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 200km 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. More importantly, the trail benefits from the entire tourist infrastructure that developed when the train used to bring thousands of people into the Laurentians for summer vacations and winter skiing from the 1930s to the 1960s. Shuttles drop off your luggage at B&B’s every day, while refreshments and meals are available in villages along the way.
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.
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. Every summer, the city comes to life with the local Folk Festival and a diverse summer events program. 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 Riviere-du-Nord regional park. Overnight centrally-located hotel.
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.
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 goes near the resort area, but not through it - It 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.
Today's ride takes you through the towns of Saint-Faustin–Lac-Carré and Sainte-Agathe-des-Montes, 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.
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 more. 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.
Per Person, Twin Share