You’ll leave Tremblant on Chemin Duplessis, then Chemin du Lac Superieur, then Chemin du Nordet, over to Rt. 125. Some of this pavement can be quite good, but other bits are rough. If you have to slow down a bit, make sure you enjoy the forest scenery. From there, you’ll get on the 347, a well-paved route with plenty of fun right-left-right-left action. The road also stretches over some elevation changes, to give you a little extra fun working the gearbox.
After zipping around the top of Parc régional de la Forêt Ouareau (a popular winter vacation spot, but hopefully it doesn’t snow on you here) you’ll head through the Laurentian foothills, passing through Saint-Côme, Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie, Rivière-Noire and Saint-Damien, eventually turning to the 348 in Saint-Gabriel.
By now, the forest will be regularly mixed with farmland. You’ll keep moving east, to the 349, the 350, then the 351. The roads won’t always have a smooth surface, but the curves are plenty of fun.
The best bit comes just before Shawinigan. Sure, you could stay on the 351 and ride through town to Grand-Mére, but where’s the fun in that? If you’ve got enough daylight left, you want to head north on Chemin Saint-Francoise into La Mauricie National Park. The route through this park is undoubtedly one of the best in eastern Canada.
You have to pay to play here (there’s an admittance fee) – but it’s worth it; most of the main route through this park is twisties. The road is heavily wooded on both sides, but there are occasional views of waterways; be sure to stop off at look-offs as well.
If you’re here at the right time of year, traffic is minimal, so you can enjoy yourself. But, beware – there’s no doubt local law enforcement takes a dim view of roadway hijinks, and it would be a shