Loop around the Saguenay Fjord and not actually see it? It is possible! The fjord is easily one of the most spectacular natural attractions on the continent, but it’s not easily admired. False modesty? Apprehensive? In my opinion, it enjoys being the object of my desire.
For over 30 years, I’ve been exploring every nook and cranny of the Saguenay Fjord and still I continue to discover new viewpoints of the river. There are some that require great physical effort to reach. Others are relatively easily accessible. However, all must be seen away from the main roads. Leaving from the City of Saguenay, it can be seen in all its glory by following the shores of Baie des Ha! Ha! , in La Baie on the opposing bank and then through Saint-Fulgence. After that? That’s it for viewpoints along QC-170 (to St-Siméon) and QC-172 (to Tadoussac). Between Saint-Fulgence and Tadoussac, there are only two locations and two easily accessible viewpoints. As the road descends to Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, a window of phenomenal panoramic scenery opens for all to see. It’s best to travel the Sentier de la Platforme where, after just a few minutes’ walk, you’ll be treated to an even more magnificent view of the fjord below. Upstream, the cape towers above the village and overlooks a long corridor of linear stone giants. Downstream, we’re presented with the Baie des Ha! Ha! that meanders down to the city. Absolutely fabulous! The Sentiers du Quai, trails that are short and easy, also offer fantastic views at sea level.
In Sacré-Cœur, make the trip down to the l’Anse-de-Roche wharf and gaze upon an equally beautiful, but equally different landscape. The wharf in l’Équerre, where the river has a 90 degree turn, offers a full width panoramic view.
The sunset can be admired from the look off in l’Anse de Tabatière, L’Anse-Sainte-Jean, Parc National du Fjord du Saguenay.
On the western bank, QC-172, heading toward Saguenay through the municipality of Petit-Saguenay. Even if you’re not a fan of camping or vacationing, the Village Vacances Petit-Saguenay also offers sandy beaches their size equal to their splendor and take advantage of a campsite viewpoint. If you prefer a shorter visit, the wharf in Petit-Saguenay is still a must-see. Beautifully landscaped, it’s the perfect place to picnic while basking in the sheer vastness of the fjord. In July, the sun sets between the capes. A sight that will take your breath away.
In L’Anse-Saint-Jean, around the wharf, embrace Saguenay with open arms. While crossing the Faubourg covered bridge (it appeared on the $1000 Canadian bills issued in 1954) continuing to the end of the road, we reach the lookout in l’Anse de Tabatière, within the boundaries of the Parc National du Saguenay. From there, one of the most extraordinary viewpoints that the region has to offer. Downstream, l’Île Saint-Louis is easily seen, the largest island along the river. Upstream, the impressive cliffs lead way to capes Trinité and Éternité. The sun setting over the capes and fjord is an event unlike no other.
Thereafter, in Rivière-Éternité, attain enlightenment with a visit to the Parc National du Fjord du Saguenay where walking is a must! The Sentier de la Statue, on cape Trinité, is still the fjords’ main attraction. The views of the fjords’ most impressive sections are well worth the effort. The trail that leads up to cape Éternité, Saguenay’s highest in elevation (454 m), is less travelled but the truly stupendous view is worthy of the climb to the top, especially in the fall.
In fact, if you’re hiking, there are so many additional scenic points that you’ll discover, especially on the Sentier Le Fjord, between l’Anse-de-Roche or Cap de la Boule and Tadoussac, the Sentier de la Montagne Blanche, in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, and Sentier Eucher in La Baie. Believe me, one never tires of gazing upon her Majesty, the Saguenay Fjord, who rules from within the heart of her kingdom.