Matane Wildlife Reserve
Access to the trail is FREE for the Matane Wildlife Reserve section
East sector: from Lac Beaulieu to Mont Logan, 34.5 km
Tundra, permafrost and caribou
The portion of the International Appalachian Trail that is under the responsibility of the Haut-Pays-de-Cap-Chat committee is located in the central part of the Chic-Chocs mountain range. From Lac Beaulieu, in the heart of the Matane wildlife reserve to Mont Logan at the western end of Parc national de la Gaspésie, this part of the trail is considered the most difficult in SIA-Quebec, but also one of the most beautiful!
This 34.5 km section of the AIS includes several long uphill and downhill runs, such as the Nicol-Albert, Collins and Fortin mountains, among others. The 747 m drop in height from Mount Nicol-Albert is in itself an important challenge that should not be taken lightly.
From Lac Beaulieu to Mont Nicol-Albert, the trail circulates in a wooded area from summit to summit, occasionally offering viewpoints that provide an excuse to stop. Then he arrives at the "snowman" monolith which is on a 700-meter escarpment and then literally plunges along the Beaulieu stream, which shelters 13 spectacular falls. After these vertical shows, he crosses the Cap-Chat river on a footbridge just above the Petit-Sault salmon sanctuary. There is a rustic campsite nearby, on the edge of road 1. You can access this site by car from Cap-Chat, along the river for 40 km.
2 km from the Petit-Sault campsite to the north, you can take a nice easy hike to go to Hélène waterfall (70 m high), which is 4 km from the Ruisseau-Bascon bridge on Route 1. Further on, the Ruisseau-Bascon campsite allows you to stop before approaching the famous Collins and Matawees mountains with their alpine meadows. Next comes Mont Fortin and its sharp ridge which marks the entrance to the Gaspésie National Park and finally, the majestic Mont Logan and its refuge, the Pic-de-l'Aigle, firmly anchored at its summit. It is the country of permafrost, witness of a harsh and austere climate and last shelter for the woodland caribou.
West sector: from Matane River to Beaulieu Lake - 72 km
From summit to summit
The portion of the international Appalachian trail under the responsibility of the Matane committee covers the western part of the Chic-choc mountain range. Of the 72 kilometers of linear path found there, 66 are found in the Matane wildlife reserve. Hikers can choose from multiple day hikes or long hikes with rustic camping accommodations.
Moving west to east, the trail first runs along the Matane River for more than 6 kilometers before reaching John Station, which marks the official entrance to the reserve. The river follows the path for another 3.5 kilometers before entering the first ascent. What interests: rapids, ponds, canals, pits, beaver dam, walkways, etc. Then it is the climb to the first summit to then follow the southern escarpment of the Chic-shock mountains, at an average altitude of 500 to 600 meters. We discover beautiful panoramas of the Matane river valley, the southern part of the peninsula and the surrounding lakes. It is also the kingdom of the moose and the territory of the golden eagle. Two couples nest in this area. Observe well. The path then descends before embarking on the demanding climb of the Mont de l'Ouest, which rises to 922 meters. The summit offers a beautiful panorama to the east and several streams dotted with waterfalls and falls crisscross the massif. Beautiful views of Lake Matane also precede the descent. What a marvel that this narrow body of water surrounded by high mountains.
The path then begins to climb the narrow mountain ridge that overlooks the eastern shore of the lake. It offers superb views of the lake and the deep valley of Desjarlais Creek. A beautiful bog is crossed before arriving at the peak which offers a breathtaking view of the chain of lakes and the massif of Mont de l'Ouest. The Gros Ruisseau lake and a series of peaks dot the route which leads to Mont Pointu (930 meters) and Mont Craggy (846 meters) which, through their rocky promontories, offer very beautiful, sometimes dizzying, views. vast expanse of forest that stretches at their feet and on the St. Lawrence River in the distance. The descent of Mount Craggy presents remarkable views of the neighboring Mont Blanc and the pass that connects them. The ascent of Mont Blanc, which culminates at 1065 meters, is rewarded with wide panoramas. We then see all the way traveled. The krummohlz forest leads to the impressive and rough north flow then to the beautiful alpine meadow which opens onto the majestic mountain panorama which extends to the east. The meeting of an alpine bog precedes arrival at the clearing which reveals a splendid view of Lake Beaulieu, Lake T and the surrounding mountains. The campsite is below.