Chute Montmorency

Beauport / Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

About Chute Montmorency


Hiking Distance: 3.7km shuttle
Suggested Time: 2-3 hours

Date first visited: 2013-10-05
Date last visited: 2013-10-05

Waterfall Latitude: 46.8905
Waterfall Longitude: -71.14743

Chute Montmorency (or Montmorency Falls) was one of those waterfalls where we had to take the good with the bad to truly appreciate it.

It had to have been one of the more memorable waterfalls we’ve seen in Quebec with its very pleasing size at a reported 84m tall and 46m wide.

Chute_Montmorency_240_10052013 - Chute Montmorency
Chute Montmorency

However, it also felt like an urban waterfall given its close proximity to Quebec City in its suburbian outskirts near the bridge to the l’Ile d’Orleans.

Chute Montmorency – A Waterfall with World Class Size

Its dimensions resulting in its thick, tapered, block type appearance reminded us of other large waterfalls of similar appearance around the world.

Specifically, we thought of Montmorency Falls as a more developed and smaller version of Kaieteur Falls in Guyana (said to be 226m tall and 100m wide).

It also seemed like a more tapered version of Skogafoss in Iceland (said to be 60m tall and 26m wide).

Chute_Montmorency_198_10052013 - To better appreciate the size of Chute Montmorency, notice the size of the people crossing the bridge above the waterfall in relation to the size of the waterfall itself
To better appreciate the size of Chute Montmorency, notice the size of the people crossing the bridge above the waterfall in relation to the size of the waterfall itself

Heck, it even reminded us of a narrower version of the Huangguoshu Waterfall in China (said to be 78m tall and 101m wide).

In fact, we could even make the argument that the Chute Montmorency could be the largest urban waterfall in Canada after Niagara Falls!

Indications of an Urban Waterfall

We say Chute Montmorency felt urban because there was a dam just upstream from its top.

This infrastructure made it seem like the Montmorency River flowed over a man-made wall before making its huge plunge down the nearly vertical rock face.

Chute_Montmorency_055_10052013 - Looking upstream from barrage (dam) above the Chute Montmorency towards other man-made infrastructure seemingly controlling the flow of the Montmorency River
Looking upstream from barrage (dam) above the Chute Montmorency towards other man-made infrastructure seemingly controlling the flow of the Montmorency River

There was also a busy highway a little further downstream of the falls, making it very easy to rubberneck while driving that highway (not recommended by the way given how fast you go there).

Plus, there was also a bare cliff flanked to east side of the river downstream of the falls.

We weren’t sure if that cliff became that way due to some man-made intervention.

For example, that cliff could have been made bare by quarrying or pollution in the mist killing off vegetation that was once there (or maybe something else we’re not aware of).

Chute_Montmorency_039_10052013 - Looking downstream along the bare wall by the Montmorency River towards the l'Ile d'Orleans and the highways leading to and from Quebec City
Looking downstream along the bare wall by the Montmorency River towards the l’Ile d’Orleans and the highways leading to and from Quebec City

Given such contrast between natural beauty and man-made tamperings with Nature, we thought this waterfall had all the potential to score even higher to a 4.5 or maybe even a 5 on the scenic rating.

Experiencing the Chute Montmorency Waterfall

Even though Julie and I prefer waterfalls in their natural state, we did see some benefits to all this development.

For starters, we were able to appreciate Chute Montmorency from a variety of viewing angles.

The walking route was shaped like a large backwards “C” going over, around, and below the waterfall, before completing the loop by going up a cable car.

Chute_Montmorency_018_10052013 - Looking across at the Panoramic Stairs traversing the bare cliff wall adjacent to the full height of Chute Montmorency
Looking across at the Panoramic Stairs traversing the bare cliff wall adjacent to the full height of Chute Montmorency

There were also some secondary waterfalls called the Bridal Veil Falls (Le Voile de la Mariee) that I was also able to add towards the end of the Chute Montmorency visit.

