Destination Showcase: Ride Québec City Part 3 - Côte-de-Beaupré

Jan 13, 2021 at 9:57
by Andy Vathis  

Flowing Downstream
Video: Liam Mullany
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.

Destination Showcase: Ride Quebec City Part 1 - Portneuf
Destination Showcase: Ride Quebec City Part 2 - Jacques-Cartier

Early morning and a global pandemic combine for quiet streets in Old Québec.

The cobblestone streets are lined with pubs, cafes, and shops around the Hotel Frontenac.

The mountain bikes serve as city bikes while out exploring.

Alex playing on the cobblestones.


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 Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is one of the highlights on the drive up from Québec City.

Welcome to MSA.

The classic arches and red gondolas greet you as soon as you arrive.

The view from the la Crête is spectacular and on a clear day you can even see Quebéc City in the distance.

Dropping into the 1837 with Vaea leading the charge. She knows a thing or two about competing here. Her racing history is rooted in the hills of Québec before she ever saw the international scene.

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 through the trees.

The last light peeking through. The crew veers off the see what the legendary World Cup track has in store.

Alex and Vaea taking turns on the step down under the gondola.

It's always a good idea to stop and check out the line on the World Cup track. The Stevie Smith Drop is no easy feat.

Vaea is no stranger to this brutal track. This time, however, it's without race tape and on her trail bike no less.

Mont-Sainte-Anne DH Park mountain biking trails

The inversion rolling in from the river just after sunrise.


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.

It's a new network here so Trailforks had to come out for some direction.

Sunrise above the fog.

The views above Le Massif are going to be very tough to contend with.

Finally in the trees, Alex and Christina find some air time.

More lush green foliage as the trail heads towards the river.

The trail crew worked wonders moving dirt on the progressive jump trail.

Vaea enjoying a freshly sculpted berm.

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 Knowledge

Getting 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, Saint-Raymond
- Entourage sur le Lac, Lac-Beauport
- Le Maelstrom, Lac-Beauport
- Le Manoir du Lac Delage, Lac Delage
- Chateau Mont-Sainte-Anne, Beaupré
- Le Massif de Charlevoix, Petite-Rivière-Sainte-François

The 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.

- 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 Festibiere

Portneuf - 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, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Sentiers du Moulin, Empire 47, Massif de Charlevoix et Vallee Bras-du-Nord.


  • 22 0
 I'm not from Quebec (Halifax, living in BC), but I can't stress enough how cool Quebec City is. There's nothing like it in North America. It should be on everyone's bucket list - especially if you're on this continent. The amazing growth of mountain bike trail systems is just icing on the cake.
  • 4 0
 The city looks like Bretagne / Normandie and Mt Saint Michel in France.
  • 13 2
 "One of the oldest city in North america" what about THE oldest city in North america AND unlike older city, Quebec city preserve is heritage.
  • 2 0
 Seeing the city under the city is pretty cool and sort of humbling knowing so many people before you stood on the same ground. Some of those people were responsible for carving it out of the natural rugged beauty it is surrounded by and building timeless structures. And here I am commenting on pinkbike. haha.
  • 5 0
 Us in St. John's will debate that claim
  • 9 0
 The two places I tell people they need to visit are Iceland and Old Quebec. The family trip we did to MSA for World Champs will hopefully be a lifelong memory for my kids. I love it up there.
  • 11 0
 MSA is SO much more than the 1837 and the World Cup dh track
  • 8 2
 quebec got a lot a great micro brewery

