Home Traveling AdventuresCanada Brompton Bike Tour: Le P’tit Train du Nord (Day 1)

Brompton Bike Tour: Le P’tit Train du Nord (Day 1)

(Cycled Spring 2022)

by bromptoning

🚴 Mont-Tremblant -> Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré

It rained overnight, but by the time we left late the next morning, the sun was peaking through the clouds – we didn’t need our rain capes just yet! 

We had arrived in Mont-Tremblant Resort Village via the trail La Villageoise C, so we decided to leave via La Villageoise B for a slightly longer scenic ride. These trails are beautifully paved and well signed, warning cyclists of every steep descent and curve. 

A huge wooden bridge crosses the Rivière du Diable and leads to a ton of mountain bike trails. Maybe one day we’ll get folding mountain bikes and check them out!

On the main La Villageoise trail, we came across some deer who are so used to cyclists passing by that they barely looked up from grazing.

Before long, we were back in Le Village de Mont-Tremblant at the old train station where La Villageoise D connects to Le P’tit Train du Nord.

Mont-Tremblant village is at the 92km mark on Le P’tit Train du Nord, but I didn’t snap pics of the signage until kilometre 91.

Soon after, Pier picked up a hitchhiker. Little buddy rode with us for at least a couple kilometres until Pier literally had to get off his bike and place him on a leaf on the side of the trail.

We did this trip less than a week after a huge storm rolled through Quebec, knocking down trees and power lines, and evidence of the clean-up was everywhere. It’s awesome to see such diligent maintenance on a bike trail. I fear in Ontario it would take much longer before things were cleaned up; bike trials aren’t a big priority in our home province. 

Fallen trees cleared from the trail.

For lunch, we stopped at the same place (Parc du Voyageur) where we picnicked the day before. Though we didn’t have a lunch packed this time, this intersection of Le P’tit Train du Nord and Rue Labelle has restaurants and cafes on each corner, clearly catering to all the cyclists that roll by. However, we discovered that most places are closed on Wednesday! Luckily, we saw this sign pointing to Le 900 Tremblant Cafe just slightly north of the trail.

We parked our bikes in the cafe’s bike parking area and headed in to look at the selection…

Then we enjoyed our freshly grilled sandwiches and chocolate protein balls on the cafe’s front porch-patio. 

Satiated, we continued on to Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré. On the edge of Mont-Tremblant town, we passed over another wooden bridge. There are many river crossings and thus many wooden bridges on Le P’tit Train du Nord!

At this point (20km into our ride) a gradual (average 2%) but unrelenting climb begins! Our average speed drops from the mid-20s (km/hr) to the mid-teens. 

Le P’tit Train du Nord is also part of La Route Verte (Quebec’s provincial trail system) and the Trans Canada Trail.

Signs for La Route Verte + Trans Canada on Le P’tit Train du Nord trail.

Just before Lac-Carré, someone has made a bunch of whirligigs and put them on the fence posts alongside the trail. They know their audience; many of the whirligigs feature bicycles! After climbing steadily for 10km, it was a nice break to stop and watch the whirligigs. 

Soon after the whirligigs, we rolled up to the old train station in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré.

We were now a tad over halfway through our ride (31kms out of 55kms total), and so far it had been lovely. The trails all around Mont-Tremblant (the resort, the village and the actual town) are all well-maintained and smoothly paved, and have lots of rest stops. However, the last half of this ride was about to get more rugged…

🚴 Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré -> Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts

Mere metres after the station, the trail becomes gravel. 

It’s fine gravel and well-maintained, but still gravel. The last 2.5 kms of incline suddenly felt much steeper than 2-3%! When we finally arrived, we were rewarded with a view of a… gravel pit?

No matter, we were looking forward to the slight (1%) decline all the way to Sainte-Agathe. But now that the trail was gravel, pedalling was harder and this last leg felt longer than anticipated. Though our average speed was 20km/hr and it only took us a little over an hour to get to the old Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts train station, it felt significantly longer. Sadly, this train station rest stop was closed for renovations, but we sat at a picnic table outside, ate a snack, and continued – just 3 more kilometres!

Old train station: Sainte-Agathe

We were staying at the Super 8 Hotel on the southeast end of Sainte-Agathe. Like most small towns in Eastern Canada, the east end is the suburban side with wide, fast-moving streets and no bike infrastructure. So we decided to stay on Le P’tit Train du Nord, which runs north of Sainte-Agathe, as long as we could. Google told us that there was a path shortcut from the trail to a side street that would then take us directly to our hotel. Even Komoot has this path marked as a walking trail. Though many walkers and hikers may use this shortcut, we found out it is NOT a trail.

Still, we didn’t want to bike back. Our legs were so tired of pedalling! And though the climb was rocky and steep, it was shorter. In hindsight, maybe we should have biked back because carrying a bike loaded with luggage up that “path” was brutal.  

Ironically, we’d seen a sign for our hotel at the last proper street intersection. They probably put it there so that cyclists would not try to take the shortcut like we did. *sigh* 

Regardless, we made it! Super 8 even has a lovely “Bienvenue cyclistes!” sign by the entrance. This hotel is so bike friendly that they told us just to wheel our bikes into the elevator to bring them up to our rooms! We didn’t even need to fold them. 

So this was a tougher ride than we expected, but at least it didn’t rain on us! That gravel stretch from Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts would have been miserable in a cold, spring rain. At least at the Super 8 there’s a hot tub waiting for cyclists to soak our aching muscles! 

The next day we were expecting a lovely, gentle downhill all the way to Saint-Jérôme, but the fates had other plans for us!

Day 2: The Unexpected Detour on Le P’tit Train du Nord!

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