Canyon Ste-Anne in Quebec: How to Visit This Stunning Waterfall & Gorge

Canyon Ste-Anne Quebec

Only a half hour outside of Quebec City lies one of Canada’s hidden natural gems, Canyon Ste-Anne in Beaupré, Quebec. And let me tell you, it is well worth the drive. At Canyon Sainte-Anne, you’ll view a gorgeous waterfall plunging down jagged rocks. You’ll walk across three different suspension bridges on your adventure. As much as we loved exploring the cobblestone streets of Quebec City, this was a fantastic change of pace. It’s always amazing to see the wonders of nature.

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History of Canyon Ste-Anne

Canyon Ste-Anne is an amazing, steep-sided gorge. The steadily flowing Saint-Anne-du-Nord River carves out the rocks gradually 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.

Bear statues at Canyon Sainte-Anne Quebec
Bear statues at Canyon Sainte-Anne Quebec

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!). There are fun things for the kids, but it isn’t right in the middle of the natural waterfall and gorge area. We approached the first bridge at the top of the gorge, the Mestachibo Bridge.

The Mestachibo Bridge

Mestachibo Bridge Quebec

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.

Mestachibo Bridge Quebec
Mestachibo Bridge Quebec
The top of the gorge and waterfall, Canyon Sainte-Anne Quebec

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 at the Gorge

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.

Observation Points at the Gorge

At several points throughout our journey, there were interpretation panels describing the geography, the flora, and the local history of the surroundings. You can read the story of the Canyon in several languages, including Mandarin.

Waterfall at Canyon Ste-Anne Quebec
Views of The McNicoll Bridge
The McNicoll Bridge
Justin and Lauren at the canyon
Canyon Sainte-Anne gorge
Mestachibo Bridge

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.

The McNicoll Bridge

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. If you don’t like heights, it’s time to face your fears here. This is where you’ll find the best panoramic views of the waterfall and the river as it meanders into the distance.

Suspension bridge at Canyon Ste-Anne Quebec
Suspension bridge at Canyon Ste-Anne Quebec
Waterfall at Canyon Sainte-Anne Quebec
Views of the Quebec gorge

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 honors 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.

Walking down to the Laurent Bridge
The Laurent Bridge - suspension bridge
Shoes and looking down at rushing waters
Scenery in Beaupre Quebec
The gorge at Canyon Sainte-Anne
Looking up at the McNicoll Bridge
Looking up at the McNicoll Bridge

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.

Canyon Ste Anne Gorge and Waterfall
Lauren at the waterfall
Beaupre Quebec waterfall
Beaupre Quebec waterfall

We truly enjoyed our visit to Canyon Ste-Anne and would highly recommend visiting here. It is a really unique place as we’ve never been to a gorge with suspension bridges quite like this before. The observation decks aren’t distracting to the overall view of the canyon as they are tucked away to the side.

By contrast, Montmorency Falls is a little more touristy and busier than Canyon Sainte-Anne. If you’re looking to beat the crowds for a unique experience in nature, you’ll want to visit these waterfalls in Quebec.

Other Activities at the Canyon

While the most popular activity is hiking and walking across the suspension bridges, there are other things to do at Canyon Ste-Anne. Projet Vertical operates via ferrata and zip lines at the canyon. You can climb the rocky cliffs, venture across cable bridges, and zip over the gorge. This adventure is suitable for adults and kids alike as you’ll have a trained guide by your side.

Via ferrata with Projet Vertical

Another new activity at Canyon Sainte-Anne is the Air Canyon. This wasn’t there when we visited the gorge, but it looks like so much fun. You essentially sit in a little chair (seats up to two people) and glide across the gorge, 90 meters in the air. This travels up to 50 km/h, so it’s really like soaring in the sky! This is the very first installation of this technology at a Canadian park. If you visit and try out this attraction, be sure to let us know what you think!

Things to Know Before You Go

Waterfalls at Canyon Ste-Anne

Here are a few fun facts and details to know before you visit Canyon Sainte-Anne, including dates of operation and fees.

