Mingan Archipelago is the Most Beautiful Canadian Park You’ve Never Heard of

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada
Adventurous hikers could spend a lifetime exploring Canada and barely scratch the surface of the country’s thousands upon thousands of miles of marked trails. Among its most beautiful and unique parks is Quebec’s Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. With the fall season fast approaching, now is the time to start planning a solo camping trip.

Unlike the iconic Jasper, Banff, and Prince Edward Island National Parks, the Mingan Archipelago is somewhat lesser known; the tiny preserve only occupies 58 square miles along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River. The park was “born” nearly 500 million years ago beneath a surprisingly warm, tropical sea that once blanketed much of the region. Fast-forward some millennia and all of the calcium carbonate, dead organisms, and other minerals deposited on the seafloor have slowly turned to solid rock under their own weight. Today, all of this makes for a fantastic landscape that feels unlike any other national park in Canada.

Archipel des Iles de Mingan.

A post shared by Simon Desmarais (@simon.desm) on

The reserve only covers the islands within the archipelago, but that doesn’t make the water that surrounds them any less interesting to explore. First-time visitors to Mingan should start with an official water tour from one of the marine providers at Havre-St.-Pierre or Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan. These half-day tours typically span a few islands and feature professional narration from Parks Canada guides along the way. In addition to the otherworldly landscape, including million-year-old monoliths and rugged cliffs, tour-goers can spot whales and seals. The park is home to a variety of bird life as well, including puffins, terns, razorbills, and guillemots.

#puffins #macareuxmoine #ileauxperroquets #puffinworld

A post shared by Manon Sansoucy (@manonsansoucy) on

Once you have the lay of the land — assuming you’re seeking more independent exploration — hire a taxi boat from either of the terminals mentioned above. The right captain will take you to just about any island you like, where you’ll be able to enjoy the pure, blissful peace of Canada’s great outdoors. Most islands offer marked hiking trails that range from easy to moderate, from a quarter of a mile to more than six miles long.

The easiest time to go is between June and early September, when most tours and transportation providers operate. However, it’s still possible to hitch a ride around the park in early fall. Those willing to brave the cooler weather and slightly more complicated logistics will be rewarded with islands all to themselves. It’s the perfect fall camp for those who appreciate a bit of solitude.

Fashion & Style

Replace Your Shorts With the Best Men’s Pants for Fall

Consider this a kick in the pants to finally get new trousers.

Get Your Marine Mammal Fix on Massachusetts’ New Whale Trail

Travel in the footsteps of Herman Melville along America's northeastern coast.
Food & Drink

You Could Win Free Beer for a Year by Participating in Busch’s Scavenger Hunt

The goal is simple: Be the first person to find a tree marked with a medallion, you win.

Fall Foliage Forecast: Where and When to See the Leaves Change in 2018

Leaf-peeping isn't just for fanny-pack-wearing Midwestern housewives.
Food & Drink

How to Eat Your Way Across Texas Barbecue Country

Brisket, brisket, and more brisket. Here’s how to eat it like a king in Texas barbecue country.
Food & Drink

Ohio Is Home to the World’s First Brewery Hotel (with In-room Taps!)

In-room taps and well-stocked shower fridges? Sign us up!
Food & Drink

Win a Luxurious Travel Cocktail Set In Honor of The Manual Spirit Awards

Only two can win. Will it be you? Enter to find out.

Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road from People Who Get Paid to Drink

Though spirits brand ambassadors have pretty much the coolest job ever, constant travel can take a serious toll. Here's how some of the best stay balanced on the go.

The View of an American Road Trip from the Back of a Motorcycle

When I was in architecture school I bought a small 250cc Honda Rebel a) because it was a cheap way to get around town and b) because it allowed me to explore the mountains near my university in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Mountains…

You Can Play Real-Life Mario Kart on the Streets of Tokyo

Banana peels and red turtle shells are strictly forbidden, but Mario mustaches are encouraged.
Fashion & Style

Peak Design’s Travel Line Is the Kind of Compartmentalized Luggage Bag We love

This bag has pockets inside pockets inside pockets!

5 Best Cities to Celebrate Oktoberfest Outside of Germany

Munich isn't the only place that loves lederhosen, märzen, and oompah bands.

Burstner Harmony 3 Is One of the Sexiest Camper Concepts We’ve Ever Seen

Sometimes "roughing it" should include an espresso maker and a rainfall shower.
Food & Drink

A Brief History of Oktoberfest and Why You Should Celebrate in 2018

How did a Bavarian wedding in the 1800s turn into the biggest beer celebration in the world?