Cycle the famous rail trail through charming villages of Quebec’s Laurentians

Just north of Montreal lies the longest park of its kind in Canada. “Le P’tit Train du Nord” (Little Train of the North) linear park features a 200-km cycle path built over an old railway line from Saint-Jérôme to Mont-Laurier. It is a gentle, mostly crushed gravel trail that takes you along an old settler’s route through lush “Laurentides” countryside, charming villages and abandoned, restored train stations. Unlike many rail trails which are laid out in straight lines, this trail curves around rivers, lakes, and the base of mountains. Shuttles drop off your luggage at B&B’s every day, while refreshments and meals are available in villages along the way.

DAY 1 - Arrive Saint-Jérôme Toggle Arrow

Make your way to your joining hotel in Saint-Jérôme, the Laurentians’ regional capital. With the “Place des Festivités” as its cultural centre, this is the gateway town and location of KM-0 of the P’tit Train du Nord. There are plenty of ways to spend your day – Visit one of the museums, shops, bistros, terraces, or a local microbrewery (micro brasserie).

Enjoy the outdoors with a visit to the open air market, follow a historical walking route complete with heritage panels, or enjoy wildlife interpretive trails, hiking, and paddling in Rivière-du-Nord regional park. Overnight centrally-located hotel.

Meals: NIL

DAY 2 - Mont-Laurier to Nominingue (55km) Toggle Arrow

This morning, make your way to the bike shop near KM-0 of the trail where you collect your bikes, make adjustments, and then are transferred north to the trail’s end (km-200) in Mont-Laurier non private shuttle service). Mont-Laurier is the regional capital of the Upper Laurentians with many outdoor activities at its doorstep.

During the summer, “Les Promenades Decouvertes” and the “Centre d’Exposition” offer an inside look at the local culture. From the trail’s end, make your way toward Nominingue via Lac-des-Ecorces and Lac-Saguay with plenty of opportunity for a lake-side picnic along the way. At your accommodation in Nominingue, enjoy a gourmet 3 course dinner as you relax in this idyllic setting.

Meals: B, D

DAY 3 - Nominingue to Mont-Tremblant (60km) Toggle Arrow

After breakfast, either stay and enjoy Nominingue’s wharf, public beach, or local biking trails or head straight back onto the rail trail and continue south to Tremblant.

Enjoy a pretty ride along the shore of Lac Nominingue, explore the charming rail town of Rivière Rouge with its inviting main street and green spaces, and perhaps stop in the village of Labelle and enjoy lunch next to the trail or the river. Soon you will be approaching the hills famous for winter ski excursions. Mont-Tremblant is most widely-known for its resort area; a European-style pedestrian village at the base of the ski hills with plenty of tourist shops, restaurants, and condos. In the summer, it is the base for exploring hiking trails of Mont-Tremblant National Park, and enjoying festivals. The rail trail passes through the lake-side Village and larger ‘Downtown’ which each have their own character and facilities. We roll into a comfortable and well-located B&B for the night.

Meals: B

DAY 4 - Mont-Tremblant to Val-David (49km) Toggle Arrow

Today’s ride takes you through the towns of Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré and Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, both rich with culture, outdoor activities, and plenty of opportunities to explore.

Take a stroll/ride around Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré with some 30 outdoor sculptures, the Love Tree and its Love Locks, the Maison des Arts et de la Culture, the old station heritage building and the century-old church. Enjoy a local brew on one of its outdoor terraces. Sainte-Agathe-des-Montes is a service town and activity hub set on Lac des Sables with a bustling downtown, lovely beaches, and outdoor shows on the lakeside. Your home for tonight is Val-David, a pretty little artist town and rock climber’s haven surrounded by forest and home to good lodging and excellent cuisine.

Meals: B

DAY 5 - Val-David to Saint-Jérôme (42km) Toggle Arrow

Clearly entering the outskirts of a big city, your ride today takes you through the small residential town of Piedmont and the more highly-populated Prévost, nuzzled up against escarpment cliffs and with the Rivière-du-Nord running through its old village.

Prévost offers a number of attractions, including the Rivière-du-Nord regional park, the century-old rail station, and the Parc de la Coulée with its multi-use recreational trails. In town, visit artisan studios (painting and glass), local antique shops, and much ore. It’s not long before you’re rolling back into familiar Saint-Jérôme as you cruise toward the ‘finish line’ at Place de la Gare where you drop off your bikes, enjoy a celebratory beverage, and say ‘au revoir’ to Le P’tit Train Du Nord.

Meals: B

A note on our self-guided adventures

Self-guided cycling requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!). If you’ve never been on a self-guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of it as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. We provide a 7-day hotline in the event of any problems.

Highlights and costs

You will love

  • The ‘joie de vivre’ of the Quebecois
  • The charming, world-class resort town of Mont-Tremblant
  • Riding passed countless rivers, lakes and beaches
  • The picturesque backdrop of the Laurentian Mountains
  • Dining like the locals on charming outdoor terraces
  • Learning the history of the rail villages and restored railway stations

Level of difficulty

Introductory. The rail trail is an easy, mostly flat, gravel surface. Distances each day are short (42-60km), so this itinerary is suitable for even the most beginner cyclists, including active children 7 years and older.

Cost

From $1,060 per person based on double occupancy, plus applicable taxes. Single supplement: $330, plus applicable taxes. Departures: Sundays and Mondays from 17 June to 01 Oct

Inclusions

What’s included

  • 4-night accommodation with private facilities (twin share)
  • 4 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Hybrid bicycle rental including helmet, 2 panniers, lock, and basic repair kit
  • Daily luggage transfer
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • $50 donation to Trans Canada Trail

 

What’s not included

  • Travel to/from Saint-Jerome
  • Guide (this is a self?guided tour)
  • Personal expenses and any expense not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Airfare, visas, travel insurance (required)

Book your self-guided tour here

How to get there

  • By car, Saint-Jérôme is approximately 1-hour north by car from Montreal via Autoroute 15N.
  • By bus, daily service across the Laurentians is available from Montreal.
  • By local train, Saint-Jérôme is serviced by Réseau de Transport Métropolitain
  • By air, the nearest international airport is Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL), approximately 1 hour away by road.
  • Parking If you chose to drive to Saint-Jérôme, you can leave your car at the parking lot where you pick up your bicycle rental.

Promoting responsible travel

The environments we travel through are fragile. It is our responsibility as visitors to minimize the impact of our presence. World Expeditions were the proud recipients of the inaugural Australian National Travel Industry’s Environmental Achievement award for our Responsible Travel Guidebook. This detailed guide to responsible and sustainable travel is provided to all Great Canadian Trails clients before they travel. Alternatively, you may like to download a copy from Great Canadian Trails’ website.

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