Thursday, September 7, 2023

Montmorency Falls is a must-see when in Quebec

Montmorency Falls near Quebec City, Canada
(with suspension bridge visible over the top)

A highlight of our recent stay in Quebec, Canada was a visit to Montmorency Falls. This spectacular waterfall is more than 2700 feet tall. While crashing water dominates the landscape of Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, there are also historic and geologic features for those who wish to dig a bit deeper into its importance.

A good view of the boardwalk and stairs

Upon arrival we learned there are different ways to view the base of the Falls. Passing over the river, the old railway crossing has been replaced by a long, wide footbridge providing pedestrian access and series of platforms on various levels. This is the shortest route to beautiful views.

On the east side of the basin is a concrete walkway that has been refurbished, widened, and raised, with a mineral garden lining the walkway.

On the west side, a new wooden trail offers a completely different feel, and this is the path we took to get closer to the waterfall. It takes about 15 minutes to walk on the trail, depending on how often you stop to take pictures and admire the Falls from each new angle.

Long staircase from the top to the bottom of the Falls.

Arriving at the base, we could see the suspension bridge high over the waterfall, which seemed to be calling our names. We marveled at the panoramic staircase on the side of a cliff, with its 487 steps leading from a concrete promontory at the bottom to great views at the top. Although there are specialized occasions that people are allowed in the water at the base of the Falls, we observed young folks apparently on some type of excursion seemingly having a good time in the chilly water.

Larry by the window of cable car
Originally expecting the wooden trail to be our primary focal point, after trekking back to the Visitor Center, we decided to take the cable car up to the top (where the suspension bridge is) for even better looks at the waterfall. This was a bit risky as we were on a tour with limited time and knew we’d have to rush to make it back in time.

Stay at the hotel, and your walk to
the bridge is much shorter.
By the time we bought tickets for $15, waited for the cable car to fill, then took the short ride up, and disembarked at the Manoir Montmorency (an English style country inn), we truly had to push ourselves. But it was worth it!

Starting from the Inn, there’s a fairly long boardwalk along the cliff leading to the suspension bridge. On the way, I stopped briefly at La Baronne Observation Deck to admire the panoramic scenery. 

Quite a view for zip liners as water
flows under the bridge.

Because of our limited time, we skipped other magnificent lookout points. At the Suspension Bridge above the Falls, we watched the water plunge explosively into the St. Lawrence River. We could hear and feel the roar of the water as it tumbled over the cliff.  And it was fun to watch adventurous zip liners racing across the river. What a memorable experience!

Watching the water rush over the cliff at the 
top of Montmorency Falls.

With more time we would have read about historical and geological characteristics of the surrounding territory to gain a greater understanding of this important feature. As it was, we hurried back to the downward cable car and were only slightly late to meet our waiting group. Although we could have spent an hour or two on that excursion, I’m still glad we took a chance and did what we could.

 Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier


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