Destination Showcase: Ride Québec City Part 2 - Jacques Cartier

Mar 24, 2021
by Andy Vathis  

Sticks and Stones
Video: Liam Mullany
Photography & Words: Andy Vathis
Riders: From Rocky Mountain Vaea Verbeeck and Alex Volokhov, with Pinkbike Presenter Christina Chappetta


Just 30 minutes north of Québec City lies what many describe as the best West Coast trails in the East. Sentiers du Moulin is the hottest spot for proper enduro riding around Québec City and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. It's a pedal access trail network that spans 60kms with unique terrain that has riders lining up for the climb trails and grinning the entire way down. Legendary tracks include the LB Cycle trails and Super G on the main side, but now the cherry on top is the newly developed Maelström sector.

The builders basically had a blank canvas right across the street from the welcome center. While planning the trails, they found huge rock slabs and rolls hidden under the mossy ground. Naturally, the rocks became an essential part of the trails' characteristics, adding to the already challenging technical terrain. This is part of what separates them from the rest, and the formula is working very well for them so far.

Destination Showcase: Ride Quebec City Part 1 - Portneuf

Whether it's the local pastry shop or the SDM Welcome Center, you'll have to try hard to miss out on a pre ride fuel up.

There are plenty of delicious baked goods to check out before planning the day on the new terrace. Today's mission is the new Maelstrom sector beginning with the trail Wolverine.

Dropping into Wolverine, the crew was immediately greeted by granite slabs as they traverse down to the main descents.

Crossing more slabs and connecting wooden bridges is the norm on the upper end of this track. The trail work is second to none. Every meter has been thought out and kept looking as natural as possible bar a few rock placements.

The track breaks through the forest mid-way down for a view of the Saint Laurent and surrounding greenery.

The rocks are very porous, allowing for enough traction at almost any speed, even in the wet. These unique features are why people come here to ride week in, week out.

View of Lac Beauport from lower Wolverine.

Slab City was next on the list.

I hope you like granite.

Vaea leading the charge down the longest continuous rock slab you'll ever see.

Christina bouncing through the rock garden on the new Granitosaur trail.

Finishing the day off on some jumps will put a smile on anyone's face. Vaea cruising through the air on Gold City, a jump line of 43 jumps.

Alex finding flow after a day in the tech.

The welcome center has some of the best coffee around and good brews on tap. It's the perfect spot to start and end the day.

Sentiers du Moulin mountain biking trails

Pass through the E47 welcome center for tickets, snacks, and post-ride beverages on their terrace out back.


Empire 47 or E47 had a rather unconventional start. In 2014, the idea to build a trail network around Lac-Delage was kickstarted by a triathlon coach wanting to host an 'XTERRA' competition in the region. After the approval to build cross-triathlon trails, the volunteers quickly realized the jump in popularity from cyclists, winter and summer, and a non-profit organization was put in place just a few years later to run the show. E47 was and still is the most visited fat biking center in the world and because of this success, they made a plan to structure themselves with progressive mountain bike trails that were very well received. This means that there is virtually every level of trail needed here for one to hone in their abilities. It's truly a place for everyone, and the numbers don't lie. Nearly 100k visitors rode there just this summer. It does help that the welcome center is 20 minutes out from Québec City, making it an ideal accessible destination all year round.

For mountain bike tourism, the food is as essential as the riding.

More rocks and natural drops are scattered in the E47 woods, and a great slab in the "Descente du coude" trail

Catch berms are built out of necessity on the more natural tracks. They try to keep those as untouched as possible.

The crew was lucky enough to sample a new trail being built. It's got rock, wooden features, and lots of natural sections.

Big doubles after steep rock rolls? Alex was enjoying that.

And the views are not bad.

Warming up by the fire to end the day.

The days felt short while checking out these two pedal access spots, each with its own unique personality. Their goals are similar, however. Build it, build it well, and they will climb for it. We continued our journey towards the city, leaving behind switchback climbs for good old-fashioned lift access trails. Old Québec is next, along with a legendary mountain you may have heard of and another that has the potential to be Québec City's next best-kept secret.

E47- Empire 47 mountain biking trails

Pinkbike would like to thank de Quebec City Mountain Bike, Rocky Mountain bikes, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Sentiers du Moulin, Empire 47, Massif de Charlevoix et Vallee Bras-du-Nord.


