Photography & Words: Andy Vathis
Riders: From Rocky Mountain
Vaea Verbeeck and Alex Volokhov, with Pinkbike Presenter Christina Chappetta
Over 800,000 people call the province's capital home and for good measure. Québec City has a similar feel to a smaller European city and once above the fortified walls of Old Québec, the similarities are hard to miss. The quaint, narrow streets were designed with horse-drawn carriages in mind and the cobblestones make an appearance every now and then. Among all the history and architecture, the Québecois culture is deeply embedded in everyday life. Don't let the French signage scare you off. In the pre-Covid era, you'd find terraces spilling into the streets and there is European cuisine offered at every corner along with regional classics. The city shares its shoreline with the Saint Laurent River, the province's most important waterway as it continues to serve as a gateway inland from the Atlantic for goods and travel. The vast body of water was shaped by glacial ice millions of years ago and is also the focal point of the cycling destinations featured here. Previously:Destination Showcase: Ride Quebec City Part 1 - Portneuf
Destination Showcase: Ride Quebec City Part 2 - Jacques-Cartier
The cobblestone streets are lined with pubs, cafes, and shops around the Hotel Frontenac.
The mountain bikes serve as city bikes while out exploring.
Where do you begin to describe one of the most iconic venues to ever hold a mountain bike race in the world? World Cup races and even a few World Championship rounds have graced the Mont-Sainte-Anne mountainside for almost 30 years. The annual pilgrimage to this side of the pond from the largely European series is always an exciting time. Thousands flock to see the very best in the world compete in the main events strung over multiple disciplines for one grand weekend, once a summer.
MSA is not a one-track-pony. It's far from it. The lift access trails are rugged, raw, and have withstood the test of time. The legendary 1837 is a prime example of a technical trail that will get your blood pumping as soon as you drop in. Even so, the mountain is well suited for every rider. In recent years, the trail crew has been shaping the identity of the network to include everyone's needs, realizing that the majority of riders that visit here aren't riding downhill bikes. There are over 130 kilometres of no chair access trails to explore and connect, too.
The classic arches and red gondolas greet you as soon as you arrive.
Alex getting acquainted with the 1837 tech.
It's deep greens and tight corners at the beginning before it the woods open up and let more light in.
The girls jumping out into the open
Alex and Vaea taking turns on the step down under the gondola.Mont-Sainte-Anne DH Park mountain biking trails
Just half an hour up the Saint Laurent from Mont-Sainte-Anne lies Le Massif de Charlevoix. The resort is the new kid on the block when it comes to biking, but with big plans for the future, it's bound to make a statement. It already has spectacular views, chalets scattered above and below, and chairlifts that run the length of the largest vertical drop in the region. It's a renowned ski resort during the winter with impressive terrain, and all of that is now being transformed to accommodate a two-wheeled sport. As it stands, there are 20 kilometres of trail that available with nearly 20 more in the works over the next few seasons, ranging from beginner to expert. Right now, the trails cater to intermediate riders with beginners in mind. That doesn't mean there isn't something for the more advanced riders, either. The faster you go, the better it gets.
Finally in the trees, Alex and Christina find some air time.
The trail crew worked wonders moving dirt on the progressive jump trail.
A quick visit to Baie-Saint-Paul to check out the impressive tides and landscape.
We wrapped up our trip in the Québec City area after a week's worth of exploring wanting more. Lucky for us and for those who live there, mountain biking has grown exponentially over the last few years area and doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon. The trail networks all recognize this and are acting accordingly. Each one of these destinations we visited has their own personality, approaching and shaping the rugged terrain to suit their needs. It helps, too, that there is funding being unlocked to further push the scene forward. It's safe to say the movement in Québec City is in good hands.Le Massif de Charlevoix mountain biking trails
Local KnowledgeGetting here: Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport
, 16 km (10 miles) away from downtown Québec City, can be reached via boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel ( 138 ) or autoroute Duplessis (540). Phone: 418-640-3300 or 1-877-769-2700.
Direct flights from many major cities in Canada and the US such as Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, New York and Chicago are available to Québec City.
