Explore the Spectacular Beauty of Canyon Ste-Anne in Quebec

Located about a half hour outside of Quebec City lies one of Canada’s hidden natural gems, Canyon Sainte-Anne in Beaupré, Quebec. And let me tell you, it is well worth the drive! At Canyon Ste-Anne, you will get to view a gorgeous waterfall plunging down jagged rocks from three different suspension bridges on your adventure. As much as we loved exploring Quebec City, we enjoyed a change of pace by hiking through the forest and marveling at a beautiful waterfall and gorge without having to drive very far.

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Posing with a bear sculpture outside of the trails!

History of Canyon Ste-Anne

Canyon Ste-Anne is an amazing, steep-sided gorge, continually carved by the ever-flowing Saint-Anne-du-Nord River as it plunges 242 feet down below. The canyon is part of the Canadian Shield, a fundamental rock formation dating back 1.2 million years that extends across parts of Manitoba, Northern Ontario, and Quebec. In 1965, the McNicoll Brothers discovered the Saine-Anne Falls for the first time. Back then, only local residents really knew of the gorge, and the only route to the waterfall was through a small path in the forest. In 1967, the McNicoll Brothers purchased the land leading to the river and began to clear a proper path to the waterfall, tree by tree. Thankfully, they respected the region by leaving it as natural as possible so it could be enjoyed by many generations to come.

As we left the main ticket booth, we walked down a dirt path towards the canyon. Along the way, we saw a few animal sculptures that were great fun for the kids (and for us, as posed with the bear statue!). We liked how there were fun things for children to play around, but it was kept away from the actual waterfall itself to preserve the beauty of the area. We approached the first bridge at the top of the gorge, the Mestachibo Bridge.

The Mestachibo Bridge

When the site opened in 1973, visitors were able to view the waterfall from only one side. As many people wanted to see the waterfall from the other side of the river, the Mestachibo Bridge was constructed. To build the bridge, materials had to be transported by canoe from one side to the other! The word, “Mestachibo” comes from the Native name of the river, which means “river with many rapids.” From this bridge, you can bask in two different views: the calm river on one side, and the river plunging over the edge on the other.

Observation Points

From the bridge, we hiked down a path in the forest to our first observation deck. There are six observation points throughout the hike at Canyon Ste-Anne, each offering its own spectacular view from both sides of the gorge.

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View of the McNicoll Bridge from the 1st Observation Deck

At several points throughout our journey, there were interpretation panels describing the geography, the flora, and the local history of the surroundings. This story of the Canyon is told in several languages, including Mandarin!

The Mestachibo Bridge from afar

You can even take your adventure further by participating in the via ferrata or zip lines! We played it safe that day and stuck to the trails and bridges, but many people were enjoying climbing on the rocks or zipping over the gorge.

The McNicoll Bridge

This bridge officially opened in 1979 and was named after the McNicoll brothers. This impressive suspension bridge towers 180 feet above the river below. After this bridge was built, the number of visitors to the gorge doubled! As we’re both a little bit afraid of heights, we were a little nervous walking out onto this bridge as it gently swayed back and forth in the breeze. It truly offered the best panoramic views of the waterfall and the river as it meandered into the distance.

We crossed the bridge after pausing for a while to fully absorb the beautiful views. From there, we continued our descent towards the bottom of the gorge to reach our third bridge.

The Laurent Bridge

The latest addition to the collection of bridges at Canyon Ste-Anne is the Laurent Bridge at the lowest point of the gorge. The Laurent Bridge honours the last McNicoll brother to work at the site and symbolizes the bond between Laurent McNicoll and his children. This is another fantastic site for photographers and admirers of nature to capture different angles of the rocky cliffs and rushing water.

The McNicoll Bridge viewed from down below

We hiked back up to the top, this time on the opposite side of the gorge. There were a couple more lookout points where we stopped for additional astonishing views.

We truly enjoyed our visit to Canyon Ste-Anne and would highly recommend visiting here! It was a really unique place as we’ve never been to a gorge with suspension bridges quite like this before. The observation decks were tucked away so they weren’t distracting to the overall view of the canyon, and the surrounding forest was left nearly undisturbed. In contrast to a touristy waterfall such as Niagara Falls, this was a breath of fresh air!

