Cycling Quebec: Villages, Canals, and Montreal
This week-long bike camping trip took us from northern Vermont, through the Eastern Townships of Quebec, on to Montreal, along the Soulang and Beauharnois canals on either side of the St. Lawrence, and back through the Circuit de Paysans area of southwestern Quebec. It was a nice mix of on-road, paved bike path, and packed stone dust bike paths, with gentle terrain and surprises at every turn! This tour is featured on our Bike New England Tour disk and with online access. Lake Carmi State Park in Vermont was our start-out location. It's just a few miles from the Quebec border and the beautiful Eastern Township villages that are popular with Montreal tourists.
Sunday: From the lake, we go south 3 miles to catch the nearby stone-dust Missisoquoi Rail Trail, which extends 26 miles from St. Albans to the Canadian border at Richford. We head east from there, staying in Vermont until we reach Newport. Turning north, we cross the border into the Eastern Townships of Quebec near Stanstead and Bebee Plain, and camp for the night at Camping Lac Frontiere in Stanstead.
Monday: We start out again today on the 19 kilometer Tomifobia Nature Trail, a former railway converted to a stone-dust cycling path. At Ayer's Cliff, we pass below Lac Massawipi and continue on to Magog, near Lac Memphremagog. Here we join the Route Verte, Quebec's 3000 km cycling route, on a section known as the La Montagnade. We ride past Mount Orford, and Take La Route Verte 4 to the Parc National de la Yamaska, where we'll camp for the night.
Tuesday: We continue westward , joining Route Verte 1 (the Monteregiade 1) in Granby. After crossing the Richelieu River at St. Jean Sur Richelieu, we go north on the Piste du canal de Chambly (Chambly Canal bike path), another stone dust section of the Route Verte., where Lake Champlain becomes the Richelieu River. After passing Fort Chambly, we'll stay the night at the Parc Mont-Saint-Bruno .Our path today takes the gives us options of an on-road alternative ( the Circuit Chemin de l'Acadie)and the Circuit de la Riviere Richelieu. North of Forth Chambly we'll join the Circuit du Chemin des Patriotes and the Circuit des Chutes du Richelieu .
Wednesday: From Mont-Saint-Brono we turn back toward Chambly so that we can join a paved section of the Route Verte, eventually crossing the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (Saint Lawrence Seaway) on the Notre Dame or Champlain Bridges into Old Montreal, where a short bike route takes us right into the old city for lunch. You may wish to explore some other cycling routes in the city. Then we take the paved Lacine Canal Path from the Old Port of Montreal (or the southern coastal route alternative)to Lacine. We continue then along south of Montreal on Lake Shore Drive, crossing over to Pointe Des Cascades just to the west of the city on the Galipeau and Tsachereau bridges. We stay at Camping Pointe Des Cascades . Today's ride is about 50 miles.
Thursday: We take the paved Soulanges Canal Bikeway (part of the Route Verte)which goes to St. Zotique. At Les Cedres we take a bike ferry to St. Timothee. Crossing the island to the Beauharnois Canal, we'll take the Beauharnois Canal bikeway north to the town of Beauharnois. Here's another map of the bikeway. From there, the bike path goes east to Ste. Martine. We turn south on Rt. 203, a good cycling road, to Ste. Chrystome, staying the night at Camping Russeltown. Other routes in the same direction are the Circuit de l'Quest and the Circuit du Mont Rigaud .
Friday We continue today through the Monteregie section of Quebec near the US border along the Circuit du Paysan (literally, circuit of peasants) , a scenic loop through the farmlands of southwest Quebec. We ride a few miles east and take the Paysans Piste Multifunctionelle, a stone dust bike trail, which runs from Ste Clothide to Lacolle. A parallel on-road route is the Circuit d'Hemmingford from St. Clotilde to Lacolle. The Monteregie area is crossed with wonderful quiet cycling loops, which we will only be able to just touch on. We turn south on the Route Verte , and cross back into the US in Alburg on North Hero Island, surrounded by Lake Champlain. Heading east in Vermont, we pass through the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. From Swanton we follow the Missisquoi River on Rt. . 78, and join the Missisquoi Rail Trail for a few miles in Sheldon. In a few miles, we turn north on Rt. 136, and are soon back to Lake Carmi, the end of our trip. Today's ride is 68 miles.
Planning for the trip: The total for the tour is 7 days, a bit over 400miles, with an average of 55-60 miles per day on a mix of stone dust cycling trails and on-road routes. We stay in a group site, or two small tents on each individual site. We are usually on our own for food, eating along the way rather than carry food and cooking utensils. Being on our own, we don't have access to van support or other services, so make sure your bike and panniers are ready. For carrying my camping gear and clothes, I prefer pulling my one wheel Bob Yak trailer, while others prefer to use panniers. The Yak has more room for tents and has a lower center of balance, but is a bit cumbersome when parking. Panniers can easily be removed, but usually require larger objects such as sleeping bags and tents to be strapped on top. In any case, travel light; we always bring back items we didn't even use on the trip.
Cue Sheets and route map for
this tour including Ottawa:
(See access and log-in information below)
Day 2 St. Jean Sur Richelieu through Montreal to Pointe des Cascades
Day 3 Pointe des Cascades to Curran Ontario
Day 4 Curran to Ottawa
Day 5 Ottawa to the Long Sault Parkway
Day 6 Long Sault Parkway to Ste-Clothilde
Day 7 Ste-Clothilde to Lake Carmi
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