Since 2000 we have been steadily and diligently exploring the road biking of Quebec. First we explored everything that was located a one hour away from Montreal. Then we explored everything two hours from Montreal. Now we are working on the three+ hours from Montreal list.
But our exploratory adventuring has been mainly road cycling. What about off-road cycling?
Two years ago we got our 4th iteration of the mountain bike genre (replacing a dead-for-ten-years bike), and began to explore Quebec's off-road possibilities. But in the two years since we have visited only one mountain bike destination. The good news is that this destination is East Hereford/Mont Hereford in the Eastern Townships (near Coaticook southeast of Sherbrooke), a destination that we fell completely in love with and visited a dozen times. But the problem was that we never explored anywhere else.
We have some time for a little road trip, and our exploration goals direct us to the northeast. After extensive research through our vast library of Quebec regional tourism maps and guidebooks we decided to destinate the road trip to the Vallée-Bras-du-Nord/St-Raymond area in the Portneuf region (west of Quebec city on north side of St-Laurence river) and to (provincial) Parc national de la Jacques Cartier north of Quebec city. Both of these are supposed to have good-to-excellent mtn biking, hiking, and river canoeing. (canoeing is an excellently fun thing to do in summer, and both these places have rental opportunities). And both of these places have truly spectacular natural settings.
Quebec is big, and it takes a long to time to explore it all. This means years and years of fun exploring, and eventually we will ride all the very best cycling places in Quebec. And we will ride and ride and ride until we eventually die one day in the late 21st century of what we are sure will be an overdose of pure cycling-induced happiness.
We recommend this to all people: ride your bike and have fun and explore and have fun and ride some more, and explore some more and have fun riding and do it again tomorrow. Summer is short, play hard.
Update: Several Mountain bike trails were closed and/or wet, so we went for a hike on day 1. Bad idea, because we were left semi-crippled after the 9 hour hike and came home for some therapeutic recovery. The good news is that the Sentier des Falaises is a beauty of a hike, and is great cross training for the cyclist.
We will be back again soon (ok, maybe after mosquito season) to bike on and off road in this lovely region of Quebec.
The view from Sentier des Falaises, and of Chute Delaney (falls) which is quite a landmark!
Inside Refuge des Falaiases, a mere four hour hike from the car.
We didn't see any bears, but lots of moose tracks and this shark fossil.
You are required to contribute some coin for the trail development in this area, or your conscience will getcha!
What to do if you see a bear? Don't look it in the eyes and if it attacks: fight back. Oh boy!