Then, the wide and developed walkways as well as some picnic areas and a playground really made it easy for our daughter to enjoy so it was very family friendly as far as we were concerned.

Detailed Route Description of the Chute Montmorency Walk – from Manoir Montmorency to the Bridge

Our visit began from Manoir Montmorency (see directions below), where there was a pretty modest and historical mansion fronted by a fountain situated next to a car park.

There was some kind of function (possibly a wedding) during our visit on a gorgeous day, which might have added to the parking pressure.

Chute_Montmorency_003_10052013 - Looking towards the Manoir Montmorency before starting on the long loop walk to take in the full experience of Chute Montmorency
Looking towards the Manoir Montmorency before starting on the long loop walk to take in the full experience of Chute Montmorency

That said, we came late enough in the day that it didn’t seem to affect us too much.

Anyhow, there was a well-established overlook between the manor and the upper terminal of the cable car affording us our first partial views of Chute Montmorency.

We were also able to look further downstream in the direction of L’Ile d’Orleans.

Next, we walked along a well-established boardwalk going around the manor providing more views from the top of the cliff upon which the boardwalk and vistas were perched.

Chute_Montmorency_031_10052013 - Julie on the well-established boardwalk leading to the Baronness Lookout and the brink of Chute Montmorency
Julie on the well-established boardwalk leading to the Baronness Lookout and the brink of Chute Montmorency

The walkway ultimately went to a sheltered overlook near the top of Chute Montmorency called the Baronness Lookout.

By the way, that’s the red structure you see to the topleft of the falls in the photo at the top of this page.

From this vantage point with the mid-afternoon sun, we were able to see rainbows in the mist of the falls as well as to better appreciate the Panoramic Stairs across the river and even parts of the suspension bridge above us.

Next, we walked across the wide suspension bridge where we could see the man-modified tier upstream from the Chute Montmorency.

Chute_Montmorency_049_10052013 - View of the suspension bridge above the Chute Montmorency as seen from the Baronness Lookout
View of the suspension bridge above the Chute Montmorency as seen from the Baronness Lookout

Looking in the opposite direction, we peered right over the brink of wide waterfall as the Montmorency River would disappear over the precipice.

The fences on the sides of this bridge were tall and protective enough to be reasonably family friendly for toddlers.

The bridge was also sturdy enough to not be bouncing, especially given the amount of simultaneous foot traffic on it.

Detailed Route Description of the Chute Montmorency Walk – from Bridge to the Cable Car Station

On the other side of the bridge, we continued on the walkway, which was now more of a wide gravel path before giving way to a combination of grass and dirt.

Chute_Montmorency_102_10052013 - After a short walk beyond the suspension bridge over the Chute Montmorency, we arrived that this large grassy area that seemed idea for a picnic or just chilling out
After a short walk beyond the suspension bridge over the Chute Montmorency, we arrived that this large grassy area that seemed idea for a picnic or just chilling out

As we rounded a corner where the trail curved downstream, I noticed there was a closed off spur trail (which I believe was the Via Ferrata) that I’d imagine would lead very close to the brink of Chute Montmorency on a technical cliff-hugging route.

After crossing over the fault bridge, the main path then opened up into a wide and rolling grassy hill area that seemed ideal for a picnic.

There were also some partial views of Chute Montmorency from a more frontal angle.

Further in the distance from this large lawn area, we saw structures further downstream that appeared to belong to the L’ile d’Orleans.

Chute_Montmorency_111_10052013 - Looking back towards Chute Montmorency and the suspension bridge from near the Fault Bridge
Looking back towards Chute Montmorency and the suspension bridge from near the Fault Bridge

At the end of this flat open grassy stretch, we were then at the top of the Panoramic Stairs.

From the very top of the stairs to the bottom, there were overlooks along the way, which allowed us to get some of the more pleasing frontal views of the falls.

We chose to do this trail in a clockwise manner because we preferred going down all these steps instead of coming back up in the relentless sun.

Once we made it to the bottom, there was a concrete viewing area.

