Hiking and Nature Interpretation

Hiking in Les Îles de la Madeleine

Hiking is one of the most interesting ways to explore Les Îles. It is often still possible, in perfect safety, to take yourself away to the end of some lost road that leads to who knows where (one is never very far away from homes).

Local specialists offer a whole range of fascinating guided excursions. More and more services are now offered for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. See Tourism Operators below.

Choose your path among a great variety of trails

Grassy hills, forest paths, dunes and beaches that stretch forever.

On each island of the archipelago, there are trails available for strolls and walking tours. While it is possible to take long hikes on the trails, the back roads and the endless beaches which also offer great walks and gorgeous panoramas. Walking the islands is like discovering a quiet and charming universe.

There are three places worthy of mention, either for their natural habitat or for their typical Madelinot flora and fauna. Two sites are designated as reserves in Les Îles: Brion Island and East Point in Grosse-Île. Rocher aux Oiseaux (Bird Rock) became a bird sanctuary in 1919.

 

Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine
Hiking on Îles de la Madeleine

In a Madelinot's own words

"I've walked the full distance between Grosse-Île and Grande-Entrée, along the Pointe-de-L'Est beach. It' a WOW experience! It's a great hike which I will want to do again someday. I left Grosse-Île at 9a.m. and reached Old Harry's at 7p.m. What a wonderful day at the beach!"

- Carole Éloquin, Havre-Aubert

In a visitor's own words

"Hiking along the Magdalen Island coast, photographing the cliffs, inhaling the clear sea air, enjoying kilometer after kilometer of wild ocean beaches and dunes. Perfect!"

- Ray Dimock, Nova Scotia, Canada

Caution

CAUTION!

 

Never walk near the edges of cliffs and capes as they may be eroded and dangerous. Stay 3 meters away from the edge, particularly where you see this warning sign.

 

 

Sentiers entre Vents et Marées

Sentiers entre vents et marées hiking trails, Îles de la MadeleineDreaming about discovering the Islands in a new way? Then come along for a walk on the trails Sentiers entre Vents et Marées, either by yourself or with a group. This walking trail goes around the Islands through natural and groomed trails, as well as back roads and long stretches of beaches (where possible).

Thirteen septs lasting anywhere from 10 to 27 km shape this 225 km long secure and marked circuit, which promotes the protection of our environment. As for the level of difficulty, it ranges from intermediate to difficult.

The trails suggest some stops in various villages of the archipelago. With its outstanding landscapes, this long trek offers a combination of physical, cultural and spiritual aspects.

 

STEP 1 - Baie de Plaisance

FROM CAP-AUX-MEULES TO HAVRE-AUBERT Les Demoiselles, Havre-Aubert, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 27 km
Duration: 7 hours
Level: Intermediate (half the trail is on sand)

Walk along the Sentier du Littoral and smaller back roads to reach the magnificent beach of La Martinique, which lasts 13 km long. At the end of this costal stretch, discover Les Demoiselles, in Havre-Aubert - small hills offering an incredible viewpoint.

Download the file (French only)
(176 Ko)

 

STEP 2 - Bout du Banc

FROM HAVRE-AUBERT TO BASSINBout du Banc beach, Havre-Aubert

Distance: 26 km
Duration: 7 hours
Level: Difficult (half the trail is on loose sand and at an angle)

Walk near the historic site of La Grave (save some time to spend a couple of hours there during your stay). Discover the beach hosting the sandcastle contest before setting off on a long journey along the Sandy Hook. Here, you might feel like you are on the edge of the world... you will understand why once you reach the Bout du Banc

WARNING !
It is not recommended to venture towards the Bout du Banc alone.

Download the file (French only)
(244 Ko)

STEP 3 - Bassin

JOURNEY ACROSS THE ISLAND OF HAVRE-AUBERTAnse-à-la-Cabane lighthouse, Millerand, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 22 km
Duration: 6 hours
Level: Intermediate

Travel along various roads running between the sea and the hills - a journey offering beautiful viewpoints on colourful houses. The lighthouse and the harbour of L'Anse-à-la-Cabane both deserve to be seen. The last bit of this trail goes through a little woodlot sheltered from the wind, which is located on an uncrowded winding route.

WARNING !
Caution is required on smaller unpaved roads, as you may encounter a few motor vehicles.

Download the file (French only)
(243 Ko)

STEP 4 - La Martinique

FROM HAVRE-AUBERT TO L'ÉTANG-DU-NORDHavre-aux-Basques, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 22 km
Duration: 6 hours
Level: Intermediate

Half the trail runs along Route 199, which offers an incredible view on the bay of Havre aux Basques. You can take advantage of the 5 entry points to the beach of La Martinique and walk on sand whenever you feel like it. Once you reach the end of Havre aux Basques, you can come back on the road. At this point, follow a nice woody trail and smaller back roads to reach the Dune de l'Ouest. Don't miss out on the amazing sunsets at the Site de La Côte.

Download the file (French only)
(314 Ko)

STEP 5 - Les Caps

FROM L'ÉTANG-DU-NORD TO FATIMALes Caps, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 14 km
Duration: 4 hours
Level: Intermediate

After admiring the magnificent sculpture called Monument aux pêcheurs, at the Site de La Côte, walk along the shoreline in a trail made for bikers and walkers, which leads to the Cap Hérissé. A small detour allows you to see the lighthouse from up-close and admire the cliffs of Belle-Anse. Then, it is time to discover the village of Fatima. Since this step is rather short, follow the loop that goes around the township of Cap-Vert and L'Anse des Baleiniers.

