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Canada's Top Cycling Trail : Le P'Tit Train du Nord

Ptit-Train-du-Nord-Quebec-5_20220622-125855_1 P'Tit Train du Nord pathway

Quebec's Best Kept Cycling Secret

Terrific Velo Route, Fabulous Gastronomy, and Railway History

Le Parc Linéaire Le P'tit Train du Nord is one of Canada's top cycling trails, and one of Quebec's best kept secrets. When it comes to bike riding in Canada, the 5,300 kilometers of La Route Verte trails in Québec offer some of the best options in the country. The trails of Quebec allow cyclists unparalleled opportunities to design custom itineraries that fit their schedule, budget, fitness level, and interests. As part of La Route Verte network, Le P'tit Train du Nord offers some of the best bicycling in Québec, making it a bucket list experience for anyone interested in cycling Canada or looking for world class velo routes on the Trans Canada Trail.

"Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel.But Ride!"

Eddy Merckx

Sentier Transcanadien / Trans Canada Trail in Quebec. Photo by Sean Morton

P'tit Train du Nord: A Cycling Canada Trail

Acitivies de plein air

Le P'tit Train du Nord is a 200 km multiuse recreational rail trail that is a hidden gem at the heart of the Laurentian region of Quebec. This must-see trail connects Saint-Jérôme to Mont-Laurier, passing the world famous Mont-Tremblant ski resort on the way. Furthermore, it includes an additional 34 km at the southern end, which connects Saint-Jérôme to Bois-des-Filions, a community on the outskirts of Montréal. This is the longest linear park in Canada, and it has been described as the only cycling route of its kind in the world. Best of all, it offers activities in all four seasons - cycling, rollerblading, hiking, and bird watching in summer, and cross-country skiing, fat-biking, and snowmobiling in winter.


  A Classic Story of Rails to Trails in Canada

Little Train of the North

The Canadian Pacific Railway built a line from Saint-Jérôme to Mont-Laurier between 1891 and 1909. This new transportation corridor played an important role in the development of the region. Moreover, it was used to bring tourists and patients to the many resorts and health spas in the Laurentians, some of which still exist today. In November 1981 the passenger train made its last run. Amazingly, just fifteen years later Le P'tit Train du Nord, which literally means 'The Little Train of the North' opened as a multiuse rail trail cycle route suited for Canadian cycling enthusiasts.


Rail Trail Conditions for Everyone

Day ventures or Long Distance Expeditions

Le P'tit Train du Nord mostly follows the bed of the old CP Railway. Therefore, even though the trail winds through stunning mountain scenery, its curves are gentle, its slopes rarely if ever exceed a 2% grade, and a lot of time is spent immersed in nature. The surface of the dedicated cycling pathways is hard-packed crushed stone-dust or asphalt, making them suitable for almost all types of bicycles, including road bikes with narrow tires. Some parts of the trail follow quiet country lanes and paved shoulders of asphalt roads, but overall it is a standardized system of pathways with excellent signage that is suitable for most fitness and experience levels.

Heritage Train Stations in Quebec Canada

Canada History and Culture

Evidence of the original CP railway can also be seen in beautifully restored train stations along the route, many of which have been converted to rest stops for trail users. For example, the century-old heritage building in Prévost has been restored by volunteers and now houses a café with an outdoor patio, and an information kiosk that sells P'tit Train du Nord themed clothing and merchandise. In contrast, Place de la Gare in the old Village of Mont-Tremblant is being used as a public space where local artists can work and exhibit their pieces year around. Alternatively, weary cyclists, hikers, and other trail users can spend the night or stop for a meal and a local brew at the Resto Bar Auberge in the restored train station in La Belle.

Take a Break

Hault Velo and Facilities en route

Heritage train stations are not the only places to kick back and take break while exploring Le P'tit Train du Nord. Every 2-5 km along most of the cycle route there are dedicated rest stops with picnic tables, toilets, and garbage cans. Some are shaded by trees, while others feature roofed shelters. A few have small bicycle repair stations and drinking water fountains, and many offer attractive views of waterfalls, lakes, or mountain scenery.

