Hiking in Shawinigan
Do you like walking in nature? Shawi has many options for you!
By France St-Amant
Walking. What an invigorating activity and oh so beneficial! And in Shawinigan, we have trails to walk around for a very long time! Whether it’s in the middle of the forest, on the many trails throughout the city or in the majestic La Mauricie National Park, you will be able to find something adapted to your physical condition. Think again, hiking is not always synonymous with a promenade and can surprise you by requiring considerable cardiovascular effort depending on the route.
La Mauricie National Park is very popular for its variety of activities. Many tourists come from afar to enjoy it, because of its fame. You’ll even have the option of combining hiking with various aquatic activities, then camping in a regular campsite or in the backcountry (canoe-camping). You’ll find yourself surrounded by nature in its purest state. More than 80 km of trails for all levels await you with a multitude of breathtaking viewpoints (charged, dogs not allowed).
Parc de l’Île-Melville – Secteur des Chutes, has the advantage of being located a stone’s throw from downtown, but still gives the impression of being surrounded by nature. It’s therefore perfect if you don’t want to go too far or if you don’t have a lot of time. You’ll have access to 15 km of trails of all levels. You can even access it on foot from the city via the Trudel pedestrian bridge. There are two beautiful lookouts and a historical route between these two viewpoints (free, dogs allowed).
The Vallée Rocanigan is a treasure to be discovered in the cœur villageois de Sainte-Flore. It offers 15 kilometers of trails, some of which will be suitable for children, in a forest that will not fail to amaze you. There is also a picnic area with a barbecue at your disposal. If the rain surprises you, you can take refuge in a yurt. After your hike, don’t hesitate to take a dip in the lake to cool off and take a little rest on the beach. (paying, dogs not allowed)
The Parc linéaire de la Rivière-Shawinigan is worth the detour with its 5 km of trails running along the river of the same name, its waterfalls and its cascades. One part is covered with paving and lit, while the other wilder part is called the Thibaudeau-Ricard trail. This section is among the favorites of Shawinigan residents with its historical, nature-culture vocation in the heart of the city. Along the river to Shawinigan Bay, you’ll discover remains of dams as well as one of the first seismographs to be installed in North America (free, dogs allowed).
Parc de la Rivière-Grand-Mère is definitely a hidden treasure of the Grand-Mère sector in Shawinigan. The 2.5 km paved trail leads to a belvedere offering a view of the Saint-Maurice River and its waterfall from a height of about 10 m. It’s easy to get there from the corner of 11th Avenue and 7th Street, where the view of the pond and the path is magnificent. On foot or on a bike, alone or with family, the park, with its lighted asphalt path, will certainly meet your need for calm and comfort (free, dogs allowed and accessible from May to November).
Pssst! Make the pleasure last and take the opportunity to follow the 4 km circuit offered in the Bulle_ÀShawi, Les Trésors de Grand-Mère.
Suggestions based on your interests:
For the family
Parc de la Rivière-Shawinigan is very well suited for small families. You can get around on foot, by bike and on skis. The first section of the trail is interesting for the family. The land is quite flat and the falls and cascades are spectacular.
At La Mauricie National Park, the Cascades trail is the most suitable and popular for the family.
At Parc de la Rivière-Grand-Mère, you can take your time and sit down to enjoy a picnic and take advantage of the facilities: playgrounds, swings, exercise stations, skateboard park, as well as basketball and tennis courts.
For the photographer
All the trails with falls and waterfalls are likely to interest photographers: the open dams of the Parc de l’Île Melville in the spring, the falls and waterfalls of the Parc linéaire de la Rivière are just a few examples. But all of Shawinigan’s trails offer great photo opportunities for photographers with inspiring viewpoints. The Belvedere du Lac-Rosoy, which can be reached via the Mékinac trail in La Mauricie National Park, will amaze you.
For the colors’ season or leaf peeping
No matter where, Shawi in the fall is colorful! For an animated day, go to the top of Vallée du Parc during the colors’ festival. For a breathtaking panorama of Lac Wapizagonke and the surrounding landscapes, reach the Belvedere Le-Passage, which is the highest point of view on the parkway in La Mauricie National Park. For those who aren’t afraid of cardio, face the stairs of the Île-aux-Pins in the La Mauricie National Park. Your efforts will be rewarded with a striking colorful sight.
Other hiking trails in Shawinigan:
– Arbraska – Parc de l’Île Melville (air adventure circuit, charged, accessible from April to October)
– Parc Étienne-Bellemare in the Saint-Jean-des-Piles sector with its view of Grandes-Piles on the other side of the Saint-Maurice River. Perfect if you don’t have the ability to walk a lot (0.5 km, free and dogs allowed).
Other trails near Shawinigan:
– Parc récréoforestier Saint-Mathieu (free, 19.8 km including 11.5 km national trail, dogs allowed);
– Aire Nature Grandes-Piles (charged, 30 km including a section of the national trail, dogs allowed);
– Héritage Carcajou (free, 15 km);
– La Gabelle trail (free, dogs allowed, 10 km, intermediate to advanced);
– Parc Cœur Nature de Saint-Narcisse (bog, free, 2.8 km).
Psst! Read the article on snowshoeing for winter hiking.