With a Local: Forillon National Park, Canada

Forillon National Park lies at the north-east tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. It’s a remote area, around 700 kilometres from Quebec City and 350 kilometres from the province of New Brunswick.

While there I joined Éric Leblanc, a ranger with Parks Canada, for a guided hike in the park.

Walking to Cap Gaspé gave us the chance to chat. Éric, who has lived his entire life in the region, discussed why he thinks it is worth visiting.

Close to the cape we saw Atlantic seals in the ocean, watched waves crashing against the cliffs and came with a couple of metres of a porcupine as it foraged for food by the trail.

Porcupine in Forillon National Park, Canada.
Porcupine in Forillon National Park, Canada.

Why should people visit Forillon National Park?

First for the natural beauty of the region and second for the people who live here.

I think it’s the mix of the scenery of the sea and the beauty of the land, particularly at Forillon. I think it’s the best mix you can find in Quebec province. It’s the combination of cliffs, land and sea. It’s far away but it’s worth a trip!

What is your favourite part of the national park?

My personal favourite location of Forillon National Park is the Cap-des-Rosiers.  It’s in the northern area of the park. It’s a great to visit any time in summer.

People can see the cliff. On the early morning you’ll see the sun rise above the sea. The light that hits the cliff makes it golden or orange. It’s very beautiful — unique.

Eric in Forillon National Park, Canada.
Éric in Forillon National Park, Canada.

Where do you recommend people eat in or near the national park?

We don’t have restaurants in the national park. We do have a snack bar.

I suggest you go downtown in Gaspe. That is nearby. There are a lot of restaurants offering local food. I suggest people explore.

Where do you recommend for a drink?

There’s a small brewing company right here. There’s one in Percé, a brewery called Pit Caribou, brewing very good beer.

We have our very own gin, made right here. That is called Radoune, that’s the local name of a place near Rivière au renard. It’s a very good gin and that I would suggest.

Do bears sit in the woods? A sign warns that the mammals make use the track.
Do bears sit in the woods? A sign warns that the mammals make use the track.

What do you recommend if people have an extra day or two in the region?

I would suggest Percé. It has a lot to explore for hikers, for youths and for families. The Percé Rock is worth a trip.

A whale watching cruise here is a must. At Forillon it’s suitable for the whole family. Everyone enjoys the experience. They are the biggest mammals living on the planet right now. You can see them up close and I think it’s worth it.

Even on an overcast day the natural scenery is enchanting.
Even on an overcast day the natural scenery is enchanting.

Further information

See the Quebec by the Sea and Explore Canada websites for information about the Gaspésie region.

Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.

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