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Gaspe Bicycle Tour

National Geographic lists the Gaspé Peninsula as one of the top 20 worldwide destinations. Where the Appalachian Mountain range reaches the sea, Quebec’s Gaspé (Gaspésie) Peninsula is a coastline of dizzying cliffs, small coves, rocky capes and fine sand beaches. An enormous territory where picturesque scenery reigns, it is one of the top bike touring routes in Canada. 

For this tour we are taking on both sides of the Gaspé. This is a big tour at just over 700 kilometers (439 miles).   We will begin our trip at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, considered the start of the Gaspesie.  We will cross the peninsula, through Gaspesie Park.  We reach the Bay of Chaleur side and work our way eastward toward incredible ocean panoramas.  At Percé we visit the famed summer town, nesting home of 250,000 birds and site of legendary Rocher-Percé, the haunting limestone arch that rises from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.   

Now we have reached the hills.  We will face some serious cycling along the St. Lawrence River side of the Gaspe.  Having about as much elevation climb as our comparable Cape Breton Island Bicycle Tour, the Gaspé hills will not be as high or steep, but more constant. While certainly a big challenge, moderate cyclists who realize what they will be in for will get through.  As on all tours we will be offering the help of our support crew.  After three days on the more rugged side of the Gaspe Peninsula we reach our end point back at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.

Tour Outline

Gaspe Bicycle Tour Outline 
Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Parc Gaspesie
Parc Gaspesie to New Richmond
New Richmond to Pabos
Pabos to Percé
Percé to Gaspe
Gaspe to Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park to Rivière-au-Renard Rivière-au-Renard to Grande-Valléee Grande-Valléee to Mont-Saint-Pierre
Mont-Saint-Pierre to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts

Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Parc Gaspesie  43 km (26 mi.)
We have our tour meeting and reception breakfast at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.  We will start with a short day into the interior of the peninsula to Parc Gaspesie.  There are hikes and other activities available. 

Parc Gaspesie to New Richmond 108 km (67 mi.) 
Our first longer day, we complete our way across the peninsula, following a long river valley.  We end at the Bay of Chaleur at a shoreline camp at the town of New Richmond.   

 New Richmond to Pabos 113 km (70 mi.)
We take another full day of cycling to allow  a short day to Perce. We follow the southern side of the Gaspe, along the Bay of Chaleur.  We pass several small towns, ending with another seaside camp.

Pabos to Percé 47 km (29 mi.)
We end at a camp with spectacular views at Percé.  In is bay sits Percé Rock, the haunting limestone arch rising from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, one of the most recognizable of all Canada’s natural wonders.  The Percé area is ideal for hiking, bird watching, sea kayaking and many other outdoor activities.  We will be be doing an option for an area tour for those wishing to cycle.  There are many good restaurants and interesting shops. An excursion to Bonaventure Island offers a chance to visit the most accessible northern gannet colony in the world.  There are also seals and whales.  Bonaventure Island also offers four hiking trails and a historic heritage trail that reflects the island’s prosperous past.  We will also pick a gathering place in town for the evening.

Percé to Gaspe 85 km (53 mi.)
After the steep hill getting out of Percé we can relax at Haldimand Beach is located  from town, in a fabulous setting, with Parc Forillon in the background.  After our break a paved cycling path takes us into the town of Gaspé.  There are several good coffee shops and places to rest before the final push to camp. We will do a shuttle for riders into town for a restaurant gathering.

Gaspe to Forillon National Park  59 km (37 mi.)
Under the ground of a picnic rest-stop we find Fort Penouille, an interesting and explorable WW2 gun emplacement built to defend Gaspe from U-boats. Nearby, Presqu’ile de Penouille Peninsula offers interpretations of vegetation among the sand dunes.  An option is to go to the very end of the Gaspé Peninsula, the Cap-Gaspé. An historic farming and fishing area, Parks Canada has preserved some buildings from past times and has interesting interpretation areas. The Grande-Grave National Heritage Site outlines the way of life of the pioneering fishing families. There is an optional 4 km walking trail out to a lighthouse overlooking a rocky cliff. There is a fair amount of wildlife in this area, including cormorants, gannets, eiders, seals, whales, and other marine animals.

A narrow, mountainous peninsula that extends into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Forillon National Park marks the eastern end of the Appalachian mountain chain. Among the mountains are meadows, filled with wildflowers. These create a habitat, perhaps more than most national parks, for black bears. There are also moose, deer, beaver, and other wildlife. In the park’s waters are seals and different whale species, such as fin whales, minke whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Important colonies of seabirds include the double-crested cormorant, the black-legged kittiwake gull, and the razorbill. There are also rare artic-alpine plants for this far south, which give this park its unique character. Here at the end point of the Gaspé Peninsula we will have the rest of the day to explore. We can walk along the pebble beaches, and take photography of the steep cliffs overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A hike to the Mont Saint-Alban Tower at 283 metres high offers views to the Cap-des-Rosiers lighthouse, Canada’s tallest, as well as the Bay of Gaspé, the Forillon Peninsula and as far as Percé Rock. 

Forillon National Park to Rivière-au-Renard  35 km (22 mi.)
An easy day, we will have time to do some exploring before leaving Forillon National Park.  We can visit Cap-des-Rosiers lighthouse, Canada’s tallest.  Rivière-au-Renard is the fishing capital of the Gaspe Peninsula. Fish and seafood of all kinds are landed, unloaded and processed here. Riders can explore around taking photos.  Tonight will be our picnic social.

Rivière-au-Renard to Grande Vallée  68 km (42 mi.)
This will be the most challenging day of our tour, with 1,100 metres of climbing.  There  are not a lot of overly steep climbs, but a lot of up and down over   As usual, we will have our support team offering assistance.  We end at Grande Vallée, overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Grande Vallée to Mont-Saint-Pierre  63 km (39 mi.)
Still in the hills, we will have a couple of big climbs before they level off at Rivière Madeleine.  Mont-St. Pierre is our stopping point, a cozy village of under 200 people nestled in a tiny valley, with cliffs on either side.

Mont-Saint-Pierre to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts  63 km (39 mi.)
Our last day of cycling offers rolling terrain along the Saint Lawrence River to where we all met at  Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.

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