A northern hike along Rivière des Rapides in Sept-îles

I had to go to Sept-Îles recently for personal reasons. I mostly spent time there with my in-laws, but I was able to take advantage of this short trip to the Quebec’s North Shore to hike a trail that I’ve never hiked before, the Sentier à Jo (Jo’s Trail) along the Rivière des Rapides.

It is while I was browsing on the beautiful Les Sentiers de la Côte website that I learned of the existence of this trail (if you understand French, this site is a grear resource for those who want to hike on the Quebec’s North Shore). It always surprises me to realize that even though I lived for a few years in Sept-Îles, there are still so many places in the region that I do not know.

The start of the trail is on Rue Decoste, near the bridge that crosses the Rivière des Rapides. It is possible to park near the water treatment plant of the city of Sept-Îles, a few metres further on Rue Decoste.

Sentier à Jo along Rivière des Rapides
A sign marks the start of the trail

Sentier à Jo follows the course of Rivière des Rapides, from Rue Decoste to Lac des Rapides itself. Located about ten kilometres northwest of the urban center of Sept-Îles, Lac des Rapides is an important lake locally, because the city draws its drinking water from it. Rivière des Rapides, for its part, covers about forty kilometres and ends its course in the bay of Sept-Îles.

At the very beginning of the trail, the river was quite peaceful, and I could see it here and there between the spruce trees. The trail wasn’t too difficult. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wearing good shoes for hiking (I forgot to put my hiking boots in my luggage before leaving for Sept-Îles), so I had to be more careful when walking on large roots or slippery rocks but otherwise I could still walk at a good pace.

Along Rivière des Rapides
Magnificient North Shore

What a pleasure to find myself in a real northern forest! I hadn’t realized how much I had missed the smell of spruce trees, the clear and large sky and the salty air. I definitely need to come back to the North Shore more often, because it is a magnificent and enormous territory, and it so different from southern Quebec.

Sentier à Jo
Spruce trees and berries

After a few hundred metres on the trail, I started to hear the sound of rushing waters. I first saw them from a distance, then the trail took me very close to beautiful waterfalls.

Rivière des Rapides in Sept-Îles
Beautiful, even on a moody day

After the waterfalls, the trail continued to follow the more tranquil course of Rivière des Rapides. There were a few steeper sections, a few muddy sections, but otherwise the hike was pretty fun and not terribly difficult.

The last section of the trail makes a loop that first runs along Lac des Rapides. This loop seemed a little harder to follow than the rest of the trail. There were a few bushier sections, and some verry muddy sections. My white non-hiking shoes suffered a bit. Fortunately, the northern forest continued to be just as pretty.

Sentier à Jo in Sept-Îles
Mossy ground

The loop took me back to the main trail and I just had to retrace my steps to complete my hike. In all, I hiked 6.3 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 128 metres. The perfect hike to make me fall in love all over again with the North Shore!

Lac des Rapides in Sept-Îles
Dear Sept-Îles, I’ll be back soon


    1. The interesting thing is that this is not a well-known trail. It is in a remote area of Quebec, and this whole region is beautiful. I’m happy I got the chance to do that short hike while I was there. Thanks for reading!

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