The Fjord du Saguenay is one of the world’s longest fjords, cutting through the Canadian Shield before merging with the St Lawrence River. A stupendous expanse of rocky outcrops, sheer cliffs and thick vegetation, the land flanking the fjord on both sides is protected as the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay (w sepaq.com) and Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent (t 418 235 4703, t 1 800 773 8888, w parcmarin.qc.ca), whose main entry is at Baie -Éternité. The marine park contains six different ecosystems and supports hundreds of marine species, but has had its work cut out. Since the park’s creation, government initiatives have eliminated ninety percent of the pollutants from industrial plants in the immediate vicinity. Still, pollutants remain in the sediment and the number of St Lawrence River beluga whales is currently at one thousand, down from five thousand a century ago, placing them on Canada’s list of endangered species. The area continues to attract whales because the mingling of the cold Labrador Sea waters with the highly oxygenated freshwater of the Saguenay River produces a uniquely rich crop of krill and plankton. The white St Lawrence River beluga lives in the area year-round, and from May to October it is joined by six species of migratory whale, including the minke, finback and blue.

The walls of the fjord itself extend to a depth of 270m in places, almost as much as the height of the cliffs above the waterline. Wedged between the two halves of the Parc du Saguenay are some of the most attractive parts of the Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent. But since no bridges cross the Saguenay for the 126km between Tadoussac and Chicoutimi, you may need to backtrack to explore both shores.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 awesome images of Canada

15 awesome images of Canada

Canada is has vast and varied landscape, from beautiful beaches to glassy mountain lakes. It's difficult to capture the country's real beauty in a photograph, b…

09 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
8 reasons Vancouver is cooler than you think

8 reasons Vancouver is cooler than you think

Vancouver sometimes gets knocked for being a bit dull – and while it’s true that its residents can be earlier to bed than in the rest of North America, thi…

05 Sep 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
Lunenburg: Canada's most colourful town

Lunenburg: Canada's most colourful town

Twenty years ago the facades of the wood-built buildings in Lunenburg, a UNESCO-listed fishing town in Nova Scotia, were white with black trimming. The only exc…

29 Oct 2015 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month