Chute_Montmorency_128_10052013 - Looking down at the context of the Panoramic Stairs fronting the Chute Montmorency
Looking down at the context of the Panoramic Stairs fronting the Chute Montmorency

Even though the Chute Montmorency Waterfall was technically in lower flow during early October, it was still pretty misty at the base thereby rendering long exposure photos down there ineffective.

The concrete lookout platforms here seemed to be partitioned by low concrete walls, and we weren’t sure why they built it this way.

But in any case, the platform seemed to be disproportionately large compared to the other overlooks in the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency.

Next, we walked downstream along the Montmorency River.

Chute_Montmorency_180_10052013 - Looking back towards the Chute Montmorency after making it to the bottom of the Panoramic Stairs
Looking back towards the Chute Montmorency after making it to the bottom of the Panoramic Stairs

When the trail turned to the right once again, Julie and Tahia noticed a playground that was situated in the corner here so they spent some time here before continuing on.

Meanwhile, I continued onto a bridge paralleling the noisy highway a little further downstream.

All across this walkway, we got more frontal (though distant) views of Chute Montmorency in full context.

As we eventually made it to the end of this bridge, we then had a choice of where to go next.

Chute_Montmorency_212_10052013 - A playground near the lower end of the Parc de la Chute Montmorency, where Julie and Tahia got to take a break from sightseeing the waterfall for a bit
A playground near the lower end of the Parc de la Chute Montmorency, where Julie and Tahia got to take a break from sightseeing the waterfall for a bit

On the one hand, we could walk straight to the Lower Terminal, which had a snack bar, a souvenir shop, and a booth to buy tickets to ride the cable car back up to Manoir Montmorency.

On the other hand, we could’ve also walked along the railroad tracks to a rail stop.

Detailed Route Description of the Chute Montmorency Walk – Optional Spur to Bridal Veil

Beyond the rail stop, I was able to briefly follow the railroad tracks before the trail cut across back towards the road connecting the car park for the Lower Terminal to the entrance station.

I walked along this road for a few minutes towards the entrance station until I finally saw a blue sign saying “LE VOILE DE LA MARIEE” (i.e. The Bridal Veil).

Chute_Montmorency_266_10052013 - Context of le Voile de la Mariee (the Bridal Veil) as I approached it on a less-traveled trail or road deviating from the loop walk dedicated to the Chute Montmorency
Context of le Voile de la Mariee (the Bridal Veil) as I approached it on a less-traveled trail or road deviating from the loop walk dedicated to the Chute Montmorency

That was when I saw this side waterfall on the Montmorency River system fronted by some power lines.

I followed a trail of use towards the railroad, then I crossed it to get right up to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls.

When I was done with Bridal Veil Falls, I then walked back to the Lower Terminal (noticing a smaller and more hidden waterfall en route).

This out-and-back detour to the Bridal Veil took from the Lower Terminal took me on the order of about a half-hour or so.

Detailed Route Description of the Chute Montmorency Walk – The Cable Car

Chute_Montmorency_286_10052013 - View of the context of the Chute Montmorency Waterfall as we ascended on the cable car back to the Manoir Montmorency
View of the context of the Chute Montmorency Waterfall as we ascended on the cable car back to the Manoir Montmorency

After buying the tickets at the Lower Terminal, we were finally able to ride the cable car back up to the Manoir Montmorency to complete the loop.

As of our visit in October 2013, the cost of our cable car ride was $20 CAD.

During the cable car ride, we got to see an angled view of the Chute Montmorency, but we had to put up with the glare from the windows.

After another 30 minutes from the time we got the tickets, we ultimately returned to the Manoir Montmorency, then we made it back to our parked car.

Chute_Montmorency_096_10052013 - Context of the Manoir Montmorency (which was ultimately where the cable car dropped us off near) with Quebec City looming in the distance across the St Lawrence River
Context of the Manoir Montmorency (which was ultimately where the cable car dropped us off near) with Quebec City looming in the distance across the St Lawrence River

Overall, this visit took us a very leisurely 3 hours (especially since I spent a good deal of time carrying our daughter in the carrier).

