The network of trails in the province of Quebec extends for almost 17,000 kilometers, with more than a quarter of them maintained throughout the year by the Fédération Québécoise des Clubs Quads and its member clubs and their devoted volunteers. Over 300,000 Quebecers use their ATVs to explore and fully appreciate the treasure that is their province with all of its amazing and vastly diversified sceneries. Whatever region you choose to explore, a very special experience is guaranteed.
Baskatong Reservoir and Laurentians
Fully-formed following the construction of the Mercier Dam in 1927, The Baskatong Reservoir is a man-made lake in western Quebec, Canada, well appreciated by many anglers and vacationers. This huge man-made body of water is accessible by several short forest roads off Route 117, about 200 km (124 mi) north of Ottawa, and about 290 km (180 mi) north-west from Montreal.
The immense Baskatong Reservoir, with its countless sandy beaches, all along its shores, offers tourists a great selection of hunting and fishing outfitters that offer accommodations in lodges, cottages and camping sites. Its pristine waters cover an area of 413 km², filled with a wide variety of fish. Fishermen can catch: northern pike, lake trout, lake herring, whitefish and landlocked salmon, but the area is mostly well-known for its great quality of Walleye or pickerel fishing. Along the reservoir, 2,800 kilometers of banks make for almost as many kilometers of sandy beaches where you can fully take advantage of the sun. Varied packages and activities are offered by several outfitters at the reservoir.
The Communal Fauna Area of Baskatong Reservoir, or in other words: Public piece of water needing particular management measures to insure the conservation and enhancement of the wildlife, was created in the spring of 1998 in collaboration with the “Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Faune”. The Baskatong Reservoir was the second such fauna protection area to be created in Quebec, the first being located in Lac St-Jean and dating back to 1996.
Be advised that if you decide to pack fishing gear on your ATV, fishing permits are compulsory in order to fish on any targeted territory lent with exclusive fishing rights by the Government of Quebec. A $ 5.00 fee for a day of fishing access rights will get you going. 75% of it will serve for the enhancement, restoration and the protection of all wildlife of the Baskatong Reservoir. It is also asked that people refrain from using leeches as bait, out of respect for others who do not fish and to avoid pollution of these beautiful beaches.
In addition to the lake itself, the territory surrounding Baskatong is able to charm all great nature amateurs. Its vast forests offer loads of excursion and exploration activities, such as self-picking of wild fruits or mushrooms and/or just plain old great hiking on foot. For hunting amateurs, the region is also abundant in game. Several outfitters of the sector remain in operation for the winter season to accommodate ATV and snowmobiling trail riders.
Among the choice spots to fully appreciate the reservoir’s great beauty, is the Devil’s Mountain region. The second highest peak in the Laurentians at 783 meters (2,569 feet) with 30+ kilometres (18+ miles) of trails of varying difficulty levels. Devil’s Falls is one of the popular sights on several of the various hikes Devil’s Mountain is known for, and many guided tours are through the area every summer. The Upper Laurentians’ many bush roads are an invitation to enjoy the sport of motorized all-terrain vehicles as a way to discover the beauty of nature, while zigzagging through the forest. Over the last few years, regional ATV clubs have maintained and improved trails and opened new ones. Several group trips are organized and the clubs work real hard to offer a full range of activities. The Devil’s Tour is a 3 to 4 day tour covering over 400 km of trails. On the north side of the mountain, riders can discover many natural waterfalls such as Chute Windigo, Chute César and Chute Serpent. On the south side of the same tour, they will come across Lac des 31 Miles and the picturesque municipalities of Notre-Dame-de-Pontmain, Lac-du-Cerf and Notre-Dame-du-Laus. Other one day packages are also offered; one along the Rivière Rouge and another that guides you to Akerson Waterfall, the vista tower atop the mountain at Lac Trinité and the countless accessible ATV roads crossing the Maison de Pierre Zec.
The Mauricie region and town of La Tuque
The Mauricie region, with its green spaces and always good to breathe fresh air, is cherished by water sport lovers, avid or beginner fishermen, hunters, campers and, of course, it’s no surprise that ATVs have become the vehicle of choice, to truly appreciate all that this grand territory has to offer. It is rich with lakes and rivers, among which is the Saint-Maurice River, separating it almost in its middle that stretches across the region from north to south. At least a dozen Z.E.C. (controlled harvesting zones) can be found in the region, for the joy of fishers and hunters. Be prepared to pay small extra access fees to ride in those zones.
