Kayak Québec’s Saguenay Fjord
Take a tour of Québec’s old world charm embraced in glacial valleys and fjords on our Québec Kayaking and Camping Tour. This trip through Québec merges cultural exploration with an exhilarating journey through the ruggedly stunning Saguenay Fjord. While you begin and end your journey in the invitingly francophone Québec City, you spend the majority of the trip exploring the wilds that unfurl out from urban town.
Ours is the only zodiac-supported kayak trip through the Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay—a trip that fully encircles you in the breathtaking natural world that is both serene and stirring. Along with our excellent local Québec guide and our accompanying support zodiac, we paddle 6-10 miles a day through rugged canyons, tranquil bays, and isolated islands. We camp in style for four evenings, relax in a remote chalet for a night, and bookend the trip with two nights in picturesque hotels on this inspiring adventure down the Norway-like fjord. The Saguenay Fjord offers nature at its grandest, and our kayaking tour doesn’t just dip your toe in its waters—it immerses you in them.
Looming granite cliffs and banks blanketed in conifers flank the fjord once carved through the valley by roving glaciers. Wolves, black bears, beaver, and moose roam off the shore, while belugas, minke whales, and seals navigate the dark, cold waters. Kayaks glide quietly down the river, with their occupants experiencing it all.
ROW Sea Kayak Adventures offers this enlightening exploration of the Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, designed to show you the most magnificent views, the most compelling river bends, and the most engagement with whales the region has to offer. It’s a trip that not only immerses you in nature, but culture—a blend of legend and legacies, wildlife and wilderness.
Our tour begins in Québec City. While Québec is the fount of French culture in North America, Québec City is its crown jewel. Steeped in French heritage and the long-standing roots of indigenous cultures, Québec City is a picturesque city worth of its UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. From there, we head to Saguenay, which serves as our launch point for our kayaking tour of the Saguenay Fjord. On our maritime voyage, we paddle from west to east, camping in idyllic locations where the history of the fur trade looms as large as the mountains. Our kayak tour concludes in Tadoussac, an indigenous village turned fur-trading hub long ago. Tadoussac not only looks over the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, it has narrated the confluence of indigenous and European cultures over the course of hundreds of years.
We believe that sustainable tourism should be a benefit of the areas we visit, and we are pleased that our Québec kayak trip along the shores of the Saguenay Fjord has a positive and significant economic impact to the local area. We stay in locally-owned hotels, eat in local restaurants, hire local guides, and purchase all of our trip provisions and food locally. You also have many opportunities to engage with the locals. This exclusive sea kayak tour offers incredible local cuisine and culture as well as adventure filled with wilderness and wildlife.
Images & Videos
We include a day 0 as an optional day for guests to travel to Québec City in order to ensure that you are ready to begin your Canadian adventure on Day 1 of this itinerary.
Note Below is our camping-based kayaking tour. We have two superb itineraries in Québec. One is the camping-based kayaking tour (below) and the other is a lodge-based kayaking tour. Both tours are 8 Day Tours exploring the beauty of the Saguenay Fjord. Please contact us for information on either of these itineraries.
Salut Québec City! Journey to the Saguenay
Our journey takes off from Québec City, one of Canada’s most stunning, historical cities that sits on top the promontory Cap Diamant and overlooks the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Grey-stone fortifications circling the city, mansard roofs capping elegant houses, and outdoor bistros fanning out upon cobbled streets will greet you upon your arrival. It’s a vestige of old Europe in the New World.
Enjoy some lunch on your own in the francophone city before we meet at noon at the Tour hotel for a brief introduction and orientation. After, we begin our two-hour drive north through the Charlevoix region toward Saguenay, during which we travel through Réserve faunique des Laurentides (Laurentides Wildlife Reserve) and its maze of mountains, rivers, lakes, and valleys.
Upon arrival in Saguenay, we check into Hôtel Chicoutimi, located in the heart of the downtown area and overlooking the Fjord du Saguenay. Once you’ve settled in, we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city’s historic sites and learning about the development of the fur trade as well as the region’s lumber and agricultural pursuits. As night settles, we enjoy a dinner together featuring local ingredients and dishes.
