Québec’s Route verte covers more than 5,000 km of mixed-use trails, bike paths and scenic roads across the province from the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the shores of the Gaspé to the Laurentians north of Montréal. Québec has plenty of great cities to stay in on your cycling holiday and must-ride routes are scattered throughout the province. Along the Route verte, cyclists can stop at numerous destinations of interest that will provide scenic views, a fun day trip or activities for the whole family. Here are eight destinations you should check out if you are cycling in Québec.
Stop 1: Parc National du Bic
On your ride out of Rimouski on Route 132, you will come across Parc National du Bic. Don’t simply ride past because hidden along the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary are stunning capes, bays, coves, islands and mountains home to seabirds, seals and unique flora and fauna. You’ll pass right through the park if you follow the Route verte. Exploring this beautiful natural reserve is a must on a trip through the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. In order to take your time hiking, kayaking and discovering the park’s natural wonders, stop and rest for the night at Auberge du Mange-Grenouille or stay in a cabin, yurt or at one of the campsites within the confines of the park. You’re sure to build up an appetite throughout a couple of days of riding and exploring Parc National du Bic, so you’ll deserve to treat yourself to a meal at Chez Saint-Pierre where award winning chef Colombe St-Pierre cooks up seasonal delicacies.
Stop 2: Parc Jean-Drapeau
After cycling around the Island of Montréal, make sure to stop on your ride at Parc Jean-Drapeau, which you can access from the Route verte. The park spans Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame in the middle of the St. Lawrence with 25 km of trails through green spaces where you will discover a variety of recreational opportunities, public artwork and entertainment facilities adjacent to Montréal’s downtown. Cyclists can ride on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, the 4,361-m-long F1 track that features annually in the Grand Prix du Canada. It’s a unique experience. Throughout the year, the park hosts outdoor festivals and events, such as Piknic Électronik, îleSoniq Montréal and Osheaga. In summer, go for a swim at Jean-Doré beach or spent a thrill-seeking day at La Ronde amusement park. Come evening, the Casino de Montréal lights up. Maybe extend your stay to explore one of the two museums in the park. Parc Jean-Drapeau is afterall a very short ride from the Island of Montréal so make sure to check it out during your stay in the city.
Stop 3: Village Historique de Val-Jalbert
On your ride around Lac-Saint-Jean, you will come across the Village Historique de Val-Jalbert between Chambord and Roberval. Here, more than 40 period buildings from the pulp-and-paper-company town remain intact as they were more than 100 years ago. Explore the grounds to discover the culture and history of Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean. Highlights include the convent school, general store, post office, abandoned houses and the pulp mill where a presentation immerses visitors in the manufacturing process. Check out the breathtaking Ouiatchouan Falls. There name comes from the Innu language and means “clear-water river.” Stairs and trails can bring you to five view points, perfect for snapping photos and shooting some video to capture the roaring waters. After your visit, be sure to continue exploring the 256 km of beautiful cycling offered on the Véloroute des Bleuets that loops around Lac-Saint-Jean. Base yourself along the shores of the lake at the Auberge des Îles. After your riding, fill your belly with fresh farmer’s cheese, aged cheddars and two types of soft cheese and pastries at Fromagerie Boulangerie Médard.
Stop 4: Sorel-Tracy
Ride the Route verte northeast of Montréal. It will take you to the point where the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers meet in the Montérégie. Here you will ride into Sorel-Tracy where the Route verte becomes La Sauvagine, a rails-to-trails project. The town has a nice waterfront with a trail that lets you enjoy scenic views of the St. Lawrence. If the weather is on your side, catch a beautiful sunset after your ride. During the summer, you can enjoy the Statera multimedia experience on the Catherine-Legardeur wharf where you will discover the natural, cultural and historical legacy of Sorel-Tracy. A quick trip to the east of the town will take you to the Lake St. Pierre Biosphere reserve, home to the largest-known heron colony in North America. Stay at the Hotel de la Rive in Sorel-Tracy or, to be closer to nature, stay at Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site’s oTENTik Lodging.
Stop 5: City of Magog
Founded in the 18th century, the city of Magog is a favourite year-round destination in the Eastern Townships. From the town, you will ride and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Memphremagog or can head up to Parc National du Mont-Orford where you will swap your bike for hiking shoes to discover what the park has on offer. On the Route verte, you can enter Magog from the east as you make your way through the countryside from Sherbrooke. In the west, the route splits off north to Drummondville, west to Montréal or south to Sutton, where you can travel to taste local wines. You’ll want to stay in Magog for a couple of days so spend the night at Espaces 4 saisons or pitch a tent at Camping Domaine Parc-Estrie. While in Magog, indulge your sweet tooth after a day of cycling or hiking Mont-Orford at Chocolats Vanden Eynden.
Stop 6: The Twin Covered Bridges
Just off the P’tit train du Nord linear park, the 200-km section of the Route verte that runs into the Laurentians from the north shore of Montréal, you can ride into Ferme-Rouge where you will come across the Twin Covered Bridges built in 1903. They are the only remaining historic town-style covered bridges in the province. On your ride to this pastoral feature, you will pass along La Route des Belles Histoires where heritage train stations offer the perfect places to stop and take in the region’s history. At the end of the P’tit train du Nord, make sure to check out the Gare de Mont-Laurier, built in 1908. For your night’s rest in the Laurentians, stay at the Quality Inn Hotel Mont-Laurier or the Best Western.
Stop 7: Parc des chutes Coulonge
Follow the Ottawa River on the Route verte and you will ride into the heart of the Outaouais region. Here you will come to the Parc des chutes Coulonge. Don’t miss the chance to explore this destination that features some beautiful waterfalls and canyons. You’ll have to get off your bike to get into the park where a network of pedestrian trails, footbridges and lookouts offer the chance to discover the area’s natural waterworks. After a long day of riding and hiking, you will want to settle in for a night’s rest at the Auberge Spruceholme Inn. The next day, you may want to keep exploring the region on your bike. Take the the 92-km Cycloparc PPJ. This is a mixed-use-trail and park developed around old rail lines between Wyman and L’Isle-aux-Allumettes.
Stop 8: Parc linéaire des Bois-Francs
Those seeking a quiet ride through the countryside will find the Parc linéaire des Bois-Francs ideal for a getaway in the Centre-du-Québec. The route is mostly compact stone dust and follows the path of an old railway line. On the 77-km section of the Route verte, you will pass through the quaint towns of Warwick, Saint-Christophe-d’Arthabaska, Victoriaville, Princeville, Plessisville and Laurierville, which feature paved sections of the route. Created in 1997, this stretch was one of the first sections of the Route verte. The Parc linéaire des Bois-Francs connects to a vast network of bike routes that can take you east to Québec City and area, or south to Eastern Townships. While in Centre-du-Québec, ride the trail and connect it with the Panoramic tour of Victoriaville and region or seek out the 15-km of singletrack at Mount Arthabaska. For a good sleep, stay the night at the Victorin Hôtel & Congrès or for a nice camping experience base yourself at Camping Plage des Sables.
Regions and Routes
- Great cities to stay in
- Must ride routes
- Saugenay- Lac-Saint-Jean
- Eastern Townships
- The Laurentians
- Centre-du Quebec