For all flight options from and to Québec City, please refer to the list of destinations
served by Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport.
For more information see here Bike-friendly accommodation:
- Le Roquemont
- Entourage sur le Lac
- Le Maelstrom
- Le Manoir du Lac Delage
, Lac Delage
- Chateau Mont-Sainte-Anne
- Le Massif de Charlevoix
, Petite-Rivière-Sainte-FrançoisThe Climate & Wildlife:
The mountain bike trails in the Quebec City area are usually accessible from early June until mid-October. You’ll mostly be riding on singletrack in mixed forest and summer weather temperatures are between 10°C to 30°C and humid. Bugs and mosquitos can be quite present early in the summer.
The region also offers some of the most beautiful trail centers in the world for fat biking on snow from mid-December to the end of March. Temperatures are between 0°C and -25°C degrees, with sometimes a strong windchill. All fat biking operations offer affordable rentals, so visitors don’t need to bring their own fat bike.Bike shop and repairs:
Vallée Bras-du-Nord, Sentiers du Moulin, Empire 47, and Mont-Sainte-Anne all have a full-service bike shop. Note that there is no bike service at Le Massif for 2021 so make sure your bike is in order before getting there. In town, there are plenty of great bike shops to choose from. Tech Tip:
The terrain is extremely varied across the region. Outside of the lift operation at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif, a bike you’re comfortable pedaling up and around is a must. Choose grippy compound tires with versatile treads since you’ll likely encounter a bit of everything.
Mont-Sainte-Anne has a good amount of technical, high consequence DH track, so long-travel enduro or dedicated downhill bikes are recommended.Food and Drink:
Quebec City is well known for its fine cuisine, there are plenty of options downtown, close to the trail centers, and even at the trail centers. Downtown
- Traditional Québec food: La Buche
- A poutine with a view on the Château Frontenac: Le Chic Shack
- Northern Cuisine: Chez Boulay Boreal Bistro
- Eat at the only revolving restaurant in town: Ciel! Bistro-Bar
- Fantastic cocktails: L'Atelier
- Local craft beers: La Korrigane
- Best terrace: La Cour arriere du FestibierePortneuf
- Le Roquemont
is ideal for a post-ride locally brewed beer and a good meal. If you’re after the classic poutine, stop at the Ti-Oui Snack-Bar. If finer, less squeaky, cheese is your thing, La fromagerie Alexis de Portneuf
is only a 10-minute drive from Le Roquemont and Vallée Bras-du-Nord - Saint-Raymond.La Jacques-Cartier
- Great food and microbrewery beers are available at La Buvette du Moulin
, Sentiers du Moulin dedicated restaurant. Another very popular food and beer destination is La Souche
, located in Stoneham, a 5-minute drive from Empire 47. For all things bread and pastry, stop at Pascal Le Boulanger in Stoneham or Lac-Beauport for some of the finest treats.Côte-de-Beaupré and Charlevoix
- Microbrasserie Des Beaux Prés (microbrewery), Chez Bolduc (fast-food) and Les Trois-Bec (sandwich and gourmet food) are good options close to Mont-Sainte-Anne. As for Le Massif, you’ll have to drive to Bais-Saint-Paul to find great offerings like the À Chacun Son Pain bakery, the Microbrasserie de Charlevoix, La Laiterie de Charlevoix
and the relaxed gastropub Le Saint-Pub.Must Dos:Visit Old Québec
- As one of the oldest cities of North America, the Québec City old town is full of surprise and a worthwhile experience.Montmorency falls
- Taller than Niagara falls with plenty of sightseeing options, including a crazy zip line and a bold via Ferrata route. Drive around Île d'Orléans
- Take a trip back in time to 18th century rural Québec, complete with centuries-old villages, farms, churches, and heritage homes.
Find more must-see attractions see here
Pinkbike would like to thank de Quebec City Mountain Bike
, Rocky Mountain bikes
, Sentiers du Moulin
, Empire 47
, Massif de Charlevoix
et Vallee Bras-du-Nord