"The rugged tip of Gaspé Peninsula" Top 5 Page for this destination Gaspé by Bwana_Brown

Gaspé Travel Guide: 150 reviews and 411 photos

In late May, 2007 my wife and I set out from our home in Fredericton, New Brunswick on what turned out to be a 2000-km six-day driving trip around the rugged eastern tip of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. Due to various time constraints, we had made a two-day/one-night stab at the peninsula 9 years earlier and had enjoyed it so much that we vowed to return one day. Finally, after a long winter and then 7 straight days of rain or showers in mid-May, I saw an upcoming break in the weather, with sunshine and mid-20 C temperatures forecast, so away we went.

The first official European explorers to sight the Gaspé Peninsula were led by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534, although he was very surprised to find the local natives able to converse with him in a pidgin form of the Basque language from the Spanish/French Bay of Biscay shores in Europe! This is believed to have been the result of Basque visits there due to their annual fishing expeditions to the nearby Grand Banks off Newfoundland, beginning in the late-1400s. The rugged coast, mountainous and heavily forested interior combined with severe winter weather made the remote Gaspé area of Quebec a difficult place to settle, taking centuries for different waves of immigrants to gain a toe-hold. These included the French discoverers (~1650), a different batch of ‘Acadian’ French settlers evicted from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the British (1755), British Channel Islander fishermen after all of French North America was lost to English forces (1759), British ‘Loyalists’ fleeing north after the loss of the American colonies (1783) and finally potatoe famine refugees from Ireland and Scotland (~1840). Just the melting pot of these cultures alone makes the Gaspé Peninsula a very interesting place to experience!

Geographically, the Peninsula marks the end of the ancient Appalachian Mountain chain on continental North America, starting about 4500-km away in Alabama before it plunges into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The highest mountain in the rugged interior is Mont Jacques-Cartier at 1268-m (4160-ft) but there are several others nearing this height. The interior is still heavily forested and crisscrossed by deep river valleys, resulting in almost all habitation being located on the coastline, bounded by the St. Lawrence River to the north, Gulf of St. Lawrence at the eastern tip and Chaleur Bay to the south. As shown on the map in my ‘General Tip’, our route from New Brunswick took us along the south shore a short distance before we headed for the north coast along the Cascapdia River valley and through the central Chic Choc Mountain range. From there we headed east on the spectacularly rugged north coast, explored Forillon National Park and ‘Pierced’ Rock (Rocher Percé) at the eastern tip and then completed the circle on the ‘softer’ southern coastline. My thanks to both 'Sim1' and 'Jefie' for inspiring me onward after reading their pages on this geological wonder!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Amazingly rugged and unspoilt
  • Cons:Can be crowded in summer & subject to ocean weather variations!
  • In a nutshell:One of the world's wonders
  • Last visit to Gaspé: May 2007
  • Intro Updated Jun 24, 2007
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Reviews (51)

Comments (39)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    I've had a super drive with you this afternoon! I love the rocky coastline the most, but the whole area looks very scenic. Great to see the minke whale too :-)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    A very nice job of showing the lovely scenery and the fort information. It reads as though you all had a good time and took time to take in the setting.

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 4:17 AM

    really appreciate the geological elements in your tips, especially in an area I won't get the chance to visit.

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    Interesting information on this remote area. We used to have an early wind turbine experiment in the Columbia Gorge. It was taken down in the 1980s. Today it is replaced by more modern machines.

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    really enjoyed my three day tour of gaspe with you. great pictures, great commentary. email to follow.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2009 at 12:01 AM

    nice pic of poop...lol...excellent tip as well, Norman :)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    Quite a rugged coastline..but a beautiful drive, I would imagine.

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2008 at 5:41 PM

    Thanks for ALL of your wonderful tips here Glenn...What an amazingly beautiful spot to explore!

  • canuckmike's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    Happy Birthday, Great Gaspe Page.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2008 at 4:04 AM

    Hi great tips - interesting information in each one of them and excellent photos as usual to inspire!Just my kind of trip....!as for moose - I got to see my first live ones in Stockholm and brown bears and bison there too-all European versions tho!

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