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near Charny, Québec (Canada)
The name *Chaudiere*, meaning boiler, comes from the spray rising from the bottom of the falls, which resembles steam coming from a water boiler.
Located in Lévis, at just a couple of minutes from Quebec City, the Chutes-de-la-Chaudière are a spectacular sight!
These 35 metre high falls are the last and most impressive jolt of the Chaudière River, flowing on 185 km all the way to the St. Lawrence River. Go for a ride on a bicycle or by foot in the developed trails and cross the 113 metre long suspension footbridge standing 23 metres over the river. Trails and lookout points enhance this exceptional site.
Activities - A bike ride on a 1.5 km bicycle path that is part of the Route verte and the Trans Canada Trail (Difficulty: intermediate to hard)
- Hiking on almost 4.5 km of developed trails lined with interpretation panels (Difficulty: easy to intermediate)
- Fishing (licence is mandatory, no sale on site)
- Playing area for kids
Access and parking:
- Highway 73, Exit 130, Charny District
- Highway 20, Exit 311, then Route 116 West, Saint-Nicolas District
Charny is a district (secteur) within the Les Chutes-de-la-Chaudière-Est borough of the city of Lévis, Quebec. It is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, south of Quebec City. Formerly an independent city, Charny was merged with Lévis on January 1, 2002.
There is a waterfall that is located in the town on the Chaudière River. It offers a beautiful scene as well as a long narrow suspension bridge that one can walk across to get to the other side of the river (Saint-Rédempteur).
We got our first glimpse of Chutes de la Chaudiere though in hindsight, we should've walked upstream a little more to see some of the closer overlooks of the wide falls in profile (a 630m footpath labeled Les Belvederes). In any case, we then went down some stairs and followed the 360m path labeled La Passerelle, which headed towards a suspension bridge crossing the Chaudiere River.
Des aires de pique-nique ainsi que des sentiers pédestres ou cyclables, agrémentés de panneaux d'interprétation, y sont aménagés.
La passerelle est un pont suspendu long de 113 mètres et suspendue à 23 mètres au-dessus de la rivière. Les visiteurs peuvent la traverser pour observer sur les chutes et la centrale hydroélectrique.
The design of the footbridge, which is 113 metres long and suspended 23 metres above the river, was based on that of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge.
The Chutes de la Chaudiere were an impressive set of segmented waterfalls about 35m tall falling side by side to each other. One thing that made our waterfalling experience here quite different from the other waterfalls that we visited near the charming city of Quebec was that admission and parking for the falls were free. In fact, it felt like a true park where we were able to walk about at our own leisure without the monetization and/or exploitation to help us part with more of our money.
The falls was said to represent the last major drop of the 185km Chaudiere River just before emptying into the St Lawrence River, which was quite close to the Parc des Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere.
Being so close to the urban developments, we felt this was pretty much an urban waterfall. There was a 24MW dam and hydro faciility upstream of the main drop of the falls that dated back to 1901 (though it had to be rebuilt due to major flooding in 1970). Power lines were everpresent all around us, and the river itself had a smell that would make us quite touch it, though the currents and sudden release of water from the hydro facility would make lingering in the water a bad idea anyway.
Our visit began from car park near Entrance A (see directions) according to our map. From there, we got our first glimpse of Chutes de la Chaudiere though in hindsight, we should've walked upstream a little more to see some of the closer overlooks of the wide falls in profile (a 630m footpath labeled Les Belvederes on our map). In any case, we then went down some stairs and followed the 360m path labeled La Passerelle, which headed towards a suspension bridge crossing the Chaudiere River.
We took a brief detour down some steep stairs down onto a rough riverbed allowing us to scramble closer to the impressive Chutes de la Chaudiere. We were careful not to get too close to the fast current in the river (and making sure our daughter didn't linger out there either) as well as cognizant of the large potholes and mini-dropoffs conspiring to turn an ankle or tweak a knee as we were doing our riverbed scramble to get closer.
The most direct views of the falls were from the suspension bridge (la passerelle), which was said to be 113m long and 23m above the river. Looking downstream from the bridge, we saw the giant highway bridges spanning the St Lawrence River between the suburb of Levis and the outskirts of the greater Quebec City.
On the other side of the bridge, we took a trail that was closest to the opposite side of the river, which was an 830m path labeled La Presqu'ile on our map. This path followed a side channel towards the outflow of the hydroelectric facility before curving back around on the opposite side of the outflow channel, then curving once again alongside the Chaudiere River. There were more scrambling paths leading down to the riverbed along this path, though it seemed like we had to be careful about brushing up against poison ivy.
Eventually, this path climbed up alongside the falls where we were able to get the views you see at the top of this page. Those were probably our most satisfying photos of the falls though I still regret not taking the time to see the other overlooks near the Entrance A car park. In any case, we eventually went up to the dam above the falls, checked out some more interpretive signs there, and then followed the 440m path labeled La Boise back to la passerelle (suspension bridge), where we then took the remaining 360m back up to the car park.
Vous pourrez les contempler à partir de la passerelle suspendue à 23 mètres au-dessus de la rivière, ou encore à partir des nombreux belvédères aux points de vue spectaculaires.
Le Centre d'interprétation, situé dans le bâtiment d'accueil, vous permettra de découvrir le passé fascinant du site où des vestiges de campements amérindiens ont été découverts lors de fouilles archéologiques. Dans ce parc magnifique, vous pourrez également vous adonner à la randonnée pédestre sur des sentiers aménagés et bordés de panneaux d'interprétation (4,5 km), pique-niquer en famille.
Plusieurs belvédères spectaculaires le long du chemin vers la passerelle.