After 36 fabulous years Atlantic Canada Cycling is no longer doing tours. We are now spending our retirement years enjoying cycling and helping people make use of our knowledge of bicycle touring. If you wish to follow in the tracks of our tours fell free to ask us questions on this great cycling route.
Route-Verte Bicycle Tour
The Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region is one of our favourite places. It is a tour that will have two distinct sections. The first will be along the Saguenay Fjord. While there will be a few big hills, overall our route on the east side is quite doable. The majority of the route for this part of the tour will follow a river through beautiful stretches of wilderness.
The second part of the tour will be an incredible cycling experience – on Quebec’s famed Route-Verte – almost three hundred kilometers of cycling paths along Lac Saint-Jean! Almost completely paved and well-maintained, more and more bicycle paths are being added every year to this incredible network. So much great cycling away from traffic! Plus, the route mostly follows along the lakeshore. There are countless rest areas along the shoreline, a few beaches, plenty of cafes, and other diversions, some reachable exclusively by cyclists on the path system.
The tour’s distances should offer a comfortable mix of cycling and socializing. There will be suggestions offered for more cycling each day to keep keeners busy, as well as non-cycling diversions.
This is a unique cycling tour in North America – one with the majority of its route beyond the reaches of car and truck traffic. Add in the interesting diversions Quebec’s culture brings along the way and you have our must-do tour.
Day 1 – Tadoussac to Sacre-Coeur
Day 2 – Sacre-Coeur to Sainte-Rose-du-Nord
Day 3 – Sainte-Rose-du-Nord to Saint-Honore
Day 4 – Saint-Honore to Hebertville
Day 5 – Hebertville to Alma
Day 6 – Alma to Dolbeau-Mistassini
Day 7 – Dolbeau-Mistassini to Normandin
Day 8 – Normandin to Roberval
Day 9 – Roberval to Saint-Gédéon
Day 10 – Return Transportation to Tadoussac
Day1 – Tadoussac to Sacre-Coeur 41 km (25 mi.)
Our first day is kept short after a late morning departure following our morning reception. We begin our tour at the very scenic and interesting small town of Tadoussac. It was France’s first settlement on the mainland of New France and an important trading post in the seventeenth century, making the town the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in Canada, and the oldest surviving French settlement in the Americas. There is a lot to do and explore for a small place. There are many good restaurants and fun places to shop and walk about.
Here where the Saguenay River pushes into the Saint Lawrence, the cold, salt water is brought to the surface and attracts a great number of marine mammals. This is one of the greatest whale-watching places of the world. At times the whales can even be seen from shore, there are a few great viewing spots we can lead you to. Almost this entire area has been designated as a marine protected zone, covering a large portion of the St. Lawrence Estuary and nearly the entire Saguenay Fjord.
Day 2 – Tadoussac to Sainte-Rose-du-Nord 62 km (39 mi.)
This is a spectacular day and after returning home may grow to be one of the most remembered. The second half of the route is through a protected, wilderness area. We will enjoy two to three hours riding along a winding riverside stretch of fields, rivers, forests and waterfalls. It is the home of small black bears, lynx, beavers, and moose. We emerge at what is considered one of the most attractive villages in all of Quebec, the very scenic village of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, nestled between hills along the fjord.
Day 3 – Sainte-Rose-du-Nord to Saint-Honore 53 km (33 mi.)
The biggest hill of our tour faces us the very first thing in the morning. It is a short day, however. We are planning time for people to explore Chicoutimi, the largest and most vibrant of the several areas that make up the city of Saguenay. There are some good restaurants and corners to explore here.
Day 4 – Saint-Honore to Hebertville 71 km (44 mi.)
We will reach the main Route-Verte cycling path, and take it first as far as Arvida. There are some good restaurants and corners to linger at. We then negotiate our way further though a complicated, but fun, network of bicycle paths. We pass through Jonquiere, the place with the highest percentage of French speakers of any city in North America. We wind our way along the newest section of the Route-Verte cycling network. Leaving the Saguenay region, we follow through forests and lakes toward Hebertville.
Day 5 – Hebertville to Alma 57 km (35 mi.)
We reach the shores of Lac Saint-Jean. Once we reach the huge lake we connect with the Route de Bleuets bicycle path system. The Véloroute des Bleuets (Blueberry Route) is a 256 loop, part of the Route-Verte system, that takes circles the lake through a variety of landscapes – including forests, farms, a huge park, and long stretches of shoreline. The terrain varies from flat to gently rolling hills to a few outright hills. We end at the city of Alma, with a small cycling network of its own.
Day 6 – Alma to Dolbeau-Mistassini 82 km (51 mi.)
We follow the cycling paths along Lac-Saint-Jean. Parc Pointe-Taillon is a forested preserve along Lac St-Jean. Inside it are 45 kilometres of trails. We will pass through the park, which is a protected haven for birds, beavers, and moose. There is a huge peat bog and also many varieties of forest plants. We end at a very nice camp on powerful Mistassini River, flowing behind us through a series of rapids, creating a peaceful atmosphere.
Day 7 – Dolbeau-Mistassini to Normandin 85 or 45 km (53 or 28 mi.)
There is an option today of exploring a new cycling trail. This trail is a 45 kilometer circuit passing along a river and series of rapids, beaver colonies, and many wild blueberry fields. This trail is not paved, in keeping with its special natural setting. We hope everyone will be able to join this section, but if any bikes have too narrow tires for it, we have some suggestions of other extra cycling routes. We end at another beautiful place with powerful rapids. The Ashuapmushuan River flows by us, the roar of its immense rapids lulling us to sleep.
Day 8 – Normandin to Roberval 53 km (33 mi.)
We follow the lakeshore, passing through several small towns and villages, including Mashteuiatsh, a surviving aboriginal community. There are several options to extend today’s cycling.
Day 9 – Roberval to Saint-Gédéon 52 km (32 mi.)
Our final day of riding. We complete our circuit of the Route Verte/Route-Bluets around Lac St-Jean. We will have time today to relax on the beach. This small town is home to the highly rated Microbrasserie du Lac Saint-Jean. They have a restaurant on site, which we will drop by in the evening.
Day 10 – Return Transportation to Tadoussac
We wind our way back to our starting point and our farewells