Located north of Québec City and emptying into the St. Lawrence River, Saguenay is the most southerly fjord in the Northern Hemisphere. The fjord and its surrounding dense woodlands supported native peoples for centuries, but it only took about 50 years for European settlers to deforest most of it in the late 19th century. In 1970, the Québec government began purchasing tracts of land along the fjord with the intention of protecting the region as the Saguenay Fjord National Park (Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay), finally established in 1983. The park is divided into three principal areas—the Baie-de-Tadoussac near the mouth of the fjord, the Baie-Sainte-Marguerite and, farthest inland, the Baie-Éternité.
Its spectacular setting, with the wide Saguenay River overlooked by steep wooded cliffs, makes the fjord a popular year-round destination for kayaking, hiking and cross-country skiing. The fjord is also the foundation of a fascinating ecosystem that supports several varieties of migrating cetaceans, making it a prime spot for whale-watching. On its conifer-covered shorelines, the park protects populations of beavers, black bears, lynx and moose.