Frequently Asked Questions

 

Useful information

1. Hiking season Open?

The IAT-QC hiking season runs from June 24 to Thanksgiving (in Canada). 

From early May to 24 June, the trail is still closed, but it is possible to hike under certain conditions. Please check with the IAT-QC. We are in the boreal forest so, there is still snow in some areas and there is always a multitude of fallen trees in trails affecting hiking at this time of year. For reasons of safety and environmental protection, hikers are not allowed to move before opening.

After the Thanksgiving, the trail is considered closed due to various factors such as: the moose in the Matane Wildlife Reserve, the rut of caribou in the Gaspésie National Park, closing national parks and climate conditions vary greatly (early snow in the highest peaks), so for these reasons we can't practice long hike. But under certain conditions, it is possible to circulate in parts of IAT-QC. For more information, please contact the Office of the IAT-QC at (418) 560-4642 orinfo@sia-iat.com. Our office is usually open from Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm during the hiking season and once a week when out of season.

2. Bus?
Orleans Express links the province with services everywhere in Quebec (Gaspe, Matapedia, villages in Matapedia Valley, villages on the north shore of the Gaspe Peninsula and close to the north side of the Trail).  For more information, call Orléans Express at 514 842-2281 or visit their Internet Website at www.orleansexpress.com.  In Matapedia, call 418 865-2952.
3. List of partner giving services

-Matapédia Nature Aventure, (418) 865-3554, offers canoe trips on the Restigouche and Matapedia rivers and a shuttle service for your trips to the mountains on foot or by bike. He sells the cards for the Quebec section of the IAT. Contact them to inquire about the status of the trail between Matapedia and Amqui.

 

-Sainte-Marguerite Rémi Saint-Laurent (418) 778-5824 can provide a shuttle service from Sainte-Marguerite in the municipality of Matapedia.

 

-Matane, Cap-Chat SIA-QC(418) 560-4642 offer a shuttle service, luggage transport and deposition of food for the western portion of the Matane Wildlife Reserve.

 

-Sainte-Anne-des-Monts The Gaspésie National Park offers during the summer, a daily shuttle service between Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, the Gîte du Mont Albert, Jacques-Cartier Mount and Jacques-Cartier camping. It can be dropped off at Logan and request deposits of food. Call 72 hours in advance at (418) 763-7494 extension 3301, or toll free at 1-866-727-2427, for more information. Otherwise, there is also a taxi service is available at any time to go take hikers in the Gaspésie National Park here is their contact information: Taxi Marie-Hélène (418) 763-5310.

4. Six sectors? What are the differences between the different sectors?

Matapedia Valley:  171 km, from Matapedia to Matane Wildlife Reserve.  We can describe this sector as being rustic and bucolic.  Hiking becomes particular in certain locations due to the fact that the Trail is right along the River. The difficulty level goes from easy to intermediate, except for Clark Canyon which is very difficult, but cannot be missed.  Hikers are able to get some supplies in each of the municipalities.

Matane Wildlife Reserve:
  106,2 km, from John Station to Mount Logan.  Far from civilization with fabulous environment.  The trail has been recently built.  The level of difficulty is very high.  There aren't any shelters but a little one on Mount Blanc, as well as one on Mount Logan.  Campsites are also close to reliable water facilities.  Signs and markers are adequate.

Gaspesie Park:  103,1 km, from Mount Logan to Mount Jacques-Cartier Camping.  The Park is well organized, far from civilization with sumptuous backgrounds.  The level of difficulty is high.  It is forbidden to camp outside a shelter or anywhere else than in the campgrounds.

Upper Gaspesie:  80,2 km, from Mont-Saint-Pierre to Sainte-Madeleine.You are in the mountains during the day and in the villages at night.  We didn't build campgrounds or shelters because services are available .  When the trail is too far from civilization, you'll find infrastructures.  The advantage is that you'll have a splendid view on the sea from the mountains and a cultural experience in the villages.  The level of difficulty is intermediate for people in good shape.

