6 top Québec attractions to explore by snowmobile
Bordering the majestic St. Lawrence River, the regions of Québec and Charlevoix are full of charm, activities and spectacular landscapes. Next door, the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is a vast territory covering close to 100,000 km2 (38,610 miles2) and extending to the boreal forest to the north. Celebrated for their abundant snow cover, breathtaking scenery and hospitality, these three regions also feature distinctive attractions that can be incorporated into your snowmobiling itinerary, or discovered as you explore the 5,700 km (3,542 miles) of trails that interconnect the three regions.
Here are six top attractions found in the regions of Québec, Charlevoix and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean:
1. A luxury hotel and casino between sea and mountains
The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel is impressive both for its striking location atop a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, and for its charm and elegance. Carrying on a rich tradition of hospitality that dates back to the early 20th century, the establishment combines personalized hospitality, comfort and sensory pleasures – from local-sourced gastronomy to relaxation at the spa. Right next door and linked by an underground passage, the Casino de Charlevoix offers games of chance, but also irresistible promotional, dining and entertainment opportunities, free events that feature DJs, singers, musical groups and stand-up comics.
Photo credit : Tourisme Charlevoix, Sophie Gagnon-Bergeron – Canopée Média
2. A highly festive event for snowmobilers
The last weekend in January, the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu and the Casino de Charlevoix host a grand event for snowmobile enthusiasts: the Grand rassemblement des motoneigistes dans Charlevoix. On the program at this most festive event: an exhibition of snowmobile products, a poker rally and a dinner and show! The snowmobiler package with accommodation also gives you access to Friday night’s Beach Party!
3. A mountain massif with plenty of snow
Monts-Valin are a mountain range of some ten peaks that gets an average of six metres (over 19 feet) of snow each year. It combines everything snowmobilers dream of: exceptional vistas, superb trails, and incredible snow conditions. The snow cover is so thick on the trees at the summit in a sector of this national park that is has been dubbed the “Valley of the Phantoms”! A very popular winter vacation destination, Monts-Valin boasts numerous snowmobile trails, relay stations, chalets and other accommodation options.
Photo credit : Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Sophie Gagnon-Bergeron – Canopée Médias
4. Impressive trails and unique scenery
Known for its huge lake that gave its name to the sector, Lac-Saint-Jean abounds with snowmobile trails that are remarkable both for their condition and for the natural landscapes across which they wind. Some will take you to the third largest lake in Québec turned into a huge desert of ice and snow. Others criss-cross the back country, where snow conditions are exceptional, such as La Passerelle du 49e, a new 236-km (147-mile) section that connects Monts-Valin to Lac Saint-Jean. Snowmobilers also appreciate direct access to the many accommodation and food establishments, as well as the various events held in the winter time.
Photo credit : Passerelle du 49e – Yves Ouellet
5. The Portneuf region, Québec’s snowmobile hub
If you enjoy mountain routes or long excursions, you will appreciate the 1,200 km (746 miles) of groomed trails in the Portneuf region. Conveniently located at the crossroads of several regions, Portneuf offers a foray into the heart of delightful landscapes and a rich natural and historical heritage. In addition to being home to Auberge Roquemont, the perfect base camp for snowmobilers due to its proximity to the trails and its service offer, the region has a heavy snow cover that allows you to start the season early and stretch it until April, and to take advantage of many other sporting activities!
6. A vast, high quality wilderness
The Laurentian wildlife reserve is a huge territory covering over 7,800 km2 (3,011 miles2), with 500 km (311 miles) of snowmobile trails through forests, valleys and mountains at the heart of a high-quality wilderness environment. Snow-covered evergreens, iced-over rivers and peaks reaching altitudes of over 1,000 metres (3,281 feet) are all part of this reserve that extends between the Québec and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean regions.
Photo credit : Office du tourisme de Québec, Sophie Gagnon-Bergeron – Canopée Médias