The Laurentians and the P'tit Train du Nord by Bike
Adventurers and cycling enthusiasts in the Laurentians, listen up!
Since its beginnings, the P’tit Train du Nord cycle path has been a must for biking tourism in North America. It offers you the chance to take the road for more than 200 km, which opens the door to a growing enthusiasm for cycling in Quebec and Canada.
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At Quantum, we believe there is an e-bike for everyone. In addition, we are convinced that you will never have so much fun cycling! In order to share our passion and our expertise, we invite you to come and discover the Quantum blog, for more advice and news about electric bikes.
See you on the road!
The Laurentian cycle routes
The Laurentians are an administrative region located north of Montreal, known for its vast spaces and magnificent round mountains. Nicknamed the Pays d’en haut, the Laurentians receive a multitude of tourists from all over the world, Mont-Tremblant being the main attraction.
Well-liked for its cross-country ski trails, the origin of the name Mont-Tremblant is very specific. The region’s natives believed that an entity, such as a devil or a great spirit, lived in the center of the mountain and that the mountain trembled when the entity was displeased or agitated (geological phenomena).
Spread over a total area of 20,548 km², the Laurentians are the perfect place for exploring the wilderness by electric bike in central Quebec and Canada.
Why choose cycle routes when biking?
This is a discussion that could cause debate among experienced cyclists. While some prefer the road, others prefer mountain biking. Nevertheless, it is possible to choose the best of both worlds: the cycle route.
The cycle route is generally located far from traffic, which allows travellers to discover this wonderful region without the noise of automobiles. The icing on the cake is that it’s ultra-safe.
Riding an electric bike in the Laurentians
When it comes to cycling circuits, the bar is set very high for other regions of Quebec, especially when compared to the Laurentians. Not only are there several proper cycle routes in this region, but there are also many picturesque villages and splendid landscapes all over, making it the ideal place for an e-bike tour.
Cycling fans could easily spend their entire vacation in the Laurentians, without even seeing it all! In short, hit the road with us, the Laurentians are waiting for you!
La Vagabonde cycle route
La Vagabonde is a pleasant 40 km-long cycle route, starting in Saint-Placide and ending in Saint-Eustache. The entire path is on a reserved lane separated from car traffic. La Vagabonde passes through the village of Oka and Parc national d’Oka (SÉPAQ).
Most of the trip between Oka and Saint-Placide follows the Ottawa River. The trail then reaches Lac des Deux Montagnes not far from Laval and Montreal.
La Vagabonde can also be used as an access point to several regions by electric bike, starting with the Montérégie. From downtown Oka, the seasonal ferry can take you to Hudson. From there, you are going towards Rigaud. The Prescott Russell Trail in Ontario–which goes to Ottawa–is also nearby.
The Vagabonde bike route also allows you to return to Laval, via two interesting access points, Saint-Eustache and Deux Montagnes.
The Vagabonde officially ends in Saint-Eustache. However, it is possible to make the connection between Saint-Eustache and Boisbriand via chemin de la Grande-Côte/QC-344 E, which has a reserved bike path.
Once in Boisbriand, you arrive directly south of the Laurentians from where you can take the P’tit Train du Nord path to continue your journey.
The Basses-Laurentides Linear Park
The Basses-Laurentides linear park is another cycle route that connects Saint-Jérôme to Laval, away from traffic. It is possible to take Route Verte #2 to get to Montreal.
Thanks to the Basses-Laurentides linear park, it is now possible to complete the entire route between Mont-Laurier and Montreal along a single linear route. In other words, this bike path stretches over 250 km.
So, if you find that the P’tit Train du Nord is not long enough, you can add a day or two to your itinerary to get to the Quebec metropolis.
La Seigneurie des Plaines bike path
The La Seigneurie des Plaines is a very recent bike path that opened in 2020. The timing was perfect considering that we were in the early stages of COVID-19 at that time.
This trail offers visitors a completely paved 21 km route between Blainville, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines and Terrebonne, suddenly becoming a connection between the Laurentians and Lanaudière.
It is possible to make a loop from Blainville to Terrebonne. Once in Lanaudière, take the TransTerrebonne trail to reach the Basses-Laurentides linear park, near Bois-des-Fillions.
La Villageoise-de-Mont-Tremblant is a paved bike circuit that allows you to explore the Mont-Tremblant region between Lac Mercier and Lac Tremblant. This bike path is located on the edge of the R-327 and crosses all the resort centers in the Mont-Tremblant region.
The Villageoise-de-Mont-Tremblant is approximately 12 kilometers-long and gives you quality access to a well-deserved vacation.
