Heading through Portage-du-Fort, you have a choice; you’ve got to either head south, around the bottom of Gatineau Park (which is full of twisty roads and beautiful views itself) on 303, or north, around the top on 301. If you go down 303, you’ll pass through Shawville, one of the few towns in Quebec that has no Catholic church.
You shouldn’t need your phrasebook just yet – the local businesses here aren’t a fan of provincial language laws, and have had run-ins with the authorities over the issue. You’ll get on Rt. 148 here, and follow it south through Luskville, then cut through Gatineau Park on Chemin de Montagne and Chemin Notch. You’ll travel up the northeast side of the park to Wakefield.
Wakefield was settled by Scottish, Irish and English immigrants, and it’s still a bilingual town. There are plenty of unique pubs, cafes and art galleries to check out here before you head east on 366. Or, you could hang out for a while and try the town’s 200-ft bungee jump (the highest in the Americas). It’s your call. If you want to stay there overnight, the Black Sheep Inn has lots of live music.
Route 366 will take you through the municipality of Val-des-Monts, which has a pleasant mixture of farmland and hilly, wooded areas. It drops you out on Rt. 50, where you’ll continue your easterly route. Things get more interesting again when you go north on the 317, as the terrain becomes more hilly.
In Montpellier, you’ll go east on the 315, through Cheneville and Namur. Time it right, and you can take in Namur’s Loggers Summer Festival. Then, you want to head north on the 323, working your way towards the 117. You’re not on the 117 for long; within minutes, you’re heading northwards on Montée Ryan, which will take you the rest of the way to Mont Tremblant. Enjoy the races! … You did schedule your trip to coincide with a race weekend at the Circuit, didn’t you? …
Wait! What if you headed north around Gatineau Park on Rt. 303, then back down the Gatineau River on Rt. 105 to Wakefield? Well, you might get a few more curves, but that leg also adds a bit of distance to the trip, so make your call accordingly.
Remember – most of this route follows Quebecois back roads, and if you know anything at all about the province, you know those roads can have iffy conditions, especially early in the year. Ride with extra caution if the asphalt starts to look more and more deteriorated.
Also watch for wooden bridges; they can be slippery when wet. There could be sand left over from winter on corners, especially early in the spring. There’s also the possibility of encountering moose, bear or deer. And, watch your speed around Gatineau Park.
Have anything to add to this DYR or have a DYR of your own that you’d like to add to the collection? Contact us so that we can improve the DYR experience for all.