Kayak Ste-Rose du Nord to Baie de la Trinité
We breakfast early at Hôtel Chicoutimi before beginning our day exploring the Fjord du Saguenay. Formed in the last Ice Age, the Saguenay Fjord is the southernmost fjord in the northern hemisphere as well as the longest in the world. The fjord carves through the Canadian Shield before joining with the St. Lawrence River, and with its rocky outcrops and incredible wildlife, it’s one of the region’s most stunning sights.
We take a 40-minute ride to our launch point in the village of Ste-Rose du Nord, sitting on the northern shores of the fjord. Upon arrival at the pier, our guides provide an orientation in general kayaking safety rules and paddling techniques. Once you’re settled in your kayak, we set off on the day’s expedition through the fjord and its immense rock faces. While cliffs tower up from the dark rivière—rising up to 500m high in places—the fjord’s walls plummet down to a depth of 270m and rise to around 20m throughout its meanderings.
As we paddle the 9 miles of the route, we see a wide range of the fjord’s vegetation, marine life, and ecosystems. We paddle for about one hour before stopping for a stretch to enjoy some lunch and explore the shoreline. Then, we continue on our way deeper into the fjord to the Baie de la Trinité, which lies at the Gulf of St. Lawrence at the outlet of the Rivière de la Trinité.
Before dinner, stretch your legs after a long day of kayaking with a hike or a walk along the beach. Relax with a book or settle in to take in the views. Then dinner is served amongst stunning scenery with the musical accompaniment of the river.
Paddling Distance: 9 miles
Kayak Baie de la Trinité to Anse du Portage
We breakfast early in the crisp morning air before continuing on our trek down the fjord. As we paddle through the estuary, you may be greeted by seals sunbathing on warm rock faces and peregrines nest in the cliffs. In fact, our paddle today takes us through the highest reaches of the fjord gouged by the force of glaciers long ago. Sheer cliffs reaching 300-450m high flank the river, rugged and blanketed in trees.
We stop for lunch underneath the fjord’s highest point: Cape Eternity. With its triple steps leading up from the river, it’s an immense promontory of granite and gneiss sitting across from the equally impressive Cape Trinity. We relax underneath the soaring bluffs and explore the shore before we settle into our kayaks once more. We continue our paddle to our campsite for the evening, Anse du Portage, which lies across from l’Anse-St-Jean. Explore and relax before we enjoy another delicious dinner under expansive skies. As night falls, sit by a campfire and watch the play of light on the river and the shifting shadows of the mountains standing sentinel over l’Anse-St-Jean.
Paddling Distance: 12 miles
Kayak Anse du Portage to Anse au Cheval
We wake with the sun this morning and have a hearty breakfast before setting afloat once more. As we continue our paddle down the fjord, our guides enlighten us with stories of the islands and the legends that live amongst them. The fjord begins to unfurl and with luck we can see seals, otters, and seabirds along the journey before we stop at Île Saint Louis for lunch.
After lunch, we begin our kayak into Baie-Ste-Marguerite, where beluga whales congregate in the nutrient rich, shallow waters to feed as the tide comes in. We paddle around the bay, watching these white whales bobbing toward the shore, before making our way to Anse au Cheval. This old lighthouse settlement looks out on the rocky shoals and provides an excellent outlook for beluga watching. We explore the area and learn more about its unique vegetation and history from our guide before sitting down for dinner.
Paddling Distance: 12 miles
Kayak Anse au Cheval to Anse Ste-Étienne
We breakfast and break camp before hopping into our kayaks once again to paddle our way to Anse Ste- Étienne. As your kayak skims along the water, watch for specks of white cresting the water like white caps as belugas swim the fjord. Whalers long ago dubbed belugas the “canaries of the sea” for their non-stop whistles, clicks, and squeaks that allow them to communicate as well as navigate the dark waters. As you paddle, listen to the cacophony of calls resound off the canyon walls, and if you’re lucky you can hear the uncanny similarities between our own human speech and theirs.
We stop for lunch on the sweeping sands of the Ste- Étienne beach, which lies just off of a well-known beluga hangout. Watch belugas off the shoreline and enjoy some leisure time upon the sand before we continuing our paddle. We explore the extensive bay throughout the afternoon, giving us plenty of time to see more belugas in their natural playground and enjoy the scenery. As evening sets, we leave the water and head into the historical sawmill village of Ste- Étienne, where we enjoy some dinner and sleep in the understated elegance of a chalet.
