Cyclists : TOP 10 spots in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region to see before you die
The Véloroute des Bleuets offers spectacular visual perspectives offers spectacular visual perspectives along the entire 256 km long trail that are worthy of taking the time to admire.
It's natural to be solely interested in athletic achievement, personal challenge and performance. Riding with your head down, nose to the wheel and rear end up. Admiring the surrounding landscapes can be a waste of time for some athletes…
There are also those who prefer bicycle touring. Those who take time to admire their surroundings. Stopping at the rest areas for socializing. An ice cream cone in Saint-Cœur-de-Marie… A refreshing craft beer in Saint-Gédéon… Delicious cheese curds in Saint-Félicien… Resting on the benches along the way and allowing ourselves to fully enjoy the spectacular sights of the Pekuakami.
We start our contemplative journey to the Odyssée des Bâtisseurs in Alma in a clockwise direction. Refer to the map.
1- I highly recommend crossing the lake's Grande-Décharge on board a shuttle boat from the beginning, rather than taking the urban route with less poetic appeal. The imposing hydroelectric dam is visible on one side and since you haven't quite arrived at the islands on the other side, you'll have to imagine them until you reach them.
2- Once you arrive at the Rang des Îles, after the St-Gédéon golf course, watch for the chemin du Quai and continue along for a few hundred meters to marvel at the extraordinary view of the islands and inland sea.
3- There are beautiful shaded sections and some fields along the way that skirt along the railway until Métabetchouan, where you can admire one of most beautiful beaches in Lac Saint-Jean, Le Rigolet. Stop in for a refreshing swim before leaving if you've brought along your swimsuit.
4- One of the most striking vistas overlooking Lac Saint-Jean is located at the Métabetchouan exit, just above the first ascent atop the agricultural plane. An ongoing horizon that also reveals a lengthy and steep bank.
5- The entire section from Métabetchouan to Roberval reserves magnificent views for cyclists due to the proximity with the water level and the incredible viewpoints towering from high above.
6- The rest area in Desbiens remains one of the most impressive scenic vistas of Lac Saint-Jean without contest. However, once satisfied with the visual perspective, take the time to travel down the road and take Chemin du Petit-Rocher that leads to a charming and serene park along the shore. Continue along on your bicycle and you'll meet up with the Véloroute at the top of the rest area.
7- In Mistassini, traverse a short segment for impressive views, especially when the water level is high. This is where you'll travel through the campsite that skirts alongside the Chute-des-Pères, which often flows with impressive power and might.
8- It's in the immense agricultural plain north of Lac Saint-Jean, in the region that's called the "Friche", at the gates of the Pays de Maria-Chapdelaine, where you'll travel through many charming villages with woodlands, fields of canola as yellow as the sun and immense blueberry fields as blue as the sky above.
9- Another exceptional natural environment in the Parc National de la Pointe-Taillon, ensures a lengthy and intimate contact with the water and the beach that exceeds 10 km, which is crossed from one side to the other over a superb footbridge on stilts in Sainte-Monique.
10- There's also another section that is one of my personal favorites before returning to the starting point. It's a short detour through a cultural field at the exit to Saint-Cœur-de-Marie. A few kilometers of beautiful trail enables us to admire the mouth of the Grande-Décharge River and the village's bell tower.
This is where we finish our tour with eyes wide open and our head full of impressive scenic memories!
This article by Yves Ouellet has been translated from a French post originally published in the official blog of Tourism Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Planning a bike trip to this cycling paradise? Visit the Tourism Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean website today!
About Yves Ouellet:
Journalist Yves Ouellet has been travelling across Quebec and the world for the past 30 years. Author of 25 acclaimed works and travel guides, he has been a contributor to the travel sections of numerous newspapers and magazines, publishing more than 2000 articles and 8000 photos.
© Yves Ouellet