A mere 15 minutes (7 miles) northeast from Quebec City sits Montmorency Falls,, a natural attraction that should not be missed. Montmorency Falls are the highest in the province of Quebec, standing even higher than the famous Niagara Falls. At 83 meters (272 feet) high, the falls are an impressive 98 feet higher than Niagara. However, the falls are narrower than those at Niagara.
Located at the mouth of the Montmorency River, the falls are opposite the western end of the Île d’Orléans, where Montmorency Falls drops over a cliff into the Saint Lawrence River. Montmorency Falls were given their name in 1613 by Samuel de Champlain in honor of his patron, Henri II, duc de Montmorency.
Regardless of the season you visit, the falls are a spectacular site year-round. During the summer the falls are irradiated and give off a yellow cast, a result of the high iron content of the riverbed. In winter the crashing water freezes, creating a mountain of white ice and making them a breathtaking site. This base of ice, referred to as the pain de sucre, or sugarloaf, attracts ice climbers from all over as it grows to heights as high as 98 feet!
There are a variety of locations to view the falls from. A footbridge spans the falls just over the point where the river crashes over the cliff. There are stairs that ascend the side of the hill, as well as a cable car that runs from the parking lot to a location above the falls. Above the falls you can stop in the Manoir Montmorency. This charming villa houses a restaurant, café, and interpretation center. Offering lunch, dinner, and Sunday buffet brunch, the restaurant is quite popular year-round. Reservations are suggested, especially if you wish to have a view of the falls. Contact (418) 663-3330 for reservations or more information.
Admission to the falls is free, though there is a charge for parking. The cable car operates from late April to late August, with a limited schedule for the rest of the year. There is also a charge for cable car rides; packages are available that include both parking and cable car tickets.
If you are in the mood for a leisurely afternoon, bring a picnic and view Montmorency Falls from the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. The park is accessible year-round and has incredible hiking paths and a suspended bridge over the falls. During the winter months, go snowshoeing through the park.
If visiting during the summer, try to drop by at night to see the illumination of the falls. Every June, come see hundreds of children from several countries share their cultures through dance and music at the Montmorency Historic Site.
Also, don’t miss the Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec International Fireworks Competition. This event takes place at Montmorency Falls Park two nights a week from late July to mid-August. Prepare to be awed when six countries face off in a heated competition for the top prize. The spectacular fireworks displays are set to music with the falls in the background and are sure to enthrall all ages!