Eastern Canada Adventure
Our tour of Eastern Canada takes you from the heartland of French Canada to the mountainous seacoast of the Gaspé Peninsula at the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains. Starting in Québec City, the only walled city on the continent north of Mexico, we’ll ride along the St. Lawrence River and pass through towns dating back to the French colonization of the 1600s. We’ll pitch our tents in municipal, provincial, and national park campgrounds, and sample fresh seafood and locally raised fare.
The route follows quiet roads and pathways, most of which are part of La Route Verte, a 3,000-mile trail network in the province of Québec that tops many lists of the world’s best bicycle routes. So brush up on your Quebecois French and join us for this extraordinary Canadian excursion.
"As always, extremely pleased with the total experience."
Day 1. Québec City, 0 miles (0 km)
Arrive in Québec City early so you'll have ample time to explore one of the oldest cities in North America (founded 1608) and the only walled city on the continent north of Mexico. Do a walking tour of the old town and take in the decisively French ambiance of the narrow streets and neighborhood markets. Later we'll meet at our hostel in Québec City. After an orientation meeting and a kickoff dinner, we'll divvy up the group gear and rest up for our adventure.
Day 2. Québec City to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, 60 miles (100km)
After taking the ferry across the St. Lawrence River, we'll ride downstream, passing through villages dating back to the beginning of French colonization of the St. Lawrence Valley in the late 1600s. Old water mills, woodcarving establishments, small maritime museums, and lighthouses are all part of the scene. We'll set up camp alongside the St. Lawrence tonight.
Day 3. Saint-Jean-Port-Joli to Rivière-du-Loup, 60 miles (100km)
After breakfast, we'll continue alongside the river heading north to Rivière-du-Loup. For an afternoon treat, the restored mill in Saint-Pacôme features excellent coffee and fresh-baked pastries. Camp tonight will be just past the city center.
Day 4. Rivière-du-Loup to Saint-Fabien, 50 miles (80 km)
It's yet another beautiful day along the St. Lawrence River, with a relatively short mileage to allow for plenty of sightseeing. Early on, we'll pass through Cacouna, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Québec, whose residents take special pride in the historical architecture. You may choose to stretch your legs at the L'Isle-Verte Bird Sanctuary, the largest Spartina salt marsh in southern Canada. Trois-Pistoles is also worth a visit for its museum focusing on the Basque fisheries of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Day 5. Saint-Fabien to Sainte-Flavie, 40 miles (65 km)
We will continue along the path today as we make our way east. Visiting the fascinating Pointe-au-Père, you can find yourself on a submarine or lighthouse tour. Don't miss out on exploring the artifacts displayed from the wreckage of the ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland, which sank offshore in 1914. The world-famous botanical gardens at Métis-sur-Mer are also well worth a stop.
Day 6. Sainte-Flaive to Matane, 45 miles (72 km)
Riding along the St. Lawrence River, as we have done for the past few days, we will encounter the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, part of Canada's fisheries and oceans research network centers. We will also see Jardins de Métis, the Redford Gardens. We will overnight in the town of Matane, the center for training fishermen and famous for its shrimp and restored windmills.
Day 7. Matane to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, 55 miles (90 km)
Today's route is mostly flat with a few rolling hills, although you'll notice that the landscape is turning more rugged. Tonight we'll stay in the peaceful fishing village of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
Day 8. Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis, 40 miles (67 km)
A few miles into the ride, our route becomes more spectacular than bucolic as we pedal along the shore of the St. Lawrence at the base of thousand-foot-high cliffs. Our overnight site is at Parc et Mer Mont-Louis, a small, privately run campground perched on a small bluff overlooking the water.
Day 9. Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis to Grande-Vallée, 33 miles (52 km)
Today we will pass through the quaint villages of L'Anse-Pleureuse and Manche-d'Épée. We'll encounter our first big hill just past Rivière-Madeleine, and it's a dandy — more than two kilometers at a 13-percent grade. The hilliness persists all the way to Grande-Vallée and beyond.
Day 10. Grande-Vallée to Rivière-au-Renard, 42 miles (67 km)
Warm up your legs before boarding your bicycle this morning — the hardest day of the tour lies before you, with a procession of challenging ascents as the road alternately follows the shore and climbs inland. Luckily, several sweet villages, including Cloridorme, are found along the way, inviting us to catch our breath (and maybe grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat). Come evening, we'll spend the night at a quiet campground just outside of Rivière-au-Renard.
Day 11. Rivière-au-Renard to Forillon National Park, 20 miles (32 km)
After an easy spin, we'll have most of the day to enjoy the incredible beauty of the national park. You can join the hikers on the Appalachian Trail, explore L'Anse-Blanchette, or lie around camp with a good book.
Day 12. Forillon National Park to Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie, 53 miles (84 km)
After leaving Forillon National Park, we'll spin along the shore to the end of the very long Gaspé Bay. One long hill separates us from the city of Gaspé, which boasts 15,000 residents and a slew of top-notch restaurants and shops. Here we rejoin La Route Verte. We'll camp at the small Tête d'Indien, a well-kept private campground run by a loquacious American man who has lived there for years. The camp is situated at the edge of some small cliffs near a prominent rock, which is the campground's namesake.
Day 13. Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie to Percé, 21 miles (34 km)
Our last day out is a short one. We'll reach our destination, the village of Percé, around lunchtime, giving us plenty of time to wander the streets and prepare for the trip home. Be sure not to miss Percé's famous rock (you'll learn why it's famous); should the group decide to go for it, there's also the option of taking a boat tour to Bonaventure Island.
Day 14. Percé to Rivière-au-Renard (by shuttle), 0 miles (0 km)
Enjoy the morning exploring Percé. We'll catch an Adventure Cycling shuttle and head back to Québec City.
Day 15. Rivière-au-Renard to Québec City, 0 miles (0 km)
We will awake in Rivière-au-Renard in the morning where, after breakfast, we will finish our shuttle to Québec City. Upon arrival, we'll pack up our gear and bid farewell to our new friends.