The Matapédia Valley (vallée de la Matapédia) is a region of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. Sometimes called "La Vallée", it is the western part of the Gaspé and the only one not to have access to the sea. The forest, mainly made up of spruce and fir trees, covers a large part of the region. Salmon fishing is a popular pastime in the many rivers in the valley. The river is interrupted by two large glacial lakes: Lac Matapédia and Lac au Saumon.
- 1 Amqui — the main town of the Matapédia, administrative and economic center of the Matapedia valley in the southwest of the peninsula; it has two covered bridges and is near the regional parks of Val-d'Irène and Seigneurie-du-Lac-Matapédia
- 2 Causapscal — second largest city in the valley
- 3 Matapédia — in the east of La Vallée, known for its salmon rivers
- 4 Sayabec — in the west of La Vallée, the third largest city in the valley
- 1 ZEC Casault — an 838-km² hunting and fishing controlled harvesting zone (zone d'exploitation contrôlée), where small animals can be hunted such as the hare, the ruffed grouse and coyote. ZEC Casault is also home to moose, deer and black bear. The most popular fishing is that of the brook trout
The land is primarily made up of forest and agriculture, and is home to more than 20,000 inhabitants in some thirty municipalities. Most of them are concentrated along the main avenue of communication, Route 132.
The Mi'kmaq people first developed the valley around 500 BCE. French-Canadian settlement began in 1833 when Pierre Brochu moved to Lake Matapedia along Kempt Road. Settlers began flocking to the land in the late 19th century with the development of land clearing, agriculture, and the logging industry.
The logging industry was the primary pull factor for settlers in the valley. The development of agriculture allowed for permanent colonies and the creation of Catholic parishes. Logging companies built the industrial framework necessary for the growth of the valley's villages.
Throughout its history, Matapedia Valley has shared much of its culture with the Acadians. You can see the Acadian flag in many municipalities in the area, notably Amqui, Causapscal, and Lac-au-Saumon.
From Montreal, Quebec, Rivière-du-Loup or Rimouski, take Autoroute 20 east until it ends at Mont-Joli, then continue on route 132 east towards Amqui. From Quebec, it is a 5-hour drive to reach Amqui.
Route 132 is also the access route to the region from the south and east of the Gaspé Peninsula. In addition, from New Brunswick, it is possible to cross directly at Matapedia to enter the valley or cross at Pointe-à-la-Croix and then take route 132 west to join the valley.
From the north and north-east of the Gaspé Peninsula, go to Matane on Route 132 and take Route 195 which goes to Amqui. From Matane, it is a 1-hour drive.
Route 132 is the main highway in the region. From Sayabec, it follows Lake Matapedia, then the Matapedia River.
Amqui's heritage railway station is a wooden building from 1904. There are two covered bridge nearby: one at Anses-Saint-Jean Bridge and the other in Amqui.
The Matapedia River and Plateaus Circuit is a tourist circuit along the Matapedia River and crossing the plateaus of the Matapedia valley. The Circuit of the gardens and covered bridges is a tourist circuit following Routes 132 and 195 to discover the floral and historical treasures of the region.
The Matapedia Valley is renowned for its outdoor activities, including skiing, hunting, and fishing. Salmon fishing is popular on Matapedia River.
Val-d'Irène offers 26 trails for snowboarders and downhill skiers in addition to many snowshoeing trails.
For hikers, the International Appalachian Trail cuts through the valley. Additionally, the Seignory of Lac-Matapédia Regional Park provides many trails through the Chic-Choc mountains.