August 20, 2020
You probably know about Quebec’s maple syrup and french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy, but did you know it has an equally delectable network of purpose-built singletrack? And that network is within just a short drive of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Québec City. Simply put, Quebec is mountain biking wonderland.
New for 2020, we’ve linked together all four major trail networks near Quebec’s capital for two multi-day, fully-guided experiences: our six-day, coed Great Quebec Escape and our five-day women’s-only Wilderness and Waterfalls Retreat. In addition to the region’s amazing riding and stunning scenery, we’ll explore the captivating culture, cuisine, hospitality and joie-de-vivre Quebec is famous for.
If you live in North America, chances are you’ve heard whispers of the boundary-pushing trail building that’s been happening in such impossible-to-pronounce places as Vallée Bras-du-Nord and Sentiers du Moulin. (Or at the very least, you’ve heard of the legend of Mont St-Anne through decades of World Cup racing). Here’s your chance to sample all the goods—not in a race format but in a fun and immersive experience—with all the care, attention, and thought you’ve come to expect from a Sacred Ride, brought to you by a phenomenal team of local guides who create the ultimate escape to la belle province.
Check out this photo journal for a taste of what’s to come. Then get ready to check this incredible destination off your bucket list!
Old Québec City
With its winding cobblestone streets, the unmistakable Château Frontenac and the abundance of museums, art galleries, and coffee shops, Old Quebec exudes European charm at every turn. Let yourself be taken in by lovely auberges, exquisite cuisine, and fascinating history as the only fortified city north of Mexico and the birthplace of French North America. Whether your taste buds lead you to poutine, foie gras, or maple toffee, you’ll fall in love with Old Québec.
Quebec City is lovely… but you said something about mountain biking?
Ok, let’s get to what you came here for: once you’ve had your fill of poutine, which of these places will you check out first?
Empire 47: The World’s Premier Fatbiking Center
Only 30 minutes from downtown, Empire 47 (or E47 for short) sits at the 47th parallel and is well-known as the world’s premier fatbiking centre, with over 45km of perfectly groomed fatbike trails. That said, rest assured the summertime singletrack is just as worthy of fame and admiration. With machine-built and hand sculpted trails like Huron, Kamasutrail, and Belzebrute, you’ll find that berms, bridges, flow lines, and massive rock slabs dating back to the last ice age blend into a captivating melting pot. With a pump track and a flow trail near the entrance, Empire 47 is the perfect starting point to ease into Quebec riding.
Images: Étienne Dionne
Sentiers du Moulin: If You’re Still Not Convinced That They Take Mountain Biking Seriously in Quebec…
Maybe this will change your mind: Only 25 minutes from downtown, an incredibly dedicated crew spent well over 10,000 volunteer hours building the trails at Sentiers du Moulin. You can’t help but feel the passion, devotion and determination etched into every berm, bridge, and rock garden on trails like Super G, QMG and the all-new Slab City, a masterpiece-of-a-trail that feels like one endless slab of Canadian Shield. With two sides of a mountain and over 40km of perfectly sculpted trails to explore, Sentiers du Moulin will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
Images: Étienne Dionne
Mont St. Anne: Old School DH Lines and Technical XC Sections
Mont Saint Anne has deep roots in the mountain bike racing world dating back 30 years, hosting its first UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in 1991. It’s home to some of the rowdiest, gnarliest, and steepest terrain on the East Coast, where old school DH lines and technical XC sections meld into a modern day Enduro melting pot. With the more recent addition of fun, flowy, blue-level trails like La Bouttaboutte, La Grisante, l’Adorila and La Cairn, MSA should be at the top of any passionate mountain biker’s bucket list.
Images: Andy Vathis
Vallée Bras-du-Nord: Ribbons of Perfectly Carved, Purpose-Built Singletrack
No trip to Quebec City is complete without a visit to Vallée Bras-du-Nord, only 1‑hr away from downtown. With two separate sectors (Saint Raymond and Shannahan), VBN is home not only to incredible purpose-built singletrack, but to pristine and truly mesmerizing scenery. So wild and rugged is the landscape in Shannahan, you’ll have a hard time believing you’re just an hour away from an international airport and a bustling metropolis. An undulating ribbon of perfectly carved singletrack gives you raging rivers, striking waterfalls, and granite cliffs jutting from the forest floor. Trails like the Neilson and the all-new Légende —which features a massive slab ride next to a plummeting waterfall—can only be described as works of art that showcase the area’s varied landscapes in all their glory. Prepare to be amazed!
Images: Francis Fontaine