Montmorency Falls - Things to Do in Quebec City
A day trip to Montmorency Falls (Parc de la Chute – Montmorency) is one of the best things to do in Quebec City. Get close to the roar of a 272-foot waterfall while exploring the park’s system of suspension bridges and stairs. Just outside of Quebec City, the park makes a great day trip for travelers who want to experience a slice of Canadian wilderness. Use our Montmorency Falls guide to plan your day.
Onsite there are several ways for all age groups to experience the awesome power of the Montmorency Falls. Visitors can ride a cable car, zip line, rock climb, or hike a panoramic circuit along the waterfall. The differently-abled can enjoy the park’s many boardwalks and ramps.
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ALL ABOUT MONTMORENCY FALL
Montmorency Falls was formed as the result of a fault between two blocks of continental rock. In 1613, Samuel de Champlain visited the Falls and named it after the Duke of Montmorency. Cascading 272 feet, the waterfall is about 100-feet higher than Niagara Falls.
In the years following its discovery, British and French forces battled over Montmorency Falls. Remnants of the armies’ fortifications can still be found in the park. During one battle, the legend of Louis and Mathilde was born. The two lovers were set to be married before Louis perished in battle. In her grief, Mathilde put on her wedding dress and jumped to her death in the falls. Over the centuries, there have been many sightings of Mathilde in her white dress.
In the late 1800s, Montmorency Falls was the site of the first hydroelectric power station in the Quebec City area. Today, the waterfall is Quebec’s second most visited tourist attraction, with only Old Quebec City beating the destination in popularity.
WHERE IS MONTMORENCY FALLS
Physical Address: 5300 Sainte-Anne Blvd., Québec City (Québec) G1C 0M3
The Falls are part of the Montmorency River. They can be seen from the highway, right before the river empties into the St. Laurence. The location is 9-miles (13km) outside of Quebec City.
MONTMORENCY FALLS MAP
THINGS TO DO AND SEE AT MONTMORENCY FALLS
At Montmorency Falls there are many ways to feel the force of the beautiful falls. Here is a list of things to see and do at Montmorency Falls:
Montmorency Waterfall Promenade
Behind the main Visitor Center, a horseshoe shaped Promenade edges the small lake at the base of the waterfall. The boardwalk is even and wide with benches for relaxing. Along the promenade there are historical and ecological exhibits to enjoy as well as a cement viewing platform at the base of the falls. On the opposite side of the lake, the boardwalk meanders through the woods with views of the falls. In this area, there are also picnic grounds and a play gym.
Montmorency Falls Panoramic Staircase
At the end of the Promenade, a collection of staircases and panoramic lookouts are stacked up the side of a rock cliff next to the waterfall. Totaling 487 stairs, the flights can be climbed up and down to observe the waterfall (for free!). At the top of the stairs, a suspension bridge spans the brink of the waterfall. This system of bridges and stairs allows onlookers to see the waterfall from all angles. At some locations, you can feel its spray. However, climbers beware, the stairs are steep and vertigo-inducing.
PRO TIP: We avoided the main Visitor Center, and parked in the top lot where it was less crowded. Then, we walked down the staircase and around the Promenade. To complete the loop, we took the cable car back to the top where we trekked across the suspension bridge (thereby avoiding lines and queueing).
Montmorency Falls Cable Car
Leaving from the Visitor Center, the Montmorency Falls Cable Car lifts passengers over the boardwalk, lake, and waterfall. At the end of the line, guest’s exit at the Montmorency Manor where there is a restaurant, gift shop, and bathrooms. After a short hike through the woods, the suspension bridge at the crest of the falls comes into view. Visitors can hike the Panoramic Staircase to the bottom, or ride the cable car back down.
Montmorency Falls Zip Line & Via Ferrata
For thrill seekers the park has installed a 300-meter zip lining course that spans the front of the falls to the La Baronne observation deck. And, for those who like to scramble, Montmorency Falls park offers three via Ferrata courses (rock climbing with iron rungs, ladders, and cables) to hike with a professional guide.
