An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne

Canyon Sainte-AnneAs I stared straight down at the lush green canyon and the thunderous waterfall gushing through it, I felt like I was about to cry. Not from the beauty of it, but from fright. That’s because I was just seconds away from stepping off a tiny wooden ledge and dangling over the sprawling crevasse 60 metres below, the only things keeping me suspended in the air being a wire line, thick ropes and carabiners.

I’d already watched Tim—one of my travel companions—strap himself onto the zipline stretching over Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne, and he let out a small cheer as he slid across the wire, quickly closing the 60-metre gap between the platform I now stood on and the one on the other side. He waved at me to join him, and frankly I had no other choice as there was already a line of people harnessed in behind me, snaking across the mountain ledge. But instead of being a champ about it, I started swearing. A lot. I was seriously supposed to just hop off this teeny platform and dangle over a waterfall?!

Canyon Sainte-Anne

Smiling…and crying inside at the same time

And that’s when Sebastien came to the rescue. A guide with Projet Vertical which runs the zipline operation at Canyon Sainte-Anne, he literally talked me off the ledge, patiently demonstrating the numerous safety features which make it physically impossible to become detached from the zipline, and encouraging me to hang above the platform in my harness to get used to the feeling while ensuring I wouldn’t slide away. Once I felt how secure the harness was and the encouragement of everyone around me, I figured it was about time to stop being so dramatic and instructed Sebastien to let me go before I changed my mind. And with that, I was off!

Canyon Sainte-Anne

Photo cred Linda Aksomitis

Canyon Sainte-AnneTurns out it wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it felt absolutely amazing, and not the least bit scary. I slid towards the centre of the wire with Sebastien still holding the other end of the rope controlling my speed, and he left me suspended straight above the waterfall. I felt as free as a bird, and let’s just say the view wasn’t half bad either.Canyon Sainte-Anne A crowd of onlookers had gathered on a suspension bridge behind me and cheered as Sebastien pulled me back towards the platform, and I whooped with delight. “You ready to go upside down?” he called out. Dude, I was born ready.

Channeling my inner Cirque du Soleil acrobat, I quickly leaned backwards in the harness and flipped so my feet were straight above my head, giggling as I felt Sebastien release the line, floating me back across the canyon to the other side where Tim waited. “Well that wasn’t so bad!” I exclaimed while unclipping the harness, sending it back across as I scampered off the platform to solid ground. “Think he’ll let us do it again?”

Canyon Sainte-Anne

Proof I went upside down!

Canyon Sainte-Anne

My pal Marybeth tackling the zipline

Lucky for us, the zipline isn’t the only way to test your limits at Canyon Sainte-Anne. Along with hiking and the Air Canyon ride which makes its debut in 2017, the via ferrata course is another fun way to explore the natural area, which was formed by the meeting of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Canadian Shield. Outdoor adventurers can harness up, then navigate their choice of three routes along the sheer rock faces that border the 74-metre waterfall—the ultimate way to explore.
Canyon Sainte-AnneOur (somewhat) fearless group decided to tackle the via ferrata as well, fastening ourselves to the steel cables affixed to the slopes and rocks along the course. Again it was completely safe, since instead of clipping/unclipping carabiners we maneuvered them over specially designed clips, thus never detaching from the thick wire.
Canyon Sainte-AnneSimilar to the zipline it was somewhat unnerving to start off, particularly as the first obstacle was to walk across what’s essentially a tightrope suspended over part of the canyon. But this time I felt fully in control as there was always something to latch onto, whether it was a rock, one of the metal footholds pounded into the rocks, or the cable itself.
Canyon Sainte-Anne

canada-quebec-city-canyon-sainte-anne-via-ferrata Once we made it across the crevasse and onto a cliffside that jutted out and around the waterfall, the rest of the course was actually quite straightforward. We would take turns scrambling across a rock face, sliding the carabiner over the clips along the way, then stop to soak in the spectacular scenery around us as the next person followed behind.
Canyon Sainte-Anne Canyon Sainte-Anne

Canyon Sainte-Anne

A pothole in the rocks

Our guide Oliver was happy to help those not feeling quite so sure-footed by coaching them through the course, and we marvelled as he hopped around the wet rocks without a harness. Mountain goats have nothing on that guy. I felt rather Spiderman-like myself while hopping between boulders, and made it through the course in about 45 minutes.
Canyon Sainte-Anne Canyon Sainte-AnneOur afternoon of adventure wrapped up with a scenic walk along the pathways and over one of the three suspension bridges, stopping often to stare in awe at the thundering waterfall gushing through the canyon. As if the view couldn’t possibly get any better, a rainbow appeared—the perfect reward after a day of pushing our limits in Canyon Sainte-Anne.
Canyon Sainte-Anne IF YOU GO:

When to go: Canyon Sainte-Anne is open for hiking, zipline and via ferrata from May through October, and also operates the via ferreta during winter months.

How to get there: The site is just a 30 minute drive from Quebec City towards Charlevoix, past the Montmorency Falls.

Fun fact: At 74 metres high, the waterfall at Canyon Sainte-Anne is nearly one-third taller than Niagara Falls.

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via-ferrata-in-quebecs-canyon-sainte-anne Globe Guide explored Canyon Sainte-Anne in collaboration with Quebec City Tourism. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.

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25 Responses

  1. I had a similar experience in Costa Rica ziplining the first time but once you go it was exhilerating!

  2. I’ve never been to Quebec but when I do I doubt that ziplining will be on my agenda. You do have some great photos from a perspective I’ll never see, but my fear would not allow me to participate. I love your photos with shadows

  3. Oh my my…what an adventure. Must have been an adrenalin rush. The zipline looks pretty high. I would be petrified, adventure is not my thing.

  4. Sounds like an epic adventure, I would love to head out there for the same! So glad you loved it in the end – I think it’s always unnerving to start off with for anything like that … making that first initial leap of faith is always the hardest part. Then it’s just pure thrill!

  5. Jo says:

    Hahaha ziplining at this fantastic locale with the waterfall is so dreamy. I would love to try it out. Only ziplined twice and both times, loved it!

  6. Susan says:

    WEE! That looks like so much fun! The scary part for me would be walking on the rope across the canyon!

  7. Mar Pages says:

    I would LOVE to do this! Ziplining has always looked like so much fun to me and now I want to walk on a rope as well. Bookmarked!

  8. Nathan says:

    Great pics! This seems like such a fun way to spend a day!

  9. Rob says:

    Looks fun, my son and I love zip lines . I would like to do the via ferrata but I can understand a little trepidation with the height. I did not know that Canyon Sainte-Anne is only 30 minutes from Quebec City, next time we are there we will have to make a day trip of it.

  10. This sounds so awesome! I love ziplining and do it every chance I get. You look great in the photos btw, you don’t look scared at all!

  11. Zipline is my favorite and photos show how much fun can it be? And I have heard about Canyon Sainte-Anne before because of a work related event. Makes me feel like visiting Quebec ASAP.

  12. Jenny says:

    Looks like an incredible experience! I want to go there! I have done some canyoning and zip lining on separate occasions, but combining the activities looks even better 🙂

  1. September 19, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne […]

  2. September 19, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne SHARE THE PINSPIRATION! Globe Guide travelled to Montreal as a guest of Tourisme Quebec. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles. […]

  3. October 5, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne – Tamara Elliot […]

  4. October 5, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne – Tamara Elliot […]

  5. October 5, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne – Tamara Elliot […]

  6. October 23, 2016

    […] An adventurous afternoon at Quebec’s Canyon Sainte-Anne – Tamara Elliot […]

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