This post was most recently updated on October 12th, 2017
Montmorency Falls is a must-see sight if you are visiting Quebec City. Almost a hundred feet higher than Niagara Falls and boasting a tram, suspension bridge, and a zipline, it’s ranked #3 on TripAdvisor out of 220 things to do in Quebec City!
Getting to Montmorency Falls
Montmorency Falls is approximately 10 minutes away by car. But an even more convenient way to get there is to use the Old Quebec Tours shuttle bus. For only $18 round trip, ($12 for children) you can jump on the blue loop bus in Quebec City on Rue de Fort, right next to the Tourist Center and have a quick, comfortable ride to the Montmorency Falls park. We actually had a rental car with us, but when we considered edging our car out of a tight parking spot at the hotel, navigating through the narrow streets of old Quebec City, then driving to the falls and paying for parking ($10.57 per car), choosing the bus was an easy decision! Plus our driver, Jean-Pierre, was funny and very knowledgeable! The blue loop bus has several departures during the day in both directions — we caught the 9:30 am bus.
Note: I’d like to thank Quebec City Tourism, Old Quebec Tours, and Montmorency Falls for welcoming me and my husband with bus ride and tram passes, to make it easier for us to get around. We loved the convenience and would certainly use them again!
Arriving at Montmorency Falls
When the bus arrives at the Falls, you’ll be just outside the tram station. Walk inside and you will find restrooms, a sandwich shop, souvenirs, tables and benches, and the ramp to the tram.
The trams operate continuously, so after you purchase your ticket, just walk up the ramp and board the waiting tram. Your best views wll be on the far side of the tram from where you enter. If the tram is already quite full, you might wish to wait for the next tram, to get better views.
You don’t have to take the tram. I just didn’t want to spend my time hiking up. And the views from the tram are pretty nice. The tram takes you to the Montmorency Manor, the former summer home of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and father of Queen Victoria. The Manor was built in 1781 and today it offers a restaurant with views of the falls, reception areas, and a gift shop. It is also where you can get outfitted for the zipline or rock-climbing adventures.
If you choose not to take the tram, there is a walking path that takes you to the right side of the falls (as you are facing them). There is a viewing platform at the base of the falls and 487 stairs to the top, with three more observation gazebos along the way where you can stop to take photos.
Walking Across Montmorency Falls
From the Manor, you have a choice of a relatively easy trail to the left or a little steeper, more scenic trail with stairs to the right. They both take you to the suspension bridge. I’ve been to other famous waterfalls — Snoqualmie Falls in Washington and Multnomah Falls in Oregon — but this was my first time to actually walk across the top of a waterfall! I was a little nervous about the term “suspension” bridge. But this bridge is solid — no swinging or bouncing occurs when you walk across it.
It is amazing to look upstream and see what looks like a slow-moving calm river and then look down at the falls and watch the water shooting over the edge and crashing on the rocks below in a deafening roar! Be sure to take photos from this vantage point, as it is a unique opportunity. However, words or pictures really cannot fully portray the power or beauty of these falls!
But wait, there’s more…
After crossing the suspension bridge from left to right (as you face the the waterfall), you’ll come to a large grassy field that is still part of Montmorency Falls Park. There are shade trees, picnic tables, a playground and historic information. This area was the former site of a military encampment and a battle between the French and the British.
The entrance to the ziplining platform is on this side of the falls, and also the top of the 487 stairs back down to the base. Seeing a rainbow in the mists of the falls is quite common. It sure looks pretty! If you’re lucky, you might also see rock-climbers on the face of the rock walls next to the falls.
We started down the stairs and stopped at each viewing platform (gazebo) to take photos. Each view of the falls is different, but of course, the best is standing at the bottom looking up into the hugeness of the falls and the spray. You WILL get wet at the bottom, so be prepared to protect your camera gear and other belongings. Wear shoes with good tread, because it can also be slick on the viewing platform.
I loved seeing the waterfall from all angles and getting plenty of exercise, too. We ended our visit by heading back to the entrance and looking for the Old Quebec Tours blue loop bus. (Oh! And grabbing some maple sugar candy at the sandwich shop!) Our stay was about two hours, but it could have easily been longer if we’d added any hiking, a zipline adventure or a meal at the Manor restaurant. The bus schedule makes it easy to plan your return trip. I really appreciated how nice it was to ride back to the city on a comfortable bus without having to navigate through traffic. And since we’d already driven to Quebec City from Toronto, a day free of driving was a bonus for us.
You might like to know…
- Montmorency is pronounced “mohnt-more-ahn-see”
- Montmorency Falls was named by Samuel de Champlain after the Duke of Montmorency, Viceroy of New France.
- Drive your own vehicle and find free parking outside of the park. In the boroughs (arrondissements) at the top of the falls, it is possible to find free street parking.
- There are also city buses you can take to Montmorency Falls. Catch the 800 bus from Gare-Palais (about 5 minute walk from old Quebec City) and pay $3.00 each way. The bus takes you to the top of the falls near the Montmorency Manor parking lot.
- If you’re riding the tram with a friend or partner, there’s an unlimited one-day tram pass for couples that includes parking — only $28.10.
- Old Quebec Tours has a 2-day package deal that includes all of its bus tours and a 1.5 hour cruise for only $59.95
- In the summer, the park hosts an international fireworks competition with the falls as a backdrop. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
- In the winter, the spray from the falls instantly freezes into powdery snow and forms a sugarloaf formation at the base. So cool!
I hope you enjoy your visit to Montmorency Falls!
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