I kept the difficulty at 2 since you don’t necessarily have to do the whole loop to experience Chute Montmorency.

However, I figured that if you don’t do the whole loop while taking your time, the experience here would not be as enjoyable.

Authorities

Chute Montmorency (Montmorency Falls) resides near Quebec City in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is currently adminstered by Sepaq on behalf of the government of Quebec. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Chute_Montmorency_016_10052013 - Angled look at Chute Montmorency from the viewpoint at the Upper Terminal just as we started to make a long clockwise loop walk for the full waterfall experience
Chute_Montmorency_025_10052013 - From the Montmorency Manor to the suspension bridge above Chute Montmorency, the walkway was boardwalk (and flanked by beautiful vegetation with Autumn colors)
Chute_Montmorency_029_10052013 - Looking downstream towards the Pont de L'Ile d'Orleans (the Bridge of the Isle of Orleans)
Chute_Montmorency_045_10052013 - Looking down towards a double rainbow from the brink of Chute Montmorency as seen from the Baronness Lookout
Chute_Montmorency_060_10052013 - Going across the suspension bridge hanging directly above the Chute Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_074_10052013 - Looking down over the brink of the Chute Montmorency from the far side of the suspension bridge
Chute_Montmorency_075_10052013 - Looking down and across the brink of the Chute Montmorency towards the Baronness Lookout from the far side of the suspension bridge
Chute_Montmorency_089_10052013 - Julie and Tahia walking a more conventional trail after having crossed the suspension bridge above the Chute Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_115_10052013 - A lookout at the very top of the Panoramic Stairs, where we ultimately took the way down to get right in front of the Chute Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_120_10052013 - The view of Chute Montmorency from the very top of the Panoramic Stairs
Chute_Montmorency_132_10052013 - Similar view from the top of the Panoramic Stairs but revealing more mist wafting up from the base of Chute Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_139_10052013 - Julie and Tahia part way down the Panoramic Stairs as we headed to the bottom of Chute Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_154_10052013 - We started to feel more of the mist from Chute Montmorency the further down the Panoramic Stairs we went
Chute_Montmorency_143_10052013 - View back towards Chute Montmorency as we went lower on the Panoramic Stairs
Chute_Montmorency_149_10052013 - Focused look at the full drop of the Chute Montmorency as seen from low down on the Panoramic Stairs
Chute_Montmorency_154_10052013 - It got even mistier in front of the Chute Montmorency the lower down the Panoramic Stairs that we went
Chute_Montmorency_174_10052013 - Looking back at the Panoramic Stairs that we had just descended to reach the banks of the Montmorency River
Chute_Montmorency_202_10052013 - After having gone well downstream along the Montmorency River, we got this frontal contextual view at the Chute Montmorency along with a thinner segment to its left
Chute_Montmorency_208_10052013 - Context of the concrete walkway and lookout area all along the bank of the Montmorency River
Chute_Montmorency_211_10052013 - This was the rough unmaintained trail back up to the top of the cliff if you didn't want to do the Panoramic Stairs. I believe this trail was the July 31st Trail or Sentier de la 31 Juillet
Chute_Montmorency_219_10052013 - Looking from even further downstream from the Chute Montmorency towards the waterfall and the concrete walkway to the lower right with some ducks or geese swimming in the Montmorency River
Chute_Montmorency_230_10052013 - All zoomed in look at the Chute Montmorency and the infrastructure around it like the Baronness Lookout on the topleft, the suspension bridge above it, and even a hint of the concrete walkway on the lower right
Chute_Montmorency_231_10052013 - Even more zoomed in look at the full drop of the Chute Montmorency so the wall of water coming down the barrage (dam) above the natural part of the waterfall can be more readily seen
Chute_Montmorency_236_10052013 - Full contextual look back at Chute Montmorency with some ducks in the river and part of the Panoramic Stairs to the right as seen from the bridge paralleling the highway
Chute_Montmorency_247_10052013 - Walking along the railroad tracks towards Bridal Veil Falls, which was an optional side excursion to a much quieter part of the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_248_10052013 - The road sign pointing towards the Bridal Veil as I was making my walking detour to that waterfall (though it was clear from this walk that I technically could have driven there)
Chute_Montmorency_251_10052013 - Finally starting to see the attractive (but much smaller by comparison to Chute Montmorency) Bridal Veil Falls
Chute_Montmorency_261_10052013 - This was about as close to the Bridal Veil Falls (or Voile de la Mariee) that I could get
Chute_Montmorency_268_10052013 - Another waterfall that was near Bridal Veil Falls, but this one was more hidden and harder to see
Chute_Montmorency_271_10052013 - Looking back at the Chute Montmorency just as I had returned to the Lower Terminal after having made my out-and-back detour to Bridal Veil Falls
Chute_Montmorency_280_10052013 - Looking back towards Chute Montmorency from inside the cable car as it was making its ascent back to the Manoir Montmorency
Chute_Montmorency_288_10052013 - Portrait view of Chute Montmorency starting to reflect in a calmer part of the Montmorency River as the cable car continued to ascend to the Upper Terminal
Chute_Montmorency_291_10052013 - Another contextual look towards the Chute Montmorency and the Panoramic Stairs as we continued our ascent in the cable car
Chute_Montmorency_294_10052013 - The Chute Montmorency looking even more angled as the cable car got closer to the Upper Terminal
Chute_Montmorency_296_10052013 - Last look at the Chute Montmorency Waterfall with the Panoramic Stairs still bathed in late afternoon light just as we were about to stop at the Upper Terminal of the cable car

