Trail length: this portion, from L’Anse-aux-Amérindiens to Cap-Gaspé, 8km return.
Former road (small gravel) now for hiking or cycling, with another hiking path weaving up and down.
Gaspé probably derives its name from the local native Mi’kmaq tribe’s word gespeg, meaning Land’s End. It is a serenely beautiful experience to stand at the lookout on the tip of Cap-Gaspé trail in Forillon National Park’s South Sector, with nothing but sea in front of you all the way to the horizon. This is the Eastern limit of the National Park but also the very end of the International Appalachian Trail, which unfurls for over 3000 km.
The easiest way to reach the Cap-Gaspé lighthouse is to drive into the South Sector of the park, and continue all the way along the road until you can’t drive anymore. That little loop where you can park your car is called l’Anse-aux-Amérindiens.
As with any of the Forillon National Park hiking trails, there is a high likelihood of observing wildlife, birds, and marine animals, so bring your binoculars.
Above you in the steep woods and brushes above the trail, you can at times see moose and bears. On the trail there are sometimes porcupines. Below the trail, keep a sharp eye out for for more animals in the brush between you and the shore. And don’t forget to look farther out to see whales feeding in the bay.
It’s very common to see the spouts of humpback, fin, or the fleeting black fin of the minke whale. One of my favourite memories is standing on this trail early one quiet summer day, listing to the steady wet phoomp sound of a minke whale blow, as it swam only a few tens of metres from the shore. Magic!
There is also a large nearby colony of seals, which you can kayak or snorkle near. You’ll easily spot their shiny bald heads bobbing in the water near the shore.
The hike or cycle to the top of the Cap-Gaspé trail is very well maintained and is mostly easy (especially if you begin at l’Anse-aux-Amérindiens, which is the usual starting point), but it has a somewhat strenuous bit at the very end due to a steep incline. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views, and a chance to cool down by exploring the beautiful lighthouse perched at the top. A winding walkway leads down the other side of the escarpment before doubling back and ending up at a lookout, which is the most easterly point of the Gaspésian peninsula. More information on this trail can be found here (look at the Les Graves trail options).
We hope you have the opportunity to visit Forillon National Park’s South Sector. If you do, definitely hike this trail, and enjoy the serene beauty of “Land’s End”.