Chutes de Sainte-Ursule

Sainte-Ursule / Louiseville, Quebec, Canada

About Chutes de Sainte-Ursule


Hiking Distance: 3-4km round trip
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-10-07
Date last visited: 2013-10-07

Waterfall Latitude: 46.30033
Waterfall Longitude: -73.09579

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Our Chutes de Sainte-Ursule experience contrasted our experiences of other waterfalls in the province of Quebec in many ways.

For starters, it felt far less developed around this falls as the only signs of civilization amongst its forested surroundings were the railroad, the visitor center and camping facilities.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_087_10072013 - Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes de Sainte-Ursule

Of course, there were also trails and boardwalks within the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule.

However, absent were the urban developments, the power lines, the hydro schemes, the crowds, and the traffic.

Thus, we had a much quieter and naturesque experience accompanied by gorgeous Autumn colors.

As for the waterfall itself, it was really a series of several cascades on the Maskinonge River.

The main and most attractive drop amongst this cascade series was a 30m tall stretch that was viewable from an overlook perched atop a knob.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_018_10072013 - The uppermost tiers of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule tumbling before an active railroad
The uppermost tiers of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule tumbling before an active railroad

The rest of the cascades weren’t really photographable though they added to the ambience of the hike as the trails would consistently meander alongside the river to break the stillness of the forest.

Experiencing the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule – The Railroad and L’Ile de la Chute

Our experience began at the visitor center (see directions below) where we paid a per person fee (though I forgot exactly how much we paid).

The friendly lady at the visitor center predicted accurately that our walk and self-guided tour would take 90 minutes.

Anyways, after passing through the visitor center, we walked through a picnic and playground area, which would come in handy later on when our daughter would play here after we were done touring the falls.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_045_10072013 - Looking up towards a tressel bridge and the former path of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule or at least part of the Maskinonge River
Looking up towards a tressel bridge and the former path of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule or at least part of the Maskinonge River

The path quickly arrived at a bridge over the Maskinonge River where there were some trail junctions on both sides of the river.

While on the bridge, we could see the cascades already tumbling downstream deeper into the narrow gorge below.

Meanwhile, looking in the other direction, there was a short but attractive segmented cascade tumbling before a railroad bridge.

Just upstream from the bridge we were standing on, we noticed there was a dry riverbed, which turned out to be the former flow of the Maskinonge River.

This flow actually led to the former site of a different waterfall, which we were able to see after crossing the bridge and seeing an overlook facing a tall tressel bridge belonging to the railroad.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_027_10072013 - Looking upstream at one of the upper intermediate tiers of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule beneath the footbridge as seen from l'Ile de la Chute
Looking upstream at one of the upper intermediate tiers of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule beneath the footbridge as seen from l’Ile de la Chute

The dry riverbed eventually curved and rejoined the Maskinonge River thereby creating an “island” known as L’Ile de la Chute (Isle of the falls).

We didn’t stay on the island for long since the views of the falls weren’t very good from here.

However, we did have to be careful of the slippery footing on the wet boardwalks full of wet fallen leaves.

Experiencing the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule – Following the Waterfalls

Back across the bridge, we then followed the trail downstream on a combination of steps and slopes.

All throughout this descending stretch, we were walking alongside the cascades making up the main part of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule.

However, they really weren’t photographable from here.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_058_10072013 - Julie and Tahia descending on a trail alongside the mostly hidden Chutes de Sainte-Ursule (at least mostly hidden from this side of the river)
Julie and Tahia descending on a trail alongside the mostly hidden Chutes de Sainte-Ursule (at least mostly hidden from this side of the river)

That said, once we made it to the bottom of this descent, we then continued on a leafy path (ignoring the unpaved road to the left), which curved around a hill before reaching a signed junction in the middle of some stairs.

We turned right at this junction, and then we went up the stairs to the top of the hill or knob.

That was when we managed to stand upon a large wooden viewing deck with a very satisfying view of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule as you can see from the photo at the top of this page.

This was by far the best place to experience the main waterfalls, and there really wasn’t much more we could do to see this falls in other ways that would’ve been satisfying.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_075_10072013 - Full view of the main section of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Full view of the main section of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule

So this was the turnaround point for both Julie and Tahia though I spent some more time exploring further downstream along the Maskinonge River.

Thus, I continued all the way to the bottom of the stairs where I saw another suspension bridge as well as a dilapidated lookout.

That unsafe-looking lookout fronted what appeared to be the last appreciable tier of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule.

Further downstream, the rest of the Maskinonge River in this vicinity were nothing more than rapids and river.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_108_10072013 - The lowermost tier of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
The lowermost tier of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule

I eventually made it all the way down to the bend in the river where I saw a few picnic tables that were thoughtfully placed.

However, that was my turnaround point before making the all-uphill hike back to the playground by the visitor center.

