Looking for a way to enjoy the pristine beauty and peaceful quiet of a winter day, then head outdoors. Take a snowshoe walk through a postcard. Or learn to mush on a dogsled trek. Enjoy the view while taking a sauna or dip into a heated indoor pool. Sample the flavors of the boreal forest with this 3 day Itinerary for Saguenay, Canada in winter.
What to do in Saguenay during the Winter
Located about 200 km (120 miles) from Quebec City, Canada, Saguenay is part of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. Originally settled as Chicoutimi, a French trading post for fur trappers in 1676.
It’s a gateway to a winter weekend, packed with boreal influences and Canadian winter fun. Pack the winter outdoor gear and head out for a getaway to remember.
Day 1 Arrive at La Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste
Set among the pines and along the shores of the Saguenay Fjord, enjoy the rustic, yet refined ambience of a secluded getaway. Find several chalets for your winter retreat, each with a variety of rooms. Enjoy a common area outside your ensuite room, outfitted with cozy seating, a stove and small library to sit back and savor the views of the Saguenay Fjord.
Cap au Leste’s activities start at the main lodge building. Get outfitted with snowshoes and explore the pristine property. Or arrange a dogsled trek through the backcountry with Dominic and his team of huskies.
Exploring will ignite an appetite so head to The Mukushan for boreal-influenced meals created by a French chef. Starting with a breakfast buffet, lunch and ending with a three-course dinner, it offers hearty meals.
In the evenings, savor a night cap with a view of the fjord, like Sortilege, a whisky maple drink. Or sample any of the locally brewed beers.
Or head to the heated indoor pool for swim. Then take in the view with a sauna that boasts windows overlooking the fjord.
La Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste is located at 555 Chemin du Cap a l’Est in Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. It’s 39 km from Saguenay and 43 km from Monts-Valin National Park.
Day 2 Monts-Valin National Park
With 154 square kilometers (59 square miles) of boreal wilderness, explore the snow-kissed woodland by snowshoe, ski or bike. Regardless which mode of transportation you choose, the Discovery and Visitors Centre offers equipment and guidance for your trip along with an interpretive center.
Monts Valin National Park is located at 360 rang Saint-Soice in Saint-Fulgence, north of Saguenay Fjord. Admission for adults only ($8.60 CAN), kids under 18 are free. Equipment rental extra, hourly and daily rates available. Snowcat Shuttle additional fee and reservations are required.
Snowshoeing in Monts-Valin
For easy and scenic snowshoeing trek, try the Lac des Péres, an easy 3-km loop that starts at the Discovery Center. This loop offers a scenic and level snowshoeing experience, great for beginners.
For an epic snowshoeing experience, head to the Vallée-des Fantômes. It’s a 6.5-km intermediate trail with a warming hut along the trail. And the trail ends at the Pavillon Antoine Dubuc, a cabin and warming hut.
And the most adventurous trip, reserve a guide and go off the trail. The backcountry guide will explain how to ascend mountains then glide down with snowshoes. See the top of Pic Dubuc on a clear day. And blowing snow covers the trees with a fine, glistening snow.
To see the Valley of the Phantoms Trail reserve for Snowcat Shuttle service in advance. One departure during the week and two during the weekend. Pack plenty of water along with a hearty lunch and snacks. Dress in layers and googles are advised for snowy or windy days.
Back Country Skiing
For those who enjoy back country skiing, explore the landscape on one of 71 km of unmarked and unpacked trails. Be sure to pack a map.
Cross Country Skiing in Monts-Valin
Find five cross country skiing loop trails in Monts-Valin National Park. There’s a 2 km easy trail to a 12 km difficult trail. Trails are maintained on weekends and during holiday breaks.
As a mix of cross country skis with snowshoes, go off-track and climb uphill while still gliding downhill. Try out hok skiing at Monts-Valin too.
Rent a bike and explore the packed trails, next to the groomed cross country ski trails. Find a 2 km to a 12 km trail, with grooming on weekends and during holiday breaks.
Day Three Snowmobile Tour of Saguenay
Ditch the car and explore Saguenay with a snowmobile. Start with the experts at Contact Nature for equipment and a guide to explore.
Snowmobiling Lesson with Contact Nature
As a nonprofit offering recreational activities for locals as well as tourists in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area, start your day here. First get outfitted with speciality gear, like heavy and padded jackets, snowpants and gloves. Then get an snowmobiling lesson before heading out on snowmobile trail.
Contact Nature is located at 7400 Chemin des Chutes in La Baie. Licensed drivers only and reservations required.
Snowmobile around La Baie
Head to the third largest trail network in Quebec and use the Summit Circuit to get around. Get equal doses for winter landscape along with must dos of Saguenay.
Explore the Musee du Fjord
First explore the Musee du Fjord for a 53,000-liter saltwater aquarium to see what lives in the Saguenay Fjord. Then see some marine species up close in the tidal tank, located next to the aquarium.
Take in the multi-media show Journey into the Heart of the Saguenay Fjord. With aerial, land and underwater images to learn more about the fjord.
Walk through the exhibition explaining the history of the region as well.
Located at 3346 Boulevard de la Grand Baie Sud in La Baie. Admission based on age and kids 5 and younger are free. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, closed on Mondays.
Where to Eat in Saguenay
Exploring by snowmobile is exhilarating so take a break and have a bite to eat.
Bistro Café Summum
With flavors of the boreal forest find a casual bistro serving breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a bar and espresso. Choose from burgers, pizzas and salads with a rainbow of vegetables.
Located at 786 Rue Victoria in La Baie.
A Lesson in Ice Fishing
The best way to experience this sport is in a heated hut. With the guides from Contact Nature, learn how to bait your hook then sit back and wait for the fish to bite.
And an interesting fact is the fjord is tidal. So it rises and lowers according to the tides. Reservations required.
How to Get Saguenay
Fly into Saguenay-Bagotville Airport (YBG) with several flights from major Canadian cities on Air Canada.
Or drive to Saguenay, it’s located about two-and-half hour’s northeast of Quebec City.
Check out These Articles for your Trip
Consideation for brands mentioned. This trip was hosted by Quebec Original.