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.

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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.


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. 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.

    • 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!

  2. 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. :)

    • 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    • 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!!!

      • 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! :)

  5. Axelle Lot
    | Reply

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

  6. 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.

    • 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!

  7. Karen Warren
    | Reply

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

  8. 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!

    • 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!

  9. 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.

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

  10. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    | Reply

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

  11. Els Mahieu
    | Reply

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

  12. Kaspars Misiņš
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos!

  13. Elena Nacheva
    | Reply

    Gorgeous photos! and that bridge looks pretty scary :)

  14. 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.

  15. Natasha Amar
    | Reply

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

  16. Rand_Shoaf
    | Reply

    Looks like an amazing place to poke around!

  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.

  18. 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.

    • 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! :)

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

    • 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!) :)

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

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

  23. Brad Frankel
    | Reply

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

  24. 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.

    • 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!! :)

  25. Em
    | Reply

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

  26. 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! :)

    • 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! :)

  27. Anne Klien
    | Reply

    I love waterfalls

  28. 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 ;-)

    • 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!

  29. Sumit Surai
    | Reply

    Wow! What a place! And great snaps too.

  30. […] 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 […]

  31. […] 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. […]

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

  33. 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?


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