All throughout the hike, there were interpretive signs to pause and better understand and appreciate what we were experiencing (while also helping to break up this ascent).

Authorities

The Chutes de Sainte-Ursule (Sainte-Ursule Waterfalls) reside in the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule near the town of Louiseville in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is adminstered by the municipality of Sainte-Ursule. For information or inquiries as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_004_10072013 - Julie and Tahia walking through the picnic area and playground just past the visitor center after having paid our admission fees
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_009_10072013 - Julie and Tahia on the bridge spanning the Maskinonge River and taking us to the L'ile de la Chute
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_010_10072013 - Looking upstream from the footbridge over the Maskinonge River towards one of the uppermost cascades of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_015_10072013 - Looking upstream from the other side of the footbridge over the Maskinonge River towards the same uppermost cascade of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule with railroad bridge above it
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_022_10072013 - The boardwalk on the l'Ile de la Chute on the other side of the footbridge over the Maskinonge River
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_024_10072013 - Julie and Tahia walking on the deceptively slippery boardwalks on the L'ile de la Chute
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_037_10072013 - Looking further along the deceptively slippery boardwalks on the l'Ile de la Chute
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_038_10072013 - Julie and Tahia heading back towards the footbridge over the Maskinonge River after having had our fill of the l'Ile de la Chute
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_046_10072013 - Back at the footbridge near the top of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule, where you can see the dry riverbed on the left no longer part of the Maskinonge River itself
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_047_10072013 - Looking downstream from the footbridge over the Maskinonge River at the river's course as it tumbles over the intermediate tiers of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_062_10072013 - Partial view alongside the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule during our descent along the river
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_071_10072013 - Julie and Tahia ignoring the road on the left to continue on the leafy trail going around the knob on the right to continue experiencing the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_073_10072013 - The leafy trail eventually swung around to this junction in the middle of some steps, where going up the steps led up to the best view of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_077_10072013 - Looking upstream at the best view of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule from the lookout at the top of a knob
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_091_10072013 - Looking down at the main part of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule after going to the top of the stairs to the top of a knob overlooking the Maskinonge River
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_094_10072013 - Julie and Tahia going back down the steps after having their fill of the best view of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_096_10072013 - Looking back up at the steps leading up to the knob for the best view of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_098_10072013 - While Julie and Tahia returned to the playground near the visitor center, I kept going down the trail where I encountered this suspension bridge connecting to the lower end of the L'ile de la Chute
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_104_10072013 - Looking downstream from the suspension bridge towards more tiers of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule on the Maskinonge River
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_106_10072013 - The dilapidated lookout of the lowermost drop of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_122_10072013 - Picnic tables thoughtfully placed at the bend in the Maskinonge River well below the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_125_10072013 - Looking back upstream towards the lowermost tier of Chutes de Sainte-Ursule and part of the suspension bridge above it
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_128_10072013 - Looking further down the stream from the bottom of the descent as the Maskinonge River continued its meander flanked by Autumn-colored trees
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_129_10072013 - Contextual look along the Maskinonge River's banks towards the lowermost tiers of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_133_10072013 - Last look at the wide Maskinonge River and the last of the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule before going back up to the visitor center

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To get to Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule from Quebec City, we drove west on the AUT-440 to the AUT-40.

We then continued on the AUT-40 for about 155km to the town of Louiseville (passing by Trois-Rivières en route).

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_001_10072013 - The wide open car park for the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule, which had very few visitors when we showed up in October 2013
The wide open car park for the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule, which had very few visitors when we showed up in October 2013

After taking the appropriate off-ramp, we then drove about 6km on the Boul St Laurent (Route 138) towards its junction with Route 348 in the heart of Louiseville.

At this point, signs for the Chutes de Sainte-Ursule were pretty obvious to follow.

Once we turned right to go onto the Route 348, we drove nearly 13km to the signposted turnoff for the falls at the Ch Rheaume, which ultimately ended at the car park and visitor center in another 1.2km.

Overall, this drive took us nearly 3 hours from Old Quebec.

Chutes_de_Sainte-Ursule_002_10072013 - Looking towards the far end of the car park for the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule
Looking towards the far end of the car park for the Parc des Chutes de Sainte-Ursule

Going in the other direction, it would be roughly an hour’s drive along the AUT-40 northeast of Montreal to the off-ramp closest to Louiseville.

For context, Montreal was 255km (about 3 hours drive) southwest of Quebec City and 199km (2 hours drive) east of Ottawa.

Top down sweep from the first footbridge starting with the upper cascade beneath the railroad, then ending downstream of the bridge


Looking up and down the falls before panning to show its context


Upstream to downstream sweep from the suspension bridge downstream of the main cascade

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Tagged with: sainte-ursule, louiseville, trois-rivieres, quebec, canada, waterfall, maskinonge river



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