WARNING !
Please don't go near the cliffs, as erosion did some sneaky damages.

Download the file (French only)
(285 Ko)

STEP 6 - Dune du Nord

FROM FATIMA TO POINTE-AUX-LOUPSDune-du-Nord Beach, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 19 km
Duration: 5 hours
Level: Difficult (most of the trail is on loose sand and at an angle)

The Grand Plaquier is worth the detour, as it offers great viewpoints on both Havre-aux-Maisons (just in front) and the bay of Cap-Vert. Halfway through the trail sits a stranded barge dated from 1988, part of which is covered with sand. Lastly, continue your journey towards Pointe-aux-Loups, while admiring the inner bay much loved by the community of kitesurfers.

WARNING !
If you feel like going for a swim, go ahead, but be extremely careful as the currents are really strong.

Download the file (French only)
(197 Ko)

STEP 7 - Grosse-Île

FROM POINTE-AUX-LOUPS TO GROSSE-ÎLE East Cape, Grosse-Île, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 20 km
Duration: 5 hours
Level: Intermediate

In Pointe-aux-Loups, take a moment to visit the Quai Nord and the Quai Sud. Further along, pass the Mines Seleine - the salt mine of Grosse-Île. In this English-speaking village, follow Rock Mountain Road, which offers great viewpoints that are well worth the detour. Visit the small Anglican Church of Holy Trinity, and have a look at the stained-glass windows in which Jesus put on his rubber boots, just like local fishermen do.

Download the file (French only)
(220 Ko)

STEP 8 - Old Harry

FROM GROSSE-ÎLE TO OLD HARRYEast Point National Wildlife Area, Grande-Échouerie, Grosse-Île, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 10 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level: Intermediate

If you feel like it, extend this brief step by visiting both the fishing harbour of Grosse-Île-Nord and this part of the English-speaking village. Then, reach the parking area of Les Marais salés and enter the National Wildlife Area via an incredible trail. At this point, enjoy a wonderful scenery made of wild vegetation and sand dunes. Exit at the parking area of L'Échouerie and, once in Old Harry, reach the great stretch of beach called La Grande Échouerie.

Télécharger le fichier
(246 Ko)

STEP 9 - Grande-Entrée

FROM OLD HARRY TO GRANDE-ENTRÉEFishing boats, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 16 km
Duration: 4 hours
Level: Intermediate (partly on the road)

After crossing the township of Old Harry, walk on the fabulous Île Boudreau. While strolling along the beach leading to the fishing harbour of Grande-Entrée (the main harbour of the Islands), discover beautiful sceneries. The Site de La Pointe offers various services in season. Lastly, ride with the wind along the cliffs until the nice little church of the village.

This trail will be enhanced over the years, and will eventually run along the cliffs as well as inland.

Download the file (French only)
(185 Ko)

STEP 10 - Dune-du-Sud

FROM GRANDE-ENTRÉE TO HAVRE-AUX-MAISONS Dunes, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 11 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level: Intermediate

There you are, at the end of the fishing hook that shapes the Islands. Leaving early in the morning with public transportation, hop off at the Chemin de La Cormorandière. From this point, a smaller road takes you to the Dune du Sud for several kilometres of walking on sand. Enjoy a great view on the bay of Pointe-aux-Loups and the long stretch of wild vegetation.

Download the file (French only)
(245 Ko)

 

STEP 11 - Havre-aux-Maisons

JOURNEY ACROSS THE ISLAND
Havre-aux-Maisons

Distance: 16 km
Duration: 4 hours
Level: Intermediate

Legend says a treasure is hidden on this island - will you be the one to find it? Walk along a series of smaller roads and enjoy wonderful viewpoints. Throughout the trail, feel free to visit the various businesses coming your way, which offer delicious local products. This trail ends near a pretty marina.

Download the file (French only)
(237 Ko)

 

STEP 12 - Île centrale

FROM HAVRE-AUX-MAISONS TO CAP-AUX-MEULESSt-Pierre de La Vernière Church, L'Étang-du-Nord, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 13 km
Duration: 4 hours
Level: Intermediate

Cross the bridge and get to the island of Cap-aux-Meules where smaller back roads run through various townships. Then, follow a woody road leading to the Butte du Vent - a summit offering a 360-degree viewpoint. Visit the incredible wooden church of La Vernière, which became a heritage building in 1992. While passing through the village of Cap-aux-Meules (the administrative and service centre of the archipelago), reach the Place des gens de mer, where it all began.

Download the file (French only)
(254 Ko)

STEP 13 - Île d'Entrée

JOURNEY ACROSS THE ISLANDHiking on Entry Island, Îles de la Madeleine

Distance: 6 km
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Intermediate

Home of an English-speaking community of Scottish and Irish descent, this island is the only inhabited land off the coast of the archipelago. Follow a trail that runs near a pretty Anglican church and a small museum, and climb up the Big Hill - the highest summit of the Islands culminating at 174 metres. Fall under the spell on the charming green pastures and the bare landscape of this one-of-a-kind island.

 

Download the file (French only)
(233 Ko)

 

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