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Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier

Winter fun at Quebec’s Jacques-Cartier Park

Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier

Jacques-Cartier Park is a beautiful place for a winter workout for cross-country and Nordic skiers. (Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier Photo)

Story by Margo Pfeiff

QUEBEC CITY — Located less than a 30 minute drive from downtown Québec City, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is a dramatic landscape of mountains and steep-sided glacial valleys.

The most spectacular valley of all is 550 metres (1,800 feet) deep, with the Jacques-Cartier River winding along its base through forests of birch and sugar maples.

In winter this area is a magnet for snowshoe and cross-country ski enthusiasts, and this year the park is more accessible than ever. Snow is now being cleared off the road into a new Discovery and Visitors Centre, a winter base open daily with a visitor information service, convenience store and food outlet.

Though not groomed, a new cross-country ski trail, the Draveur Sud, is an easy-to-follow 16-km (10-mile) loop along the Jacques-Cartier River. For a shorter outing, bookings can be made in advance for a snow shuttle pick-up.

Challenge-seekers will love a second new ski trail, the 10-km (6-mile) wilderness L’Incursion that hooks up with a 55-km (34-mile) wilderness loop open Dec. 16 to March 18, 2012. It’s a three-day, two-night outing with overnights at rustic cabins along the way. Day Two follows the new trail along the base of steep-walled Jacques-Cartier Valley. Trails are marked with milestones every 2 km (1.2 miles), and to lighten the load, arrangements can be made to have luggage moved from one cabin to the next.

Visit the park website for more detailed information. You can camp in a tent or cabin, and there are canoe rentals. There is also a shuttle bus available.  Click here to learn about pricing.

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