The Facts

  • Canyon Ste-Anne is open from May to October. I can only imagine how beautiful it would look with the autumn colours!
  • Admission is $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for teens, and $6.50 for children. Parking is free.
  • There is a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and picnic areas to enjoy lunch or a snack.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be on a leash at all times.
  • A special tour of the park is provided for handicapped visitors.
  • Give yourself about an hour and a half if you do the full hike from top to bottom, which should provide enough time to take photos and enjoy the views.
  • Scenes from the movie, Battlefield Earth were filmed here! The filmmakers were looking for a place that could represent a gold mine, so they painted some of the rocky cliffs with bronze pigments for the scene.
  • For more information, please visit the official website

Canyon Ste-Anne

206, Route 138 Est

Beaupré, Québec

Here is a short video of our time at Canyon Ste-Anne! I give my first attempt briefly speaking in front of the camera here!

63 Responses

  1. Jared
    | Reply

    I recently swung by there as well – and just wrote a similar albeit different take on my experience. Still worth the visit! What do you think?

    https://www.outheretravel.ca/blog/checking-out-the-massive-waterfall-at-canyon-sainte-anne-quebec-canada

  2. An Instagram Travel Photo Review of 2014 - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] A half hour jaunt outside of Quebec City will allow you to witness beautiful waterfalls and canyons, such as those at Canyon Ste-Anne. […]

  3. Discover Ile d'Orleans, Quebec City's Cornucopia - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] It’s called the “Garden of Quebec”, “Treasure Island”, and the “Cradle of French Civilization in North America”. Located minutes outside of Quebec City, the picturesque Ile d’Orleans makes for the perfect full-day or half-day trip. You can easily combine a visit to the island with a trip to Montmorency Falls, which lies directly across the way from Île d’Orléans, or venture a little farther outside of town to see Canyon Sainte-Anne. […]

  4. Quebec City 3 Day Itinerary - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] you love waterfalls, you will love Canyon Sainte-Anne. About a half hour away from Quebec City in the town of Beaupre, Canyon Sainte-Anne offers scenic […]

  5. Sumit Surai
    | Reply

    Wow! What a place! And great snaps too.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much!

  6. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    | Reply

    This looks like such a fun way to see the waterfalls and gorge and definitely a beautiful day out. Those suspension bridges are worth the crossing and nervousness. Stunning photos and interesting history! We could have so many interesting tacky tourist photos with that bear ;-)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      There were many other animals to take tourist photos with as well :) haha! The bear was the best one I think. I can imagine you guys taking pics next to the bear actually haha!

  7. Anne Klien
    | Reply

    I love waterfalls

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Me too!!!

  8. Ashley Hubbard
    | Reply

    I love bridges and waterfalls so win win! I’m pinning this to keep in mind for our Canada portion of our road trip this/next year! :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      You definitely should visit – Quebec is awesome, and if you combine it with Quebec City, it’s almost as though you’re in Europe for parts of it! :)

  9. Em
    | Reply

    Wow, some great pictures there. Very jealous of the views. Nice that you’ve got some history facts :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much!!

  10. Emily Luxton
    | Reply

    If I know there’s a waterfall nearby I just have to get there! You’ve really captured the serenity of the area with your pictures.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      There are quite a few waterfalls in Quebec actually – we got to see 2, but there were many many more on the list that didn’t quite make the cut. Reasons to return!! :)

  11. Brad Frankel
    | Reply

    looks lovely…i really need to go to Quebec, as want to try putin (if i spelt it right)?

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Poutine :) Close! Yes you should go to Quebec!

  12. Baskets Life Travel
    | Reply

    This is really gorgeous, what great photos wow. I love that fact that you can learn the history and facts about the canyon. I love all the bridges!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      The place was very informative and great for the kids, too – educational and fun! Educational for us adults too! And beautiful views!

  13. Tracie Howe
    | Reply

    It’s great that you guys took the time to get the history and facts on this place. It makes for a thorough and informative post.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much! We try! :)

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