Was This Photo Taken In Québec?
Upon seeing the above photo, you might ask yourself why it’s on a hiking Québec page. I understand. I asked myself if I hadn’t somehow been transported elsewhere when I exited the forest and came upon this little treasure. Had the trees/large shrubs been from a warmer climate, the beach could have passed for a tropical haven.
Unsigned by the road and with no designated parking, the beach is only accessible if one is familiar with where to find the tiny trail. It almost seemed like the locals were trying to keep it to themselves.
Route des Zingues
The trail of Route des Zingues lies in the municipality of Duhamel, in the Outaouais region of Québec. The beach is the section of shoreline shown by the black arrow and ‘aire de pique-nique’, mid lower left. The parking lot is a tad further up from the beach trail, and it only holds about five cars.
The leader had planned to leave one car there, and then take the rest and leave them at P7, top left, so we wouldn’t have to double back. But the road was so rough and rocky, she decided to leave them at P5, mid top on map. Once there, we would continue past the vehicles to Mont Weskarini and return to P5.
Proposed mileage: 16 km.
Québec Hiking At Its Best
We started out at Lac Gagnon, climbed, and ended up above it with the beach off to the left. Photo below is from viewpoint at Mont Kajakokanak.
This trail wasn’t particularly difficult. Or maybe it was that the scenery consistently delighted so the difficulty of the terrain went unnoticed?
Then we came back down and followed the small circle of a lake/pond, a very peaceful section of the walk.
Half an hour later, we were by the long thin lake in the middle. Perfection was captured on the glass-like surface of the water.
Coral-like lichen along the trail below.
Then we reached The Rock of Sisyphus, a man who was punished by the Gods for his disobedience by being forced to continually push the rock these two stand on, up the hill, only to have it roll back down each time.
Once past this summit, the trail was typical Québecois hiking: forest, soft cushioning underfoot, many exposed roots and undulating terrain.
Past P5 (I left my bag at the vehicle), the same sort of terrain continued. Good thing our leader had GPS though. We were about to give up on the summit and return to the vehicles when she told us the access was 500 m away.
The views of Lac Gagnon were 180 degrees with our familiar beach to the far left and another one at the far right of the lake. Photo above is of a happy driver of a speedboat on the pristine water.
A Feast For The Hungry
All of us were tired, hungry and very happy to find a restaurant close by. Apparently, it was poutine night as 11 of our 14 hikers ordered it. I was expecting Italian sausages when I ordered mine. It was the last poutine to arrive and came with sliced hot dogs.
For those unfamiliar with poutine, it is à Québec delicacy made from French fries, local cheese and beef gravy. Multiple toppings are added to this base. In Montréal, a great place to try it is the restaurant La Banquise.
Despite the later comment of, “Between you and me, that was really gross,” by one of the hikers, no one complained and our plates were empty in minutes.
The Route des Zingues is one of Quebec’s most beautiful hiking trails. With the available parking lots, the length of the hike is easily adjusted, and the views, nature and undemanding terrain are tremendously enjoyable. It would be a great winter choice for snowshoeing.
Please note, there are no facilities.