The view, driving north up to La Tuque along the Saint-Maurice River’s banks on route 155, is breathtaking all along the way. From the base of the river where it flows into the vast St-Lawrence River right on up to La Tuque, small picturesque towns and villages reflect in the mirror effect of its racing waters, occasionally sped up by plenty of tiny untouched islands. Sandy beaches on one side, pristine forests cut with majestic and intimidating rock faces on the other, constantly draw your attention. Once arrived in La Tuque, we drove just 20 minutes northwest to club Odanak, a hotel complex built entirely of wood with a distinctly Canadian architecture located on the ancestral territory of the Atikamek nation, and spotted many road signs clearly indicating the legality of ATV use, with a beautiful green circle around a very poorly drawn quad, along the way. What a sight for sore eyes! In La Tuque, throughout the entire month of May, ATV riders can roll right into the town center on given streets from 7 am to 11 pm.
You can tailor your trip according to very different needs or budgets. Find luxurious five star hotels out in the middle of nowhere, with relaxing decor often influenced by the area’s lumber heritage and fine dining, for when you bring the whole family or you can opt for a bit rougher and cheaper kind of trip when you come up with your friends. Cultural and historic attractions as well as festivals and events, entertain many tourists from all over the world, all year round. Among the most popular activities, is the St-Tite western festival and the 12 hours of La Tuque ATV/motorcycle endurance race. The ATV friendly town of La Tuque is known for its very welcoming inhabitants and calm and peaceful living. In and around town, experience some of the most unique landscapes in the province, and enjoy hundreds of kilometers of groomed ATV trails. They are the hottest you’ve ever seen, and they go on forever. A 100 kilometers, 200 a day is the norm in this territory, and there is almost no limit on how long you can make your ride last, as there are connecting trail systems that climb right up into another Québec ATV hot spot: the Lac St-Louis and Chicoutimi region to the east.
The hospitality is remarkable in the ATV world and despite the fact that a language barrier might make some of your communications interestingly and amusingly made up of your broken French and their broken English, combined with a few gestures, you will find and get all you need to make your trek one of the most memorable possible. If you’re sitting on a quad, these people will gladly open up the conversation with a smile and thumbs up. Chances are they will greet you like family, as almost every resident here owns a quad!
Traveling along the majestic and legendary Ashuapmushuan River, you can journey through an historic route, which explores the great natural landscapes of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, a region in Quebec, Canada, which contains the Saguenay Fjord, estuary of the Saguenay River, that stretches through much of this beautiful land and fascinates with breathtaking rocky walls and pristine blue waters. Here one can truly enjoy nature at its grandest! Imagine yourself riding through the sand dunes downstream at Tadoussac or climbing off your quad to walk to the edge among steep slopes and breathtaking cliffs at Rivière-Éternité, where huge granite walls carved by once roving glaciers stand imposingly some 300 meters high. In awe of such amazing sights, we understand why some people call the region “the Kingdom”!
Bordered by dense forests and mountainous massifs, the immense Lac-Saint-Jean, more than 35 km in diameter, is a hot spot for tourists from everywhere and also a popular destination for residents of the more urban regions of Quebec who vacation there mostly in the summer. In 2002, the cities of Chicoutimi, Jonquière, La Baie and the surrounding area amalgamated and became the City of Saguenay, commercial centre for the entire region. Our own test rider and consultant Martin Bouchard, better known as Fitto, made world famous with his amazing talent as an airbrush artist, grew up in Chicoutimi and first rode 3-wheelers there and always spoke of his hometown as a paradise for the most passionate and true ATV trail riders.
Cruises, whale-watching excursions, hunting and fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, cycling in the summer or ice fishing, cross-country skiing and even dog sledding in wintertime, are only some of the numerous fun things to do in the area. Among the many very interesting guided outdoor and adventure activities available there, is one that takes you on the historic fur-trading route. Traveling along the majestic and legendary Ashuapmushuan River, you will journey through an historic route that explores great natural landscapes and offers many opportunities to enjoy seeing the rich wilderness that thrives along its shores.
These are only a few regions that can be enjoyed by ATVers in Quebec. You can find a lot more information on any specific trail system in Quebec by using the “Fédération Québécoise des Clubs Quads” website at www.fqcq.qc.ca , a great starting point to access information on their 123 different clubs and their activities.