Franquelin – Vieux-Quai trail (also known as Sentier de la Baleine, or “whale trail”)
This foot path is ideal for hiking enthusiasts. You will walk alongside a bay opening into the St. Lawrence for 3 or 4 kilometres and might be taken by surprise by a blue, fin or minke whale, sometimes just 10 metres or so from shore. You’ll discover a peaceful and picturesque spot with the old stone wharf frozen in time.
What they’re saying: “Last spring, we saw at least three different species of whales in one afternoon, about 30 metres off shore: a blue whale, two fin whales and so many minke whales that we lost count!”
Getting there: Route 138 East. 1st access: before arriving in the village of Franquelin and approximately 300 metres after Pointe Mistassini, turn right. 2nd access: on the right, 2.6 km after the access road to Pointe Mistassini.
Franquelin – Pointe à la Croix : Whale Route Top Pick
Pointe à la Croix is one of the best kept secrets of the North Shore! This charming site sits opposite a canyon nearly 200 metres deep. Consequently, just a few metres from the rocks, you will see marine mammals coming to take advantage of the tumultuous meeting of opposing currents, which creates a smorgasbord for these giants. Perfect for forest lovers: to get there, you have to walk or bike about 5 km of woodland trail.
What they’re saying: “For those who know Cap de Bon-Désir near Les Bergeronnes, it’s the same thing, only in Franquelin! The whales come super close to shore, it’s amazing. The couple of kilometres you have to walk are worth the effort, believe me!”
Getting there: Route 138 East. Entrance to the site is on your right, 4 km past the Franquelin River bridge.
Franquelin – Pull-offs (Viewpoints on the 138)
The pull-offs in Franquelin represent incomparable vantage points of the river. Despite the lack of amenities, these sites are ideal for taking a break and watching whales. The fabulous views from the rest areas both before and after the village of Franquelin will leave you speechless. Keep your eyes and ears open, those whales are a-blowin’!
What they’re saying: “You have to be careful driving down the 138 around Franquelin; when you see whales spouting from the highway, it’s distracting! When that happens, I stop at one of the pull-offs and I watch…safely!”
Getting there: Within the village of Franquelin, there are 6 pull-offs along Route 138, all of which are located east of the Baie Saint-Pancrace viewpoint, namely 4.5 km, 12.8 km, 14.7 km, 15.8 km, 29.4 km and 30.2 km past this point.