  • Canyon Sainte-Anne is open from May to October. I can only imagine how beautiful it would look with the autumn colors!
  • Admission is $14.50 for adults, $11 for teens, and $8 for children. Parking is free. You don’t need to pre-book tickets, just buy them when you arrive.
  • There is a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and picnic areas to enjoy lunch or a snack.
  • You can bring your dog but keep him on a leash.
  • 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.

Where You’ll Find Canyon Sainte-Anne Quebec

If you’re looking to travel to Canyon Sainte-Anne, it’s located in the town of Beaupré, Quebec. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Quebec City. Here is a map of where you’ll find this beautiful waterfall and gorge in Quebec.

Essential Quebec City Travel Guide
Getting There: If you’re arriving by air, you’ll fly into the Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport. From there, it’s about a 20-25 minute taxi ride to Old Quebec. Search for the best rates on flights to Quebec City.

Getting Around: When you’re in Quebec City, you won’t need a car. Renting a bike is a fun idea to get around the city, but you can walk everywhere. If you’d like to visit nearby attractions outside Quebec City, I suggest renting a car. Compare car rental prices for the best rate.

Fast Facts: Canadian Dollar is the currency. Power voltage is 110-120 V 60 Hz using Power Sockets A and B. You’ll need an adapter if you’re visiting from an international destination outside of North America.

SIM Cards & Mobile: You can rent a portable Wi-Fi device with unlimited data that works in 130+ countries worldwide. We’ve used our portable device all over the world and love how we’re always connected!

Travel Safety: Don’t forget to get travel insurance before your trip. Whether you have an accident, have a flight delay, experience a theft, or need to return home sooner than anticipated, it’s always best to cover your bases. Get a travel insurance quote now for the best rates.
Browse all of our Quebec photos and read more of our Quebec travel blog posts.
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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! :)

  14. Chris Boothman
    | Reply

    This is awesome guys, I just wish we had more time during our trip to visit this part of Quebec! After Montmorency Falls though we headed back to Old Quebec City and after exploring there we ventured onwards to Montreal. But this gives us the perfect excuse to head back and experience this. Awesome pictures guys!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      You will have to return! :) I can see that you wanted to go to Montreal – we did Montreal last summer. We were thinking of combining it with this trip but there was too much in Quebec that we wanted to see, so we stuck with just that. You’ll have to return sometime to Quebec since there are so many places to see (and re-see!) :)

  15. Milosz Zak
    | Reply

    It’s really nice to have randomly come across this – I actually went to the Canyon on my Grade 9 Highschool trip; it’s great to reminisce.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh cool! I think you’re the first to post who has actually been there! Glad you got to see it in person :)

  16. Outbound Adventurers
    | Reply

    Wow, how beautiful. It reminds me quite a bit of places I used to hike at in Ohio, where the glaciers formed a ton of gorges and canyons. I’d love to visit and try my hand at climbing and zip lining, but even just the walking trips look lovely! You’re right — I’m sure it’s stunning in the fall.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      I’ve never thought about Ohio as a hiking place, though the scenery we saw around Put-in-Bay when we went kayaking was all cool rocky cliffs so I imagine many spots are like that! Now I’d like to examine Ohio as a little hiking trip perhaps! :)

  17. susan_aksu
    | Reply

    SO PRETTY! It reminds me a little of Fern Canyon in Humboldt County except better. Zip lining there probably would have been awesome yet terrifying, but either way you had the opportunity see some magnificent scenery.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      The scenery was beautiful! I will have to look up the place you just named! :)

  18. Rand_Shoaf
    | Reply

    Looks like an amazing place to poke around!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Definitely!

  19. Natasha Amar
    | Reply

    Nice pictures! Looks like a great place to hike and specially zip line in. :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      It is a wonderful place!

  20. Dave
    | Reply

    I don’t think it gets much better than Canada in the summer and this is a great example here. The mix of greens and blues are very appealing and you captured them nicely with your shots.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you so much! It was overall a fantastic day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

  21. Elena Nacheva
    | Reply

    Gorgeous photos! and that bridge looks pretty scary :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thanks! It wasn’t that bad :)

  22. Kaspars Misiņš
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you!

  23. Els Mahieu
    | Reply

    Gorgeous! I could cope with the bridge, but not with the zip lines I’m afraid :-)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      I think many people shared that sentiment!

