoeing.
When you feel comfortable, spend at least half a day exploring Québec City’s most beautiful winter wonderland! Try the Sentiers de Caps de Charlevoix, located between Beaupré beach and the Charlevoix district. This location means it offers truly incredible views of the Saint-Lawrence River as well as the Laurentian Mountains, and you can choose excursions for up to 6 days.
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Another place is Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, 30 minutes from the city. There you can walk La Montagne à Deux Têtes Trail, which gives you views of the Montmorency River Valley and Quèbec City on a clear day. Remember to bring your own snowshoes!
Closer to Québec City, Station Touristique Duchesnay is a member of the Sépaq network. It has more than 22.4 km of trails for different levels, and there are plenty of warm-up huts from start to finish.
Don’t be fooled by the addition of highly energetic dogs to this winter event. While they will definitely do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to dog sledding, it will mostly be a lot of physical work on your part. The only comforting position is the person sitting on the sled!
Typically with recreational dog sledding, a small sled will be pulled by a pack of dogs, usually husky or malamute breeds, and you’ll be on the ride of a lifetime as they run across snowy roads! It has been around for thousands of years and was used by the indigenous people of North America long before European explorers arrived.
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Today, of course, dog sledding is one of the must-do winter activities in Québec City, and there are plenty of operators everywhere. As a bonus to the real dog sled, meet and greet a very cute puppy in most places!
Au Chalet en Bois Rond is located approximately 45 minutes from Sainte-Christine-d’Auvergne and offers a 90-minute experience. Closer to town, Pourvoirie du Lac-Beauport has durations as short as 20 minutes and as long as 2 hours, while Adventure Inukshuk has both hiking and dog sledding options.
Les Secrets Nordiques has a cutely named dog village and you can do anything from a simple visit to a full day adventure. For a truly unique experience, check out Aventures Nord-Bec Stoneham to visit the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier. Besides dog sledding, you can also try out-of-the-ordinary camping or even a helicopter ride.
Don’t forget to dress extra thick when you go and don’t miss the gloves. You’ll have to lift your hands to hold the sled guard, so if you don’t have good quality gloves your hands will be damaged by the wind and there’s nothing you can do to warm them up before they fall off!
Unforgettable Winter Activities To Enjoy In Quebec City
Of all the winter activities in Québec City, this is possibly the most historic downtown. I find it surprising that one of the oldest attractions (probably the oldest attraction) for a town founded in the early 17th century is a toboggan run!
Since 1884, this wooden slide has appeared on Dufferin Terrace under the supervision of Château Frontenac. It actually predates the castle by nine years!
You can ride a quad or single rider to race with your friend side by side. A special thing about the Au 1884 slide is that it still uses traditional wooden slides instead of the more modern, brightly colored plastic ones.
Be prepared, this roller coaster may be old, but it’s anything but slow. Some drivers were able to accelerate to 70 km/h!
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Here it is! As the days get shorter, it makes sense to make the excitement as pleasant as possible, and Québécs have managed to do just that with all the incredible ways they can enjoy being outside in the cold weather.
They managed to be cold as ice