Montmorency Falls Winter Activities
While many of the park’s services shut down between December and February, the snow and ice-packed winter season can be an exciting one at Montmorency Falls. Winter hiking, snow shoeing, and ice climbing are the main activities this time of year. In addition, when conditions are right, the cable car is in service.
Biking the Corridor du Littoral
The Corridor du Littoral is a bike path that is open to bikers, walkers, wheelchairs, skaters, and scooters. The path runs from Montmorency Falls through Quebec City to Saint Augustin de Desmaures. The total distance is about 40km. Access to the bike route (and parking) can be found at many points along the route that follows the St. Laurence River.
Hiking, Picnic Grounds, and Play Gyms
In addition to the Boardwalk and Panoramic Staircase, visitors will find several hiking trails along the river and throughout the forest. In different areas of the park, there are also picnic grounds with rolling green lawns and play gyms for the little ones.
Train de Charlevoix
The Train de Charlevoix is a tourist train that originates at the Montmorency Falls Visitor Center. The train route runs over 125km through 7 villages. The route takes in the mountains of Charlevoix and the St. Laurence River. The journey can be completed in one day; or as an overnight.
HOW TO GET TO MONTMORENCY FALLS
There are several ways to get to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City:
Personal Vehicle: Via A 440E, it takes about 15 minutes to drive from Quebec City to Montmorency Falls park.
City Bus: A number of bus routes run to, or near, the park. The ride is about 45 minutes long.
Tour Company Transportation: Many tour companies run excursions to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City. The tours are often bundled with other sites in the Quebec or Cote de Beaupre region.
Bicycling: The Corridor du Littoral is a bike path that runs from Quebec City to Montmorency Falls. Visitors can rent bikes or join a bike tour to visit the Falls.
MONTMORENCY FALLS PARKING
There are three public parking areas at Montmorency Falls park. The main parking area is at the foot of the falls, with an exit off Highway A 440E (by the main Visitor Center). There are also smaller lots at the top of the falls, and on the Boischatel side. Parking rates vary with the season. May to Oct. rate (2023) $7.57 for general admission parking.
WHEN TO VISIT MONTMORENCY FALLS
May through October: During these months the Montmorency Falls’ boardwalks, stairways, hiking paths, cable car, and zip lining are generally open and fully functioning.
November through April: In deep winter (December, January, and February) Montmorency Falls is shrouded in snow, and the river and waterfall partially freeze. Services at the park are often closed (Visitor Center, bathrooms, restaurants, gift shop, cable cars). At this time of year, the park hosts snowshoers and ice climbers, but most of the other attractions are closed due to slippery, icy conditions. In the shoulder months (November, March, and April) attractions re-open as the weather permits.
MONTMORENCY FALLS TICKETS, HOURS, & SERVICES
Montmorency Falls Tickets: Entrance to the park is free for use of the panoramic circuit (boardwalks and stairs), hiking, picnic grounds, play gyms, biking trail, and snowshoeing. Tickets are required for parking and the services and attractions that charge a fee (cable car, zip line, via ferrata, scenic train, and ice climbing). In July and August, it is recommended you purchase tickets online ahead of the visit.
Montmorency Falls Opening Hours: Hours vary with the season. The park generally opens at 9 am and remains open until 5pm to 6:30pm in the evening. In the winter, park services are often closed (Visitor Center, bathrooms, restaurants, gift shop, cable cars), but the park lands are open for use. If no one is manning the parking booth, parking is free.
Montmorency Falls Services: At the bottom of the falls, guests will find the main Visitor Center with a ticket office, restaurant, bathrooms, and exhibits. At the top of the falls, Montmorency Manor has a restaurant, bathrooms, and giftshop. Other kiosks and mobile eateries are located about the property.
MONTMORENCY FALLS ACCESSIBILITY
For those in a wheelchair or with a mobility impairment, Montmorency Falls boardwalks at the bottom and top of the Falls allow great access the waterfall. The Visitor Center and cable cars are also accessible.
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