  24. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    | Reply

    Can I take a selfie with the bear please? :D

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh yes of course!!! :) We actually saw many people doing that!

  25. Bonjournal
    | Reply

    Canada is such a huge country, and I feel it’s often forgotten among travellers. Perhaps a good thing for people looking to avoid crowds.

    We don’t go often, but we’re going for 3 weeks at the end of this month to the Vancouver area. Definitely need to plan a trip to Quebec at some point.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Oooh I haven’t visited Vancouver yet and would love to!! And yes, you should come out to Quebec sometime as well!

  26. Marie-Carmen Infantes
    | Reply

    The zip wires do sound fun but I’ll probably pass it too! Looks like a lovely place to go to in Quebec! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      The bridge was enough for us that day…I might go back and do the zip line sometime in the future if I can work up the nerve!

  27. Karen Warren
    | Reply

    Amazing scenery. I’d like to walk across that bridge, but I don’t think I’d fancy the zip wires!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      The zip lines looked really intense, great for those really adventurous folks!

  28. Mindi Hirsch @ 2foodtrippers
    | Reply

    We have been to Montreal and Quebec City, but not beyond the cities. After seeing your photos of this hike, we really need to get back there to see more.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      There’s even more beyond the cities that we wanted to see but didn’t have time for! Charlevoix area has whale watching…would have loved to have done that, too! With a limited amount of time, gotta narrow it down to only a few things. I’d love to return!

  29. Axelle Lot
    | Reply

    Quebec is really beautiful, wish I could be there :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      So many beautiful spots to visit!

  30. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
    | Reply

    It looks beautiful – and so surprising that until the 60s it was only known to locals! Great first YouTube attempt by the way, I’ll follow you guys there.

    Speaking of YouTube I also wanted to let you know of something I found that made me think of you guys. Remember how bummed I was that I couldn’t get to Farm Sanctuary? I realised – duh – there is a similiar place right near me! I’d heard of it before but didn’t know too much about it so perhaps that’s why it didn’t really spring to mind. But anyway, they have a channel with some GORGEOUS videos, and as soon as I saw the first couple I thought you might love to see them too. They’re at https://www.youtube.com/user/edgarsmission. (I actually posted one of them on Facebook this morning). Enjoy!

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      That video is SO CUTE!!!! I love goats. It’s funny but they even seem like dogs a bit when they play around! I know they love jumping and climbing on things. I’m happy you found a sanctuary right near you – have you gone there yet? I’d love to hear about it….you have to blog about it if you go!! Thank you for sharing that with me and if I ever head out your way, I know where I’m visiting!!!

      • Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
        | Reply

        I know, so cute! I haven’t been able to go yet as they are actually moving to a new property right now so they aren’t able to have visitors. But I hope to go in a few months time. I’d love to take my niece, she’d adore it. If I get to go I will definitely post about it! :)

  31. Brianna @ The Casual Travelist
    | Reply

    What a gorgeous area for a hike. I’ve seen other pictures from this area of Quebec and it looks like somewhere I’d really enjoy.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      I hope you get the chance to visit someday! It’s such a beautiful place.

  32. Jessica Meddows
    | Reply

    That’s such a beautiful area. I don’t know if I’d be able to convince Shawn to go on that bridge, he gets sweaty palms just looking at photos like that. :)

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh, trust me..Justin is a big chicken (sorry! hah!) and he did it :) So I’m sure that Shawn would be able to as well! The views are worth it and you have to cross it to get to the bridge down below! There were people zip lining across below the bridge which is CRAZY! I might do something like that someday, but that day I just didn’t have the courage in me!

  33. Bob R
    | Reply

    Another excellent spot. There really is a lot to explore in that part of Canada that usually gets overshadowed by other better known areas.

    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      It was a great getaway from the city – we love the city, too, but we’re big suckers for waterfalls and natural settings, so it was a must-see!

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