In addition, this kind of track will help you “slow travel”. Slow tourism is an alternative to mass tourism, which we could translate into “mindfulness tourism”. It encourages authenticity, and being in the present moment. Travelling mindfully reconnects us to the essential aspects of life by making us appreciate what we see and feel during our journey. This trail allows you to have a connection between the P’tit Train du Nord, tourist Mont-Tremblant and the ski resort.
The P’tit Train du Nord
Well, you’ve all been waiting for it! We were saving the P’tit Train du Nord for the end. What about the P’tit Train du Nord? Let’s start with the linear park basics and step back in time…just a bit.
Le P’tit Train du Nord has been around since the late 1800s.
You could even say that it is thanks to this train that cross-country skiing became popular in Canada, thanks to Herman Smith-Johannsen, or Jackrabbit.
This Norwegian supercentenarian was one of the cornerstones of the P’tit Train du Nord, since he was responsible for laying out the train when he was younger.
His cross-country skiing speed marked the imagination of many. Hence his nickname “Jackrabbit” (a hare)! Subsequently, the P’tit Train du Nord marked the Quebec imagination on several occasions during its history.
Félix Leclerc, a pioneer of Quebec music, composed a song in honor of the P’tit Train du Nord.
In addition, the P’tit Train du Nord also quickly appeared in the famous 1950s program Les Belles Histoires des pays d’en haut.
he train eventually stopped operating in the 1980s. There was a period of about 15 years before the inauguration of the P’tit Train du Nord bike path in 1996.
This is how Quebec got the longest cycle route in Canada, with 200 km from Mont-Laurier to Saint-Jérôme.
The arrival of the linear park has brought about a lot of economic benefits, to the point that other regions in Canada have tried to reproduce the phenomenon.
Today, the P’tit Train du Nord is at least 70% paved, crossing more than twenty municipalities and several historical and natural sites.
P’tit Train du Nord by electric bike
There are several ways to cover the 200 km that separate Mont-Laurier and Saint-Jérôme. There are many campsites, hotels, and restaurants, making of the P’tit Train du Nord linear park a very pleasant ride.
It is important to prepare your equipment for a hike as long as the P’tit Train du Nord. We recommend bringing with you your best e-bike, your bike helmet, a good bike luggage bag and enough room to bring plenty of water and food.
In addition, the majority of hotels, hostels, and campsites along the way have garages for bicycles, and it is possible to plug in your electric bike there to charge your battery for the next day.
To return to the P’tit Train du Nord, here are some ways to make the trip that might interest you during your adventure on wheels:
Mont-Laurier to Saint-Jérôme – 200 km in 2 days
It is possible to do the entire route starting in Mont-Laurier. There is a shuttle service that departs regularly from Saint-Jérôme during summer. The shuttle can leave you in Mont-Laurier for your first day.
We advise you to start your electric bike trip in Mont-Laurier since you will have fewer climbs at your return.
It is possible to do the entire 200 km in 2 days. You could follow the following itinerary :
Day 1: Mont-Laurier to Mont-Tremblant (Lac Mercier) – 108 km;
Day 2: Mont-Tremblant to Saint-Jérôme – 92 km.
In addition, be aware that it is possible to extend the itinerary to have less daily mileage: the average number of kilometers travelled on the linear park is 50 km per day.
It is also possible to make the round trip over 400 km.
It should be noted that the segment between Mont-Laurier and Rivière-Rouge is heavily forested.
There are therefore few villages on the way since you are in the middle of nature.
You will begin to cross towns and villages more regularly from Rivière-Rouge.
Rivière-Rouge to Saint-Jérôme – 130 km in 3 days
With the carrier, it is possible to get off at all the stops on the P’tit Train du Nord. If you want to fully enjoy your journey, we recommend this trip which can be done in three days with an electric bike.
This route is also interesting if you want to discover a segment of the P’tit Train with more picturesque villages on the way:
Day 1: Rivière-Rouge to Mont-Tremblant (Lac Mercier) – 36 km;
Day 2: Mont-Tremblant (Lac Mercier) to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts – 44 km;
Day 3: Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts to Saint-Jérôme – 50 km.
Round trip Saint-Jérôme to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts – 100 km In 2 days
Enthusiasts will be ready to go up the track to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. This is the hardest part to mount on a regular bike. However, the electric bike will allow you to climb the mountain with ease.
The ultimate advantage of a cycle route like the P’tit Train du Nord is that the track is located on an old railway line. Since trains cannot climb mountains, the terrain of a cycle route is always relatively flat.
Day 1: Saint-Jérôme to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts – 50 km;
Day 2: Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts to Saint-Jérôme – 50 km.
The Laurentians, the land of electric bikes?
Whether you go for a short hike or for a multi-day exploration, the Laurentians will live up to your expectations.
In addition, we would like to remind you that on this list, none of the routes have cars. If so, this article would be twice as big… There are plenty of paths and routes.
In the Laurentians, there is something for everyone. Are you going to visit this summer?