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Did you know?
From the woodlands of Gatineau Park to the border with New Brunswick, The Great Trail measures over 1,700 kilometres in Quebec.
Did you know that Quebec produces 92% of Canada’s maple syrup? Discover this proud tradition by visiting one of the many érablières, or maple farms, located on Trail sections like the parc linéaire des Bois-Francs.
A section of the Trail in Wendake, known as the Corridor des Cheminots, passes through Huron-Wendat territory. Here, visitors can experience the myths, customs and traditions of local Indigenous peoples at the Huron-Wendat museum and numerous historic sites. Huron-Wendat Nation, located 25 minutes from Quebec City, also hosts an international pow-wow every year.
Don’t let snow get in the way of your adventures on the Trail! Numerous Trail sections in Quebec are groomed for snowmobiling during the winter months, including Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Véloroute des Draveurs and le Parc linéaire de la MRC Lotbinière.
The Great Trail is over 24,000 kilometres long and traverses every province and territory in Canada – making it the longest network of recreational, multi-use trails in the world!
A long weekend cycle trip in the Laurentians: Le P’tit Train du Nord
Le P’tit Train du Nord is a 232-kilometre linear park that follows a former railway line from the outskirts of Montréal (Bois-des-Filion) to the town of Mont-Laurier. Summer along Le P’tit Train du Nord is a feast for the senses: gorgeous greenspaces, handsome mountains and lazy rivers. The trail surface is either asphalt or crushed stone, making it accessible for cycling. This itinerary can theoretically be squeezed into a long weekend. But if you have extra time, we recommend staying two nights at one (or both) of the stops along the way. The best time for peddling is when the weather is mild, typically between May and October. Bon voyage!
Day One: Mont-Laurier to Nominingue (58 km)
Considered ‘kilometre 200’ of Le P’tit Train du Nord, the town of Mont-Laurier is the northern trailhead of this Trail section. The Latin motto of the town is Laurus elationis praemium, which translates to “Lift the laurels of reward”. That could be interpreted in a multitude of ways, but we like to think of it this way: you’re about to embark upon a rewarding trip. If you plan to arrive and stay the night, Mont-Laurier offers a selection of familiar hotel brands: Quality Inn, Super 8, Best Western Plus and Comfort Inn. The Gare de Mont-Laurier also features a bike repair station for any last tune-ups!
Equipped a pharmacy and a grocery store, Lac-des-Écorces, which means Bark Lake in English, is an opportunity to grab any supplies you may have forgotten before starting out. If you time your journey right, you can catch the local Festival de Musique Country de Lac-des-Écorces, which is held at the end of July each year.
Each summer, the Nominingue train station – constructed in 1904 – is turned into an exhibition centre. You’ll find antique photographs, local handmade crafts, video clips about regional history and occasionally a live musician! The wharf is an ideal spot to relax with a post-ride iced coffee.
A culinary-centred country inn, Auberge Chez Ignace is located on the Nominingue Lake (at kilometre 142). Owners Cécile and Tony run a tight ship, with comfortable rooms, a full breakfast and a genuinely warm welcome. Sore cyclists take note: there’s an onsite hot tub!
Day Two: Nomininque to Mont-Tremblant (63 km)
The town is named after Rouge River – a tributary of the Ottawa River – that runs through the area. Along the Trail, you’ll find a tourist welcome office, an exhibition centre and sanitary facilities. Kids of any age will enjoy the mini water park, which is a perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day.
This handsome hamlet at the kilometre 107 mark is an ideal place to stop for a bite to eat, and to learn more about this former rail line. La Gare de Labelle offers a selection of hearty, or simply an ice cream to refuel. Cyclists can also make use of the nearby bike repair station, free Wi-Fi and toilet facilities.
Visitors could spend several days exploring the Mont-Tremblant region. In the summer months, a trip to the top of Tremblant – the highest peak in the Laurentians – provides ample views. Although the Panoramic Gondola will zip you to the summit in a matter of minutes, more ambitious adventurers can hike all the way up. The European-style village offers a great selection of boutiques and gourmet bistros. If you’re craving a luxurious treat, you can rejuvenate your quadriceps with a massage at the Scandinave Spa.
Charming, homey and close to the main village, the Auberge Le Voyageur B&B is a popular option for cyclists along Le P’tit Train du Nord. All the rooms have air conditioning and private bathrooms, and the gourmet breakfasts will keep you fuelled for hours. For those wishing to remain outside of the hustle and bustle of Mont-Tremblant, Les Jardins de L’Achillée Millefeuille (at kilometre 97) offers a more serene option. Eat dinner in the Victorian-inspired garden and listen to the singing of nighthawks as you refuel after your busy day.
Day Three: Mont-Tremblant to Saint-Jérôme (91)
Val-David is the cradle of rock climbing in Quebec. The small town is also famous for its artistic character, making it a wonderful place to stop for a meal or an overnight stay. To satisfy your comfort food cravings, visit Le Mouton Noir and order La Biquette – a poutine garnished with fig and goat’s cheese! Check the bistro’s website for evening performances. Craft aficionados will also love the potter’s paradise of Boutique Galerie Kinya Ishikawa.
No, this town is not named after the beloved British vocalist, but you can sing “Hello” if you want. Sainte-Adèle is home to the official headquarters of Le P’tit Train du Nord (1490 rue St. Joseph), and the staff is always happy to have visitors pop in to say hi. For a relaxing break, stretch your legs along the edge of Rivière du Nord, or grab a cappuccino at the Café de la Gare. You’ll also find a bike repair shop also onsite.
Located at ‘kilometre zero’ of the trail, the town of Saint-Jérôme offers a wide selection of amenities, such as Place de la Gare, which offers picnic tables, washrooms, water fountains and tourist information. History lovers will appreciate the heritage panels dotted throughout the town.
If you’re not ready to finish your trail adventure yet, you can cycle 32 kilometres further to Bois-des Filion (the southern end of the P’tit Train du Nord). This section, while less scenic, is paved and safe.
Fly to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM), which offers direct flights from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). For more information on luggage transfers and bike shuttles, visit Autobus Le Petit Train du Nord. Certain parts of the trail – especially in the north – have limited service options for long stretches. We recommend carrying enough water and snacks to last for four hours. The Tourisme Laurentides website offers a downloadable service guide for Le P’tit Train du Nord.