  • 25 2
 7 minutes of filming at vallee bras du nord and only 1 minute at sentiers du moulin ? Come on !! People wanna see sentiers du moulin more than anything else
  • 9 0
 I proposed to my soon to be wife atop Mont Ste Anne, We spent a week in quebec city with an AirBnB 5 min from Sentiers Du Moulin. What an awesome place to visit, not just for riding but for the full vacation experience. As an Ontario resident I think my neighbours to the east really have it figured out.
  • 3 0
 Congrats! My wife and I were going to head out to MSA for the WC in 2020 but then covid. Now we have a little one it might make it a little harder but damn the riding looks so good there.
  • 2 0
 @andrewdaly: Thanks a lot! we are feeling the pain having to push our wedding back last year and it looks like this year too. Such is life with COVID I guess.

Hope you can make it out to MSA, excellent riding and no lineup on the lifts. amazing.
  • 2 0
 @andrewdaly: now you can take lil babe on your trip out east ;-)
  • 7 0
 I am blown away with the level of trails and difficulty that SDM and E47 have managed to pull off here... it seems that anything with even a small level or risk locally gets killed, but there are some big balls features in Quebec that are open for everyone. Really great work by their teams.
  • 10 0
 Well worth the drive, Quebec has very much got it figured out.
  • 1 0 meant to write, Wolverine is a blast but don't bring a hardtail Wink
  • 1 0
 @darkgiant: James on PB.... BEANNS WTFFFFF
  • 7 0
 So many great memories at all these places and beyond. Quebec is really a global mountain bike hub that doesn't get enough attention.
  • 7 0
 Why were you all on rocky mtn bikes? I thought @christinachappetta rode a Slash.
  • 4 0
 Mabye it was sponsored by @RockyMountainBicycles?
  • 2 0
 @Coolwinner05: maybe, I feel like if they were then it would say more or show more about it.
  • 3 0
 @jmtbf: It was mentioned in the last video. I can't remember exactly where though.
  • 1 0
 I know Bras du Nord rents Rocky. Maybe they were given them from the fleet and just used them for both spots.
  • 1 0
 @ChaseMe: SDM don't rent Rockys, they rent some Pivot bikes. Same for E47, don't think they rent Rockys neither but as you said, maybe they had some sort of sponsorship for the trip?
  • 7 0
 Good eye! It's true, I ride a Slash :-) But this project was also sponsored by RM.
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: thanks, I saw the other two on RM and was looking closely to see if it was a coincidence they both had RM or a sponsor.
  • 2 0
 Loving Christine being on PB now. She doesn't have that throat-croaky yoga-with-goats voice that's so annoying (if not unlistenable), rips, is sharp, witty, quick and easily has the personality that shoehorns in these types of videos regardless of content. A video natural. More Christine please. Vids w/ female hosts are not common and now that CC is doing them often, my daughter who formerly considered this "boys sport" is now all amped, watching all of Christine's vids ,and riding daily. This matters. Its one thing to just have women hosting vids - another to have one that's a natural at it (and who shreds)
  • 10 5
 Everyone get vaccinated so the border can reopen!
  • 4 0
 I might be committing the sin of coveting my neighbors trails. Those look fun.
  • 5 0
 Why is it still episode 1 ? This is the same episode than last one !
  • 7 0
 There are 3 parts and 2 videos. There will be a new video with part 3.
  • 2 0
 Sentiers du Moulin have awesome trails but they're victim of their success and location... even before covid it was annoyingly crowded even on evenings. Hoping the new trails will spread people a bit.
  • 3 0
 some trail projects have been put on hold: all trail building will be dedicated to improving the flow on the mountain this summer. It's the number 1 concern, no one expected such a success so quickly!
  • 3 0
 Pascal De Boulanger, the bakery in one of the photos, is worth the trip by itself.
  • 3 0
 How did the riders like Wolverine?? Did you send all three pro lines?? Can't wait for the next video.
  • 5 0
 It was RAD! Definitely a little adventure in its' own but sooo worth it and the views are insane! Between us, we did ride all the lines. You'll have to check back for video pt 2 to check it out :-)
  • 2 0
 there are four now Wink
  • 4 0
 Why is the same video posted again? Shouldn't it be part 2?
  • 5 0
 3 photo articles, 2 videos. Video 2 coming next week so keep an eye out.
  • 1 0
 @andrewdaly: ahhh thank you for the clarification
  • 2 0
 Great article on what looks like a Cool week of riding. Awesome photo Shoots! JC
  • 3 0
 Andy Vathis is the man Wink
  • 3 0
 Those visitor centers! Looks like a perfect place to enjoy an apres ride
  • 2 0
 Suuuper cool spots! Even in Whistler, we could use more "trail centers" like this. Sunshine and apres is a part of biking, for me anyway
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Hey! can we have something other than poutine that the Whistler / Squamish area do not have PLEASE!!! ;o)-
Happy to see that you guys had a blast in the East! It is also a reminder to us east-coasters that we have some pretty nice spot to ride and that we take for granted!
  • 2 1
 @christinachappetta: Those nice trail centers and buildings, while being awesome, cost 20$+/day each to ride though (200$+ season pass each) and have no lift access. I'd gladly exchange those nice buildings that I never use for free trail access anytime. Give me a gravel parking lot and spend the money on more trails instead.