Gaspe Coast: 122,6 km, from Sainte-Madeleine to Forillon National Park.  This section is pretty much like Upper Gaspesie since you're in the mountains during the day and in the villages at night.  The scenery is carved and indented with a great synergy between the sea and the mountain.  The level of difficulty is intermediate for people in good shape.

Forillon: 45km, up to Cap-Gaspe.  The first or the last section on the IAT.  A lot of activities set up by the Park for all ages.  Infrastructures are really well organized.  The view of the sea is unimpeded because, close to Cap-Gaspe, the sea is on both sides of the Trail.  The level of difficulty is from easy to intermediate

5. Train?
VIA Rail Canada stops regularly in Matapedia.  VIA Rail Canada offers services in Montreal, Quebec, Gaspe, St. John and Halifax.  For more information, call VIA Rail Canada at 888-VIA-RAIL 1 888 842-7245 or visit their Internet Website at www.amtrak.com.

The essentials

1. Food drops?

 

A food drop service is available along the International Appalachian Trail.

1) Post Office and Partners
Food can be sent in advance to some post offices and to some of our partners.  Use the following model for both options.
NB:  For the parc national de la Gaspésie (Centre de service), add either your passport number or your reservation number.

Your name,
POSTE RESTANTE / GRAND RANDONNEUR
Complete post office/partner address 


RANDONNEUR DU SIA / "HOLD FOR TRAIL HIKER"
(Expected pick-up date) 
For information : Sentier international des Appalaches,
(418) 560-4642
info@sia-iat.com

Food Drop Addresses

2) Matane Wildlife Reserve and Gaspésie National Park.

 

Matane Wildlife Reserve

 

To cross the Matane Wildlife Reserve, two boxes of food deposit are available at the entry of Camping Lac Matane and at the entry of Camping Petit-Sault.  These two boxes are hidden and you must have a passport or a reservation to receive the information about their location.  It is possible to make itself the food drop in these places (non-perishable food).  A delivery service is also available by the SIA-QC for a cost between 45 to 55 dollars, if the box is sent two weeks in advance.

 

Gaspésie National Park

 

Besides the Centre de Découverte et de Services where it is possible to send food deposit by post, it is also possible, with the SEPAQ, to make food deposit in two places in the Park.  The first place is at the Refuge Le Pluvier at Lake Cascapédia and the second place is at the Refuge Le Huard at Lake Thibeault.  You have to communicate with the Centre de Découverte et de Services (SÉPAQ) to make a reservation and the payment for the food delivery.  (Information, Reservation, Cost) Call:  1 (418) 763-7494 # 3326.

 

Food Drop - Information

 

2. Rating of Difficulty?

The following ratings of difficulty are present to give a rough idea of the difficulty of each outing. Remember that difficulty is relative to the participant! They take into account the type of terrain, the change in altitude and the total distances covered. One must remember that each outing of the same rating is unique and that a large amount of factors give them each their own personality. For more information, contact us!

 

niveau_de_dificulte_anglais.jpg

3. Water?
Campsites and shelters were built beside water supply facilities, except for one specific location in Matapedia section:  Les Trois Soeurs campsite and shelter.  The stream is located at 2,5 km from there, so you have to plan in advance.  We recommend you to boil, filter or use iodine pills.  Some streams are well oxygenated but you never know if a moose or a humanoid will decide to soil it upstream!  Above all, do not drink stagnant water.  Some take chances and drink clear water from stormy waterfalls.  They're not sick but it is sheer luck.
4. Where can I make fires?