Paddling Distance: 7 miles
Kayak Anse Ste-Étienne to Passe à Pierre
We breakfast in the quiet of sunrise before climbing into our kayaks for a paddle on calm morning waters. As we make our way toward Passe à Pierre, we follow the beluga’s migration route in hopes of tracking their progress. Minke whales are also known to enjoy those waters, and so we might have some variety in our whale companions for the day.
Our paddle takes us to the rocky peninsula of Passe à Pierre, and we rest with some lunch at the very end of the cape to watch belugas as they pass by. After, take some time to explore the rocky outcroppings and the surrounding trails hedged by towering trees. Or, if you want to simply enjoy some sun and whale calls, remain on the bluff and revel in the maritime panorama.
As night falls, we enjoy dinner at our campsite just off the beach. It’s our final night on the fjord, so sit back and soak in the quiet only found in nature.
Paddling Distance: 6 miles
Kayak Passe à Pierre to Tadoussac
It’s our last morning on the fjord, and we rise with the sun and enjoy a filling and fresh breakfast before setting off on our final stretch of the river. We follow the flow toward the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, where the towering crags soften into two rounded, sandy hills that edge the village of Tadoussac. We lunch outside of Tadoussac and watch for the whales Tadoussac is known for. While belugas are the only permanent residents, minke whales, humpback whales, and blue whales are also known visitors.
After lunch, we conclude our journey and head into the village of Tadoussac. This historical town has been inhabited by ancient civilizations and visited by many prominent explorers including Cartier, Chauvin, and Champlain. We spend our afternoon exploring the town and its historical sites such as the Old Chapel, the oldest wooden church in Canada as well as America.
For our final evening together, we enjoy the dining and housing of La Galouïne, located in the heart of the village. It’s an evening of good food, conversation, and culture before tomorrow’s return journey.
Paddling Distance: 6 miles
Return to Québec City
We sit down for a final breakfast together before heading out for the return trip to Québec City and your next travels. We should arrive in Québec City around noon. Bonne Route!
Note on Itinerary: Approximate paddling distances listed and can vary depending on group size and weather. We will do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above. However, the itinerary may change due to reasons beyond our control such as wind, waves or inclement weather. Please Note that although there is a very good chance we'll see Belugas throughout the week, the frequency, proximity, and quality of sightings will ultimately be determined by the Belugas' travel patterns.
Dates & Rates
- 4-9 guests: $3095
- 10-12 guests: $2595
Single Supplement: If you are a solo traveler and wish to have your own hotel room for applicable nights on this tour (or if we are unable to pair you up with another solo traveler), an additional single supplement of $150 USD is required. Note: 3 of 7 nights on this tour are in hotels or chalets, with the other 4 nights camping.
For an alternative options with out camping please see our Quebec Lodge-to-Lodge Kayaking Trip
- Services of our talented Adventure Consultants and Professional Guides
- All meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Camping accommodations and equipment as indicated
- Ttransportation while on tour
- Two Hotel nights as indicated on itinerary.
- Airfare to and from Quebec
- Alcoholic beverages
- Items of a personal nature
TIERED PRICING EXPLAINED: Our trips are budgeted for full or near full sign-ups which enables us to offer trips at the lowest possible price. Because of numerous fixed costs, it is more expensive to operate a trip for a small group. Therefore, on some of our trips, in order to avoid having to cancel a trip, we have a “tier-pricing” system to avoid canceling a trip with a low number of sign ups. We have found that most people also prefer this alternative to having a trip cancelled. Thus, you will note on our trip prices there may be different price for 6-8 people versus 9-10, versus 11-12, etc.
We may initially invoice you at the higher tier price, and refund the difference depending on the final group size. Trip costs quoted are based on foreign exchange rates current at the time of this printing. We reserve the right to raise the trip fee if there are exceptional cost increases beyond our control.
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
FAQ & More
- 7 nights’ accommodation
- Most meals as described in itinerary
- Activities as described in the itinerary
- Access to the park
- Professional bilingual guides
- Luggage transportation
- Kayak equipment including fiberglass kayaks, paddles, PFD’s Personal expenses and gratuities are not included.
Whales are present year round, but are in the highest concentrations near the end of the summer and early Autumn. We offer this trip at times that are best for viewing whales, as well as avoiding the peak tourism season.