World-class Gastronomy in Quebec

Bakeries, Chocolate and Wine

Québec is famous for its culinary delicacies, including traditional dishes such as poutine, tourtières, cretons, and fèves au lard to name just a few. In addition, it produces 72% of the world's maple syrup, and reportedly over 700 kinds of cheese have been developed in the province. Fortunately, gastronomic opportunities along Le P'tit Train du Nord abound. There are plenty of restaurants, cafés, microbrasseries, and boulangeries located along the length of the trail, many within a few hundred meters of it. For example, one of our favourite finds was Le Petit Cafe du Nord in Nominingue, whose locally produced gourmet lunch menu and personalized customer service convinced us to return for dinner.Another great find was discovering ChocoStyle on the trail, in Mont Blanc.This chocolate museum and gift shop offers an awe-inspiringly large selection of gourmet treats created by a Maitre Chocolatier trained in Europe.Best of all, many places to eat and drink along the P'tit Train du Nord are noted on the detailed trail signage, making it difficult to miss an opportunity to enjoy the best of the local delicacies.

Quebec Accommodations on the Way

Gites, Albergues and Campgrounds

Le P'tit Train du Nord offers trail users accommodation options to match nearly any budget or style of travel. The Laurentian region hosts the largest concentration of resorts in Eastern Canada. Moreover, many charming auberges and B&B's are located along the pathway, offering personalized experiences and opportunities to connect with locals. Larger towns along the route typically offer a selection of brand name and independent inns and hotels. Lastly, for those interested in a more rustic or nature-centered experience, there are campgrounds located along the route that feature traditional campsites, such as Lac LaFontaine Campground in Saint-Jerome. Alternatively, for the slightly more adventurous who enjoy camping with a twist, places like Le Fou du Roi in Riviere Rouge offer the novel experience of glamping in a covered wagon. The prevalence of accommodations along Le P'tit Train du Nord allows cyclists, hikers, and cross-country skiers to design custom itineraries that suit their own pace.

P'tit Train du Nord Gate. Photo by Sean Morton.

Canada's Top Cycling Experience and a Must do Adventure

Le P'tit Train du Nord really is one of Canada's top cycling trails, and one of Québec's best kept secrets.Set in a landscape of vast sugar maple and pine forests that are broken by thousands of small lakes, streams, and waterfalls, it provides epic views with breathtaking scenery. The soft peaks and rolling hills of the Laurentian Mountains provide a stunning backdrop, and the granite of the Shield provides an iconic Canadian experience. Opportunities for wildlife viewing abound, with over 140 species of birds sighted along the trail, as well as white-tailed deer, hares, groundhogs, moose, coyotes, and more.The excellent trail conditions and abundance of places to stay and eat in the picturesque mountain villages along the route provide the perfect mix of nature and comfort, making it one of Canada's top cycling routes.

Velo par excellence

Final kilometre sign along P'tit Train du Nord, Mont Laurier Quebec. Photo by Sean Morton.

Le P'Tit Train du Nord in Quebec Canada

  Canada's Top Cycling Trail 

Location (Map)

P'tit Train du N, Québec, Canada
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Comments 4

Andrea Horning on Sunday, 26 June 2022 19:08

I love biking rail trails! Quebec is so pretty. Great read, thank you.

I love biking rail trails! Quebec is so pretty. Great read, thank you.
Eh Canada Travel on Sunday, 26 June 2022 20:41

Great story Sonya Richmond . Quality. Good transition words. Passionate and good length. This will do well on searches once our systems do their thing.

Great story Sonya Richmond . Quality. Good transition words. Passionate and good length. This will do well on searches once our systems do their thing.
Janel Coe on Monday, 27 June 2022 01:01

Great blog post, Sonya - I'd love to see that trail in person.

Great blog post, Sonya - I'd love to see that trail in person.
Sonya Richmond on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 03:07

Thanks kindly to everyone for the positive feedback and great support!

Thanks kindly to everyone for the positive feedback and great support!
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Sunday, 14 August 2022