Saguenay Fjord - The Southernmost Fjord in North America

Saguenay Fjord is one of my favourite places in Canada. Not only is it the southernmost fjord in North America, but also it's one of th...

Saguenay Fjord is one of my favourite places in Canada. Not only is it the southernmost fjord in North America, but also it's one of the most beautiful ones with the very diverse flora and fauna. It's fairy accessible, too, so don't miss it out while in the area: only 2.5 h drive from Quebec City along the northern bank of the magnificent Saint Lawrence River will take you there.

Most of the 103 km- / 64 miles-long fjord lies within the boundaries of Saguenay Fjord National Park. It's possible to almost make a circle drive around it: there is a bridge at its northern end and a free ferry at its estuary. 
Unlike a river bed or a bay, a fjord is a result of a fault in the Earth crust which has been carved by a glacier. Fjords usually have steep cliffs. 
Fjord Saguenay is 2 to 4 km / 1.2 - 2.5 m wide and up to 270 m / 886 ft deep. It's one of the 38 other fjords on Earth that is longer than 100 km / 62 miles.
Pebble rocks remain a silent witness of a glacier erosion.
The best way to experience the fjord is to camp at one of the park's two campgrounds. We stayed at the one called Baie-Sainte-Marguerite. 
But there is another campground - Baie-Éternité.
One of the park's biggest draws is the beluga watching. Yes, you heard it right - beluga, a whale. 
A 3 km / 1.8 mile trail from the visitor centre takes you through a magical forest to the viewing platform. This trail is a part of the Sentier Le Fjord, a 41 km / 25 mile trail that runs along the eastern bank of the fjord.
Blooming moss. Almost like a flower.
But it's not a circus or a zoo - beluga whales come only when they feel a need, and apparently they didn't feel like it was the right time for them to come on that day.
Saguenay River which filled the fjord flows into the Saint Lawrence River which, in turn, flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh water which makes only 7% of the total volume sits on top of the salt water which comes with tides from the ocean and penetrates into both rivers for hundreds of miles. 
Although the water in Saguenay Fjord is not as salty as it is in the ocean, it's still salty enough for beluga whales to come and breed here. 
A nice cozy Tadoussac village sits at the Saguenay River estuary.
There is short 1 km / 0.6 mile trail which offers great views of the estuary. 
There is a chance to spot a whale from here, however most people take a boat tour to increase their chances to see one. In fact, Tadoussac is one of the best places to watch whales in the whole country!
 But if not whales, you can definitely find some sea flora and fauna in tide pools.
Baie-Éternité, which is located across the fjord from Baie-Sainte-Marguerite where we camped, is another popular destination. It offers excellent hiking experience with the great scenery. Via Ferrata and the trail to the statue of Our Lady of Saguenay (Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay) are both located here.
Also, the steepest cliffs and the deepest point are located at Baie-Éternité, so make sure you set aside some time to visit it.

When to go
Park is officially open late May to mid-October, there are plenty of activities but in the winter, too: backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and wildlife watching.


Baie-Éternité Sector (Rivière-Éternité)
From Québec City:
By way of the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve, take Route 175. At the exit of the reserve, take Route 170 E towards Ville de la Baie until you reach Rivière-Éternité village.

From Charlevoix:
Take Route 138 E of Québec to St-Siméon; from there, Route 170 W towards Chicoutimi. The park entrance is situated in Rivière-Éternité village. Follow road signs.

Baie-Sainte-Marguerite Sector (Sacré-Cœur)
From Québec City:
Take Route 175 N towards Saguenay. Drive through Réserve Faunique des Laurentides to Chicoutimi. Cross Dubuc bridge to reach the northern sector anf follow direction for Route 172 E towards Tadoussac to the park, Baie Sainte-Marguerite sector.

From Charlevoix:
Continue on 138 to Fjord du Saguenay. Take the ferry to Tadoussac. On the north shore of the fjord, take 172 (Route de Tadoussac) towards Chicoutimi to the park, Baie Sainte-Marguerite sector.

* - from the official website.

Additional Information
For additional information visit Saguenay Fjord National Park's official website.

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