The Charlevoix region is one of the most beautiful you will encounter on a snowmobile. It offers great-varied trails with good elevations and views. The snow conditions are excellent and make for a great snowmobile experience you should try.
I was born a winter and snow lover. Might as well as living in Quebec since birth, I have had my share of winter adventures and activities. I mostly enjoy skiing, cross-country and downhill, but also skate, snowshoe and just enjoy being outdoors when it’s snowy and cold.
This might not be the case to most people who don’t come from winter land but it’s to my sense the only way to endure the long winter months Mother Nature has reserved to the province of Quebec.
I started snowmobiling about 25 years ago. I’m not a diehard snowmobile rider chasing massive mileage during the snowy months, but need my snowmobile adventure adrenaline every winter to satisfy my need for speed, great Canadian snowy outdoors and keeping my riding and snowmobile model and motor talk up to date.
I’ve snowmobiled most of the province except the northern parts. It’s hard to point out the preferred region as all regions have their highlights and attractions. Never the less, one region kind of has more to offer. This is Charlevoix!
The region of Charlevoix, east of historic Quebec City, is one of it’s own. Jammed between the Saguenay fjord, the Saint Laurence river and the Laurentian fauna reserve, it offers singular landscapes of mountain ranges and drastic waterways encompassing a unique micro climate that offers snow lovers the best powder out east!
From the townsite of La Malbaie an internationally renowned vacation destination on the banks of the Saint Laurence river, my fellow rider and myself went for a full day, 330 km to be precise, of sheer riding on all terrains.
The morning was cold and crisp. After a complete breakfast, we fired up the machines, ski-doo expedtion 900 ACE’s with a massive 20-inch wide by 154-inch long track and a wide profile offering the best smooth riding out there.
The plan for our first section of snowmobiling of the day is to start with a ride from La Malbaie to the border of the Grands Jardins national park and back to the Saint Laurence river. We started by gaining altitude up to the highlands of Charlevoix offering our first birds eye view of the Saint Laurence river. What makes this ride unique is the multitude of views and landscpaes one can take in during a full day. This first section offers extraordinary views of the river and mountains while riding through farm lands, over rivers and on snowy forest trails. We took a little time off the trails to wind around some slopes to ride off piste and test the 900 ACE in abundant powder. Turns out the machines are pretty easy to control and give some great sensations whislt offering good control.
Back on track and excited by our little hors pistes adventure we continued to the Saint Laurence river. The views are just breathtaking. We wanted to hang around and enjoy it, but we had some mielage to do. From the viewpoint we headed back onto the provincial trail 3 that would slowly take us to 383 trail and directly to the Sanguenay Fjord in Anse Saint Jean. The enclosed pic exposes well the amount of snow of the area. These signs are ususally 5 feet high.
The 383 will sharpen your riding skills as it’s quite mountainous with winding curves. The anticipation of getting the first view on the Saguneay Fjord gave us a kick to ride pretty agressivly and that was a good part of the early afternoon fun! The Saguenay Fjod is one of the longest in the world (235 km/146 mi.), it’s fully navigable and the only fjord in North America to be inhabited on both shores. Dotted with picturesque villages, some of which are designated as Québec’s most beautiful. Arriving in Anse Saint Jean, we were ready to fefuel and get a very well deserved lunch in one of the many trail restaurants amongst the Quebec snowmobile trail system. The micro climate was doing it’s thing when we got to Anse Saint Jean killing the views, but we were happy the snow was coming.
After lunch we hit a part of the trail which is mentioned to be local and non subsidized. Being in the snowmobiling travel business I knew this was a great trail to ride, but for any person who uses the Quebec trail map for the first time, this could be a little stressfull as you don’t know what to expect. It turns out this “local” trail that cuts from Anse Saint Jean to the provincial 3 is a beauty and a great trail. We were lucky the groomer had just passed so we were riding first trracks. We zipped thourgh this rugged section is no time. Riding amongts mountains, lakes and rivers you kinda have to thank something for the fact we were having the ride of our lives. I thanked the snow gods.
Arriving at the cross trail of the 3, our odometer was shy a couple of kilometers of 300. We had riden lots of different trails and landscapes and we had our last highway back to La Malbaie and the Saint Laurence river.
We got into La Malbaie and our accomodation just before nightfall. That night we reministed at the incredible sledding day we had just done with some terrific red wine and a perfectly grilled prime rib at the Manoir Richelieu.
We offer guided and self guided tours to this region and others across the province. Ride safely.
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Written by Charles FrobisherGo back