rocquemont st raymond
quebec city
la souche
noctem (best ipa)
alpha brewing (second best ipa)
brasserie général
brasserie urbaine
la korigane
boite a malt
a lot of great beer
  • 9 3
 Bon! Maintenant, est-ce que le Massif va ouvrir pour tous? J'ai eu l'impression que l'ouverture des pistes en 2020 a été un peu restrictif... Quand tu es rendu que le monde son rendu des ''scalpers'' pour les tickets...
  • 7 0
 Just to add, the 3 Articles where really great! Got to so stoked for the season to come! The vids where to notch!
  • 5 58
flag jmtbf (Mar 31, 2021 at 7:48) (Below Threshold)
 english please
  • 5 1
 @jmtbf: ;-). It was directed to ''Le massif'' admins
  • 9 1
 @jmtbf: But it's good practice if you want to come to Qc Wink He's wondering if tickets sales at Le Massif will be restricted this year as it was the case during pre-opening last Fall.
Answer: yes there's a cap, but it should be much less of a problem with the resort open all summer instead of 9 days in total last year.
  • 2 0
 @bikeboarder: thanks
  • 2 1
 @jlb1: thanks
  • 1 0
 @jlb1: How many per day? Is it for Covid restriction?
  • 2 0
 @bikeboarder: Plenty Wink And it's for Covid as well as lift/trail capacity. Nobody would win from having gigantic lift lines and overcrowded trails.
  • 7 0
 This series has made me so nostalgic about my time living near Quebec. Love that Massif got the shout out. That place is great for skiing.
  • 9 1
 G-Dam Québec city is beautiful.
  • 1 0
 The pictures don't clearly show the wind that goes right through goretex, skin and bones... :-)
  • 5 1
 Don't beleive the hype, the riding and trails suck here. Lots of biting insects, rock gardens that swallow small children if the bugs dont get them first. Dont believe the hype and go elsewhere.
  • 4 0
 MSA was a ton of fun to visit for me as a rider, but my bike felt the abuse lol. Rest in Pieces 2014 norco sight, you served me well old friend.
  • 6 0
 Vaea Just shreds....Stylish hard charging rider....awesome
  • 3 0
 Yeah, those shots of her leading out on the MSA race track. She's so composed on the trail bike, and that trail is a Brute.
  • 7 0
 Aww. Aren’t I happy that I scrolled by. Thanks friends!! xx
  • 4 0
 I'd only just got over my Canada road trip being cancelled by covid last year and now this...
  • 5 0
 yea! americans! go there Smile
  • 15 0
 Hopefully this doesn't offend any Americans here, but I found the New England states to remind me of an American Canada when I visited East Burke, VT. Maple syrup lines everywhere, friendly folk and Bernie Sanders. Combination I can really get behind. Those folks are welcome up here.
  • 11 1
 @dmytrow: many Vermonters would love to be considered honorary Canadians. I can't wait until we can freely travel back and forth again. I love visiting Quebec and I enjoy sharing our VT trails with our neighbors to the north.
  • 4 0
 Canada will not open its borders this year, don't get your hopes up Team USA
  • 2 1
 Driven across Canada 3x and Quebec city is my favourite stop. Blows my mind every time that I'm still in North America. We park and ferry from Levis, wander around and shop, grab some dinner in old Quebec and hit the buskers by le Chateau Frontenac for an amazing time.
  • 2 0
 To add to the Massif comments, it will be opened everyday from the 19th of June to July 4th and July 16th- august 1st. Afterwards, it will open on weekends up to October 11th. Hope to see you there.
  • 5 1
 Never wanted to go to Quebec till now.
  • 6 0
 Montreal and Quebec City are both worth checking out. Especially if you like food. The quality and quantity of restaurants is insane. You can wonder either city by foot or bike for days upon days and never get bored. They're unlike any other cities I've visited in North America.

I've yet to have the pleasure of riding in Quebec yet (other than O-Cup races in Camp Fortune in the mid-2000s). It's been on my trip list for a while now and you can see why from these Destination Showcase articles.
  • 3 0
 Quebec has a feel unlike the east coast of USA and western canada. I haven't made it to europe yet but folks mention it has a European feel to it.
  • 3 0
 @big-red: Quebec if you like food, Montreal if you like food and to party.
  • 1 0
 @MartyFluxMcFly: 100% accurate.
  • 2 0
 Looks like a fun trip! I would like to request a Caption contest for the shot of the three of you standing on the jetty waiting for the tide to come in.
  • 2 0
 Now let's just hope MSA won't be a mess this summer. The gondola being broken and not repaired killed all excitement to do back there
  • 1 0
 It is back in service.
  • 3 0
 @Groov-E: they haven't confirmed whether it'll be used for biking this summer, though.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, walking 1/4 way up the hill each run after paying full price for a lift ticket did kinda suck.
  • 1 0
 @bishopsmike: I feel your pain Mike as I had a season pass, but at least they kept the lights on during Covid.

Had I been on a trip, I guess I would have been unsatisfied as well.

A single bracket bike rack on every two chair was a freakin’ joke.

On crowded weekends, I simply pedaled my way to the top of the mountain. An hour climbing vs an hour waiting for the chairlift was a no-brainer to me.

I kind of turned it into a positive thing on my Enduro bike and it whipped me back into shape in no time.

First time wasn’t easy at all, then thing got easier the more I hussled.

I just watched Vaea doing the Steve Smith drop on her enduro or trail bike....that drop is as gnarly as they get !

See you then!
  • 1 0
 @Groov-E: that's an awesome attitude, I'll try to think of that!
  • 3 0
 So proud of my home city! Thanks for the showcase.
  • 4 1
 so basically I should live in Quebec
  • 2 0
 Solid three part series. Great job! Quebec is a great year round destination.
  • 2 0
 Next time you gotta go to the Sugar Shack on Ile d'Orleans!
  • 1 0
 I think the link for Part 2 is broken? Also I can't find it when searching the site.
  • 1 0
 It has 3 articles in total, but only 2 videos. It is confusing.
  • 1 0
 @Coolwinner05: You're correct, my bad.
  • 1 0
 @BadgerBacker: Happy to help!
  • 2 0
 Good fishins in Qweebeck
  • 1 0
 Le sketch.
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