Of course! Beginners are welcome on this trip. Your guides will give you an introduction to paddling and you’ll have plenty of chance to practice. We take plenty of paddle breaks to observe the biodiversity and learn about the area from our knowledgeable guide. That said, we do recommend that you get some paddling in before your trip as kayaking uses muscles you may not know you have. Getting a little experience and building some strength will help your enjoyment of the trip.
At least one hike will take place along the Fjord itself, which means that it entails quite a bit of elevation change (200m ascent/descent). The trails are well-groomed with clear paths, but it can be slippery and have steep portions. We do recommend physical preparation to make the most out of your outdoor experience.
Hiking is not mandatory and there will be alternative activities for those who choose to skip the hikes. (Guests will not need to hike to reach their camping spots)
Due to the greater stability of tandem kayaks and the cold water temperatures in the Fjord, we only offer double kayaks on this trip.
An English-speaking guide will accompany you throughout the trip in its entirety, so you will not need to learn French prior to your trip. However, you may pick up a couple of phrases while you’re there!
Quebec’s cuisine can be described as a French and Irish fusion. Some of the most notable dishes in-clude tourtieres (meat pies), baked beans, poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravy), and maple desserts. The Saguenay Lake-Saint Jean region is famous for its cheese, wine, and salmon.
Please indicate any allergies, dietary requirements, or medical conditions of which you’d like us to be aware on your trip application forms. We can accommodate many dietary needs on this trip.
We will provide a complete packing list for your trip. We suggest you bring, synthetic clothing for kayaking, windproof and waterproof clothing, and evening attire for meals in town and lounging at the inns. Don’t forget a camera, water bottle, and head-lamp, as well!
There are no requirements for vaccinations in Canada.
We do not arrange international air travel but we do have a great air travel specialist we refer you to if you’d like.
There are a lot of arrangements to be made for a custom trip like this adventure and so it is helpful with our planning if you book three to eight months in advance. However, if you can’t plan that far ahead, then it’s usually not a problem to book up to about a month or two in advance. If you find yourself looking for last minute space just call us and check!
Yes, we recommend the following books for your upcoming tour:
- Jacques Cartier: Exploring the St. Lawrence River by Jennifer Lackey
- Attack on Montreal : Battles of the War of 1812 by Pierre Berton
- The St. Lawrence River: History, Highway and Habitat by Janice Hamilton
- Exploring Old Quebec: Walking Tours of the Historic City by Maude Bonenfant
All currency while on the trip is in Canadian dollars.
Be sure to notify your bank(s) of the dates of your travel and your destinations, so their fraud programs won’t freeze your account when a foreign transaction is made. Credit cards are widely accepted in Quebec City.
Avoid carrying a lot of cash.
Do not take your cash out in public (mostly in tourist areas).
In case you need to carry a lot of cash, take it in different pockets or share pockets with your friends.
If you need to make a payment of a high amount, avoid doing so in cash, use credit cards or traveler's checks. Communication Cell Phones- Contact your service provider for the best options for taking your cell phone overseas.
Guidelines for Gratuities:
Tipping is a very personal matter and the decision to tip and how much to give is entirely yours. The following guidelines should however be of help: -It is customary to tip service people such as waiters, laundry washers, bartenders, hotel help and anyone who goes out of their way to help (usually US $1 each).
In Québec, tipping is appropriate etiquette in restaurants, bars, taxis and hair salons. The amount, which is not included in the bill, generally represents 10% to 15% of the total bill before taxes. For quick tip calculations, Québecers normally add up both taxes (GST and QST), the sum of which equals approximately 13%.
When traveling with the group, all tips at meals that are part of the itinerary are covered as well as any tips for taxi or bus drivers.
For guides we recommend between $13 - $18 per person per day. Cash Machines or ATM's- There are plenty of cash machines around the city. Simply look for the companies’ logos on bank windows and in cash machine booths. Money Exchange- US dollars are sometimes accepted in tourist areas, but the rate of exchange will likely be poor. If you plan to make purchases in cash, we recommend exchanging money at a bank.
General Travel Information:
Useful Numbers: Sea Kayak Adventures office number: 1.800.616.1943. In case of emergency, please call Rachel at 208.651.6219, or Andy, at 541-848-8850.
