Ride Québec City is a 4-part mini series showcasing the riding in and around the Québec City Area. This is episode II, filmed at Vallée Bras-du-Nord.
“Full Neilson”, not to be confused with Squamish’s Full Nelson, is a classic route in the Vallée Bras-du-Nord Shannahan zone. It starts with the Neilson Est, then link to the Neilson Nord and Neilson Sud for a total of 32 km and over 1100 m of climbing and descending.See the route on Trailforks.com
To ride a “Full Neilson” at least once a year is becoming a classic amongst locals and savvy riders alike.
Several elements probably contribute to the growing flow of riders visiting this area but the rugged, remote feel, the incredibly varied terrain and the great craftsmanship with which the trails were designed are probably on top of the list.
After a little warm-up on the Grande Ourse singletrack, the route really begins with the Neilson Est, a 9 km trail featuring the brutal 2 km climb on a steep and loose doubletrack called the “Côte à Ti-Oui”. The reward? Over 3 km of descending under tall deciduous tree canopy. It’s the kind of downhill that’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear.The Neilson Est might be a bit hard to reach, but it's always worth it!
The Neilson Est connects with the Neilson Nord, one of Vallée Bras-du-Nord most renowned trail. Mainly carved on the banks of the Neilson River, this trail greets the riders with gorgeous bridges and unique vistas on the Cap des Sept Côtes, a 300 m rock face that looks like something between the Pisgah Looking Glass Rock and the Squamish Stawamus Chief.
The trail work is amazing, so much that it’s sometimes easy to forget how beautiful the scenery is. Lots of the trail building there is done through a social reintegration process for youths, helping them get back on track by being outdoor and building trails.
The last trail on the “Full Neilson” is the Neilson Sud, the first Neilson trail to open, back in 2012. In continuity with the river theme, this trail was built along a beautiful creek called "Ruisseau à Théo".
Once out of the Neilson trails, you’ll have plenty of options to pedal back to the parking lot. The easiest one is the forest service road, but since you’re in Shannahan, it’s best to ride a bit more by using Grand Ourse and Grande Évasion.
If you want to push toward a 40 km day, the later links with Aurore, a climbing trails that give access to Boréal, a 3.4 km downhill trail.
Our next stop will be at Mont-Sainte-Anne, where we’ll look at the rebirth of a popular trail and how this iconic mountain is trying to keep up with the changing needs of riders.
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Quebec City Area mountain biking trails