Sadly, this the system that we have here in the whole province and free trails are getting rarer. Having been a trailbuilder for a few seasons, I'm very proud of the trails we're building around here, just not this expensive "luxury trail centre" culture. My 0,02$!
  • 1 0
 @windowsill: Which money would you spend on trail if if access was free, trailcenter or not? There's a reason why there's so few free trails in the province and it's that there's almost no public land to build on near population center.
  • 1 0
 @jlb1: I am well aware of the public lands situation my friend, I have checked for areas to build and talked to municipality offices.

It's no secret that the money we're paying in access fees are needed and used to maintain the cozy lodges and hire people to check tickets. Trail building and maintenance money mainly comes from government grants.

I'd gladly donate a season pass value (150-200$) for multiple memberships if it would give access to most trail centres like people do in BC (Worca, Sorca, Nsmba, etc), but I can't afford paying 200$ per trail centre (5 around Quebec city itself = 1000$+!) or 20-25$/ride!
  • 1 0
 @windowsill: It is$20. And it's well worth it! The entry fee doesn't help pay for the building solely. The entry fee makes for the quality of the trails we have here (that's my hood). All those centers have full and part-time employees from trail patrollers to builders to managers. It also helps pay for vehicles and tools and their maintenance: excavators, bulldozers, trucks... Moreover, the land itself! They had to pay for it, there's a mortgage. And they don't necessarily own the entire land the trails snake through. There are definitely free agreements w. local owners but not all necessarily are. The fee also helps build a safety and operating fund, just like any enterprise, which it is. And yes, the owners are trying to make a benefit just like you get a salary from your work. W/0 an entry fee, it's impossible to have that type of quality.
  • 1 0
 @mudtread1: It's your opinion, but I've worked with professional trail builders at most of Quebec's trail centres and I am pretty familiar with what the budgets look like and where the money goes. Plus most trail centres are build on public land, on private property who warrant access, and very little trail-centre owned land. You'd be surprised to see.

Those who say it's only 20$ have the means and that's good for them, but not everyone can afford to go ride when they feel like it for 20-25$, sometimes just for an hour, and there are not many places left to ride for free or for cheaper, like it used to be a few years ago. This is just one more thing to add to the list of things that will push the least financially comfortable away from enjoying the outdoors/bike trails around here. That's too bad as most other provinces provide the money and/or land to organisms and we can't figure this out here!
  • 2 0
 Anybody else getting the same video for both articles? Only able to watch Part 1.
  • 2 0
 There's 3 articles in the serie, 2 videos. SDM and E47 are featured at the end of Part 1.
  • 4 1
 There may be a lot of rocks in Quebec, but we don't take them for granite.
  • 1 0
 Is it me or did Alex downsize on bike vs Vaea and Christina? He looked like he was flicking a kids bike around!
  • 1 0
 I am in love with Quebec. VBN and SDM are amazing, two of my favorites.
  • 1 0
 Tabernac! Wear your knee pads Alex
  • 3 0
 if you must... it is spelled tabArnac. you're welcome.
  • 1 0

I always write it « Tabarnak! ».

More satisfying for some reason...

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