Canada Country Code: +1 / Quebec City Code: 418
Fax: Faxes can be sent from telecommunications offices located throughout the city. Also, most hotels provide fax services.
Internet: Public Internet access is available in many places. Internet Cafés are increasingly common, and many hotels have internet access as well.
Customs: It is not permitted to enter the country with plants, vegetables, fruits and perishable food. Past felony convictions may disqualify individuals from entry into foreign countries. Guests are advised that a D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) or D.U.I. (Driving Under the Influence) may be considered a felony in other countries, including Canada. It is the client’s sole responsibility to ensure the immigration eligibility of all traveling party members for any foreign countries included in this itinerary. In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State recommend that U.S. travelers leaving the country research the entry documents required for their destination country prior to departure. The entrance requirements for specific countries can be found at travel.state.gov.
Public Restrooms: If you are walking around the city when nature calls, you can go to any bar or restaurant.
Below are a few recommendations of things to do in Quebec City before or after your kayaking tour
The Airport has great free maps of the city at the information desk, which you will pass on your way out of customs and on the way to the taxi stand. Grab a few of these as they are very helpful in navigation on your own should you choose to walk.
Jazz and Hotel:
If Jazz is top on your list you might look at The Hotel Clarendon as a great spot to stop for a drink and listen to jazz, or as a hotel to spend your extra nights at. It is centrally located and within close walking distance of everything in Vieux-Quebec. It is rumored to have one of the best Jazz bars of the area in the lobby. http://www.hotelclarendon.com/jazz-bar-en.html
Vieux-Quebec or Old Quebec is a simply stunning sector of the City and one that you can spend at least a day exploring. It's comprised of an upper and lower section and is designated as a UNESCO heritage site. You can take guided tours of this part of the city or simply explore it on your own.
“Don’t Miss” in Vieux-Quebec:
Visit Château Frontenac while in Old Quebec
Visit or tour the Plains of Abraham
Grab some fresh squeezed lemonade or gelato from the many street vendors. Tons of wonderful restaurants are scattered through this area as well, so be sure to plan on a few meals down here!
Open Air Market: (Where Saint Paul and Quai Saint Andre streets meet along the docks in the harbor)
This is a fabulous open air market that is bustling on the weekends hosting many local vendors and artisans from around the area. It's a great place to pick up some souvenirs, sample the local food, or just take in the sites and sounds of Quebec City!
Musee de la Civilisation:
A great museum to check out while in Quebec City is Musee de la Civilization. You can check out their schedule, ticket fees, etc here
This is a walking terrace in front of Chateau Frontenac where you often find street performers sharing their talent with spectators passing by. The terrace overlooks the Saint Lawrence river with gorgeous views (especially at night).
Please let us know if you have any questions, we are happy to help!
Hotels in Quebec City:
If you are arriving in Quebec City prior to (or staying beyond) our tour dates, we recommend staying at the Hotel Le Concorde. This is our Quebec City tour hotel for your trip. It is conveniently located for meeting the group, as well as extending your stay on either side of our tour. However, there are many hotel options in Quebec, some of which are located closer to Old Quebec and many of the main tourist attractions. You may elect to stay somewhere closer to Old Quebec if you are planning to extend your stay before or after the tour. Please note: hotels before and after your tour begins are not included in your trip cost and will need to be arranged on your own.
Our tour costs are based on double occupancy on any included hotel nights. Solo travelers who would like their own single hotel room can pay a single supplement (see "Dates & Rates" above for the single supplement price for this tour), or can be matched up with another solo traveler of the same gender if one is available and willing to share. If we are unable to pair you with another solo traveler, we must apply the single supplement charge to cover our hotel costs. Solo travelers will always have their own tent during the camping portion of this tour, at no additional cost.
We typically paddle in the morning and afternoon each day, both sessions range from 2- 3 hours of paddle time. Distance and paddle times always depends on the speed of the group. Plan to paddle between 5-6 hours a day on kayaking days.
We carry almost all gear in the zodiac. You will only keep a small bag with you in the kayak. We will transport water and lunches in the kayaks, too.
We almost always see bélugas but we practice whale watching regulations and do not approach them closely, unless they come up to us. We often have a group of belugas come close while kayaking. In addition, we use the Zodiac boat on the final days of the tour for more extensive whale watching tour in the saint-Lawrence river.