If fire danger is low or moderate, campfires can be done in the fireplaces buit for that purpose in these camping sites only  :

  • Matapedia Valley
    Le Turcotte refuge
    Le Corbeau refuge
  • Matane Wild Life Reserve
    John campground
    Ruisseau-des-Pitounes campground
    Lac-Tombereau campground
    Montagne-à-Valcourt campground
    Lac-Matane campground
    Lac-du-Gros-Ruisseau campground
    Mont-Craggy campground
    Lac-Beaulieu campground
    Petit-Sault campground
    Ruisseau-Bascon campground
     
  • Upper Gaspe
    Le Grand Sault campground
     
  • Gaspe Coast
    Les Terrasses campground
    La Chute campground
    Les Carrières campground.

Otherwise, campfires are forbidden in the other sites and you should use a camping stove with white gas (naphta) for cooking.

Lodging

1. Can we camp anywhere else than in campgrounds or shelters along the IAT?
It is forbidden to camp anywhere else than in designated campgrounds or shelters along the IAT.  The IAT-QC built special sites in order to preserve the existing ecology.  Furthermore, we would like all your nights to be paid because your payment contributes to maintain the Trail as well as the infrastructures.
2. Do I have to have to pay a right of access for the Parks?

It costs $5.50/day to get in Gaspesie National Park.  However, when you make a reservation for a campground or a shelter, it is included in the price.  Remember to keep your receipt when you hike.  A forest ranger could ask to see it.

You can also choose to buy an annual access card for $27.50 if you plan on staying many days in a park. 

3. Do we have to make reservations for campgrounds and shelters in Quebec?

Yes, it is mandatory to make reservations for the IAT-QC campsites, With IAT-QC except for the Park, at 415-560-4642.  

For the Gaspésie National Park, You have to call SEPAQ (Societe des etablissements de plein air du Quebec = lit. Quebec Outdors Installations Society) at 1 800-665-6527, option 4.

There are campsites with hot water and a shower in the Quebec parks and reserves.  The Trail comes across these sites.  If you are a long-distance hiker, you will be in more secluded campsites.  Our installations are usually 10 to 13 kilometers appart.

In the villages, you have access to private or municipal campsites which are well organized and affordable.  Where such services are available, there are no IAT-QC campsites.

4. How much are the campgrounds and shelters?

These are the 2017 prices for the IAT-QC campgrounds, except for those in the Gaspesie National Park.

Camping platforms are $5.75/night/person.
Refuges are $23.00/night, per person.
Shelters and lean-to's are $17.25/night, person.

Groups such as schools, scouts and vacation camps have to make an arrangement with the IAT-QC office.


As for private campgrounds, prices vary but are reasonable.

For the Gaspesie National Park rates, please follow this link.

5. What is the average distance between the accommodation sites?

These two tables will be useful to create your itinerary. 

This first table shows the distances between the accommodation places on the International Appalachians Trail. According to the blazes, the beginning of the trail is at Cap Gaspé (km 0), and the end is in the Matapédia Valley (km 650). The Total column will give you the estimated distance between two places.

The number affixed to the hosting site is the number of the nearest 9-1-1 tag. With the help of the column "distance", you can get the distance in km between two places of accommodation which follow. 

but it is important to note that there were additions of hosting site since this table was created 

The second table presents an assessment of distances and the time required between each step, for sections of Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec. It was designed by John "Plugger" Stough on his hike in 2009. It will be useful to create your itinerary, but it is important to note that there were additions of hosting site since this table was created.

The animals

1. Biting insects?

Biting insects such as mosquitoes, black flies and biting midges, are also part of the fauna. They are present in some parts of the trail, especially on the edges of bogs and in areas where conifers are dense. Provide a good insect repellent.

2. Hunting period?

During the period of the moose hunting (to check for 2017), to circulate on Road 1 and / or the practice of hiking the International Appalachian Trail - Québec (IAT-QC) you must:

- Acquire an access (daily in the case of the short hike) at the office of International Appalachian Trail - Quebec, located on the second floor of the tourist office of Matane (Matane lighthouse) in the 968 du Phare ouest, Matane. You can contact us on hours of operation between 9 and 16 pm, Monday to Friday at 418-562-7885 or by email at info@sia-iat.com. Please plan to get your right of movement during the week.