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To get to Chute Montmorency from Quebec City, we took the Autoroute 440 east towards the Autoroute 40.

Then while on the AUT-40, we took the next exit at Boul des Chutes and followed this road east (left) for about a mile (1.6km) towards the car park for Manoir Montmorency and the Upper Terminal on the right.

Without traffic (and without getting lost) this was probably about a 15-minute drive from Old Quebec.

We paid an $11 CAD vehicle fee to park during our October 2013 visit.

Chute_Montmorency_001_10052013 - The car park at the Manoir Montmorency and the Upper Terminal for the cable car at le Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
The car park at the Manoir Montmorency and the Upper Terminal for the cable car at le Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

Coming from the east (heading west) from say Beaupre, we were supposed to exit the ramp near the front of the falls by the Pont de L’ile d’Orleans (Bridge of the Isle of Orleans).

However, there was road construction that closed off that ramp (which would’ve taken us right to the car park at the Lower Terminal).

Thus, we had to keep going on the freeway towards Highway 40.

Once on Hwy 40, we then took the next exit at Boul des Chutes and followed this road (as given above) to the car park for Manoir Montmorency and the Upper Terminal on our right.

There were more car parks (e.g. the one by the Boischatel Entrance), but we didn’t do the other ways so we can’t say more about them.

For context, Quebec City was 255km (about 3 hours drive) northeast of Montreal and 448km (4.5 hours drive) east of Ottawa.

Bottom up sweep from a lookout just below the bridge showing the falls and rainbow before ending at the bridge and barrage


Left to right sweep of the barrage before crossing the bridge and examining the main drop from the top down


Zoomed in on Quebec City then following the St Lawrence River, then following the tributary along the trail before ending at the falls


Left to right sweep along the tributary from the misty lookout at the base of the falls before panning up to the top of the falls


Right to left semi-circular sweep from the bridge downstream of the falls with a zoomed-in sweep of the falls within the middle of the movie


Top down sweep of Bridal Veil Falls before panning further downsteram

Tagged with: beauport, quebec city, orleans, quebec, canada, waterfall, cable car, urban waterfall, bridal veil falls, le voile de la mariee, manoir, baronness lookout, panoramic stairs



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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