The Malbaie River in the Charlevoix region empties into the Saint Lawrence River at La Malbaie. Until 1985 the river was used to transport logs downstream. It flows through a steep valley known as Les Hautes Gorges. A sugar maple and American elm forest grows in the gorge and has remained largely undisturbed for hundreds of years.

Malbaie River
Rivière Malbaie (in French)
Physical characteristics
SourcePetit lac Tristan
 ⁃ locationLac-Jacques-Cartier (unorganized territory), Capitale-Nationale, Quebec, Canada
 ⁃ coordinates47°28′38″N 70°08′50″W / 47.47713°N 70.14722°W / 47.47713; -70.14722
 ⁃ elevation893 m (2,930 ft)
MouthSaint Lawrence Estuary
 ⁃ location
La Malbaie, Capitale-Nationale, Quebec, Canada
 ⁃ coordinates
47°39′18″N 70°08′50″W / 47.65500°N 70.14722°W / 47.65500; -70.14722
 ⁃ elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length161 km (100 mi)[1]
Basin size2,059 km2 (795 sq mi)[2]
Basin features
 ⁃ left(upstream)
  • Côte du Pontage Creek, Bouliane Waterway,
  • Comporté River, Dufour Creek,
  • Villeneuve Creek, Desbiens Creek,
  • Jacob River, Snigole River,
  • Lac des Hay, Castors Creek,
  • American Creek, Pont Creek,
  • Scott Creek, Flat Lake Discharge,
  • John Creek, Amie Lake Discharge,
  • Cran Rouge Creek, Crouch River],
  • Brooks Creek Cows,
  • discharge of Lac Du Lac and Bigras Lake,
  • Chemin des Canots River,
  • dump of Joinville Lake, dump of Lac Pigeon,
  • du Lac du Fond dump, river of Hell,
  • dump Lake Saturday,
  • lake discharge (Sunday to Friday),
  • Jack Creek, Silenus Pond outlet,
  • Lac Carrot outlet, Lac Lamfort outlet.
 ⁃ right(upstream)

Le parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie is home to Eastern Canada's tallest rock-faced cliffs. Designated a national park (of the province of Québec) in 2000, the 233-km2 Hautes-Gorges is the centrepiece of the UNESCO Charlevoix biosphere reserve.


Course of Malbaie River at the height of the city of Clermont, downstream from the municipal park.
Bay at low tide at the mouth of the Malbaie River, in La Malbaie. This bay also receives the waters of the Mailloux River (west shore) and of the Côte à Pontage Creek (east side)..

"Little Tristan Lake" is the "head lake" of the Malbaie River hydrographic slope. It is located in a swampy area in a small valley of mountains. It discharges to the north where water flows 1.0 kilometre (0.62 mi) through swamps to Tristan Lake (1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) long) that flows through its full length from south to north. The landfill continues for 3.0 kilometres (1.9 mi) north to Gamache Lake (0.86 km), which crosses the stream from south to north for 0.6 kilometres (0.37 mi). This last lake has a large central island. From Gamache Lake, the waters flow north for 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) to the outlet of Lamfort Lake. From there, the Malbaie River descends for 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) to Fradette Lake (2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi), oriented to the northeast), which flows through to its full length. Lake Frenette receives by the north-west the waters of lakes Carroll, Milton and Brunette. From the mouth of Fradette Lake, the river flows 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) northeast to Lake Malbaie. The current of the Malbaie River crosses this lake from south to north for 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi).

The Malbaie Lake outlet is located to the north. From its mouth, the waters flow to the northeast for 3.8 kilometres (2.4 mi) to the outlet of a series of lakes, including Jack Lake, Fronsac Lake, and Jack Lake. From there, the Malbaie River continues its course to the east, then going up north and then turning south to la Malbaie in the St. Lawrence River.


In 1608, Samuel de Champlain named this stream "Rivière Platte" or "Malle Baye". After the English conquest, the seigneuries of Mount Murray and Murray Bay, so that the English have long named this river Murray River. With time, the Malbaie river finally prevails.[1]

Champlain calls the bay "Malbaie" in the sense of bad because of the fact that at low tide the latter dries up and the boats run aground. As for "Murray", he owes his name to James Murray, first governor of province of Quebec, which conceded two seigneuries at the mouth of the river.[3]

See alsoEdit

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Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Rivière Malbaie". Banque de noms de lieux du Québec. Commission de toponymie Québec. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  2. ^ Perron, Normand; Gauthier, Serge (2000). Histoire de Charlevoix. Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture. ISBN 2-89224-304-1.
  3. ^ "La Malbaie". Banque de noms de lieux du Québec. Commission de toponymie Québec. Retrieved 4 September 2011.