- Persons must comply with dates, times and places mentioned in access and in addition they must put their access rights on the dashboard of their vehicle so that it is readable from the outside and carry it on them and in this case, present it upon request of an wildlife officer, an assistant to wildlife protection or an area warden.

- Wear orange vest;

- Only move and hike between 9 am and 16 pm.

- Must travel only in the following areas (listed to the access right): sector#1 (Charles Édouard-Vézina Mount, roundtrip only, from the parking lot des Pins, Road 1), sector #2 (Valley of the Creek of Pitounes, roundtrip only, facing the road leading to the Matane River 2 cottage, Road 1) sector #3 (Duvivier River, Tombereau Lake, West Creek Falls and West Mount, roundtrip only, with starting near the Matane River 4 cottage, Road 1). The sector #4 (Matane Lake) is only available for long hiking, from Poste John to Matane Lake or from Matane Lake to Cap-Chat River (Nicol-Albert / Petit Sault).

NOTE: To access the area of Cap-Chat River (Nicol-Albert Mont and Helena Fall) it’s not necessary to acquire a daily access right when you move from the road to Cap-Chat . It is possible to drive around on Road 1 in the upstream part of the Cap-Chat River, the limit of the ZEC Cap-Chat, near the Pineault river to the intersection of Road 1 and 19.

3. Pets?
In Gaspesie Park dogs or other pets are strictly forbidden.  In Forillon National Park, Matane Wildlife Reserve and in all other sections of the IAT, you can bring your dog as long as you keep it on a leash.
4. What to do during an encounter with a bear?

Did you know that ...

In 1999, a typical year, 5 million people in Quebec have participated in activities related to nature and have spent 395 million days, or 79 days per person? In Quebec, six deaths caused by black bears have been reported for 30 years.

Also, did you know that over the last hundred years, every human death due to black bears in North America, correspond approximately 17 deaths from spiders, 25 snakes, 65 dogs, 180 bees and 350 lightning? (Source: Flora and fauna of the country)

General information and tips

In the forests of Quebec, Maine and New Brunswick, there is the black bear. Discreet and shy deemed it nonetheless it is an imposing beast that may pose a threat. It does not seek confrontation and it is especially obsessed with food.

Be careful and hang your food, cookware and even toothpaste and soap on the media to food, when available. There are in all shelters and campsites SIA, with the exception of those located in the Matapedia Valley and the National Park Gaspésie (use dry toilet cubicle as a deposit).

Mark your presence on items that you produce rattling, bells Bear, speak, sing. One can also have a whistle attached to the outside of the backpack, a fog horn or cayenne pepper.

What to do during an encounter with the black bear?

If you encounter one, stay calm and take the time to analyze the situation.

If you have not seen, admire it from afar and walk away silently.

If he saw you, stop walking. Talk to him softly. Wave your arms. Do not cry and do not make sudden movements. Maintain eye contact and let him escape corridor. Stay away without turning his back and speaking softly to him to know that you are a human and not a prey.

If he approaches you, do not look him in the eyes, trying to find tools of persuasion or defense (stick, paddle, knife, rock), distract him by dropping objects, you affirm ( speak loudly). Do not run, causing his predatory instincts. Ultimately, throw him your food.

If attacked, fight back with cayenne pepper or whatever you get your hands, use natural obstacles (rocks, trees) as a shield. Do not forget to yell, which could alert others on the trail. Being up in a tree can be a solution, the adult bears do not spontaneously climb. It is better to face the Black Bears to the death.

Frank Wihbey Maine said: "In my hundreds of miles of hiking the woods, I've never met, not once!"

Updated June 4, 2009.

Sources

Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife of Quebec
http://www.mrnf.gouv.qc.ca/faune/securite/ours-responsabilite.jsp

Flora and fauna of the country
http://www.ffdp.ca/hww2_f.asp?id=83 # top

 

For more information

Brochure of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife of Quebec (pdf)