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Photo : Simon Diotte, La Presse

Long hikes in Gaspésie

Here are some trails to better appreciate the long hikes on offer in Gaspésie. Traveling at the pace of your footsteps, from shelter to shelter, with backpack and boots, this is an experience for any hiking enthusiast. In Gaspésie, it is not only possible, but it is also the only place in North America where the trail is GR certified.

What is a GR? 
The GR (Grande Randonnée) are hiking trails that allow you to travel in a region, a mountain, or even a country during a few days. Well known in Europe, this network includes, among others, Compostelle, recognized worldwide. In October 2015, the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre inaugurated the first GR in North America, the GR A1 in Gaspésie.

The International Appalachian Trail – IAT 
The IAT is the long hiking trail that crosses the Gaspésie and was GR-approved in 2015.

From the village of Matapédia, it traverses the Matapédia Valley up to Amqui to enter and entirely cross the Réserve faunique de Matane, passing by Mont Nicol-Albert and the Helene waterfall. Its trajectory continues through the Parc national de la Gaspésie and crosses the Albert and Jacques-Cartier Mountains. The IAT then descends towards Mont-Saint-Pierre where it continues its path from village to village allowing hikers to enjoy magnificent views of the sea. It then enters the Forillon National Park to culminate in Cap-Gaspé, the lookout from the end of the world overlooking the gulf.

Forillon National Park. Photo : Mathieu Dupuis

Totalling a distance of 650 km, you can enjoy the IAT for a day, a few days, or cover it completely in about 40 days.

Camping platforms, shelters (lean-to), refuges and private accommodation are distributed along the trail and managed by the IAT in certain sectors. Daily rates are available, but if you are planning a long hike, purchasing a lodging passport will save you money and offer flexibility. The sectors of the Parc national de la Gaspésie and Forillon National Park are independents (with a few exceptions). A variety of lodging types are available ranging from wilderness camping to a 4 star inn. The Côte-de-Gaspé sector will allow you to cross several villages and thus benefit from on-site accommodation.

Depending on the amount of snow received, some parts of the trail are accessible by mid-May, however the trail is fully usable from mid-June to end of October generally.

Access to the trail is free, but you must have a daily access right required by the national parks of Gaspésie and Forillon.

Plan your hike
This kind of trip should not be taken without a minimum of preparation. The IAT team will be your best ally. In addition to maps, they have a wealth of information about access rights, accommodation options, and trail conditions. They also offer several services, including baggage transport, shuttle service, food drops and equipment rentals. They will also help you to plan your accommodation.

In addition, several packages are available, whether for a base camp stay or a guided multi-day hike. Contact them to get all the details.

Ciel étoilé. Photo : Steve Deschênes

The Parc national de la Gaspésie 
The IAT segment alone, which runs through the Parc national de la Gaspésie, represents a hike of approximately 7 days. Managed by the SÉPAQ, this territory is more frequented, more organized, and presents a beautiful playground to become familiar with this long hike. Contact them to plan your stay.

Caribou. Photo : Trésors cachés de la Gaspésie

La Traversée de la Gaspésie – TDLG 
Not to be confused with the IAT, the Traversée de la Gaspésie is an event that is held annually. By foot in the fall and on ski and snowshoe in the winter, this is a great opportunity to discover Gaspésie. For a week, we invite you to travel the trails of the Gaspésie, to savor the delights of the terroir and to celebrate in good company. All-inclusive sports holidays for lovers of the great outdoors, while meeting great people.

For more information on Gaspésie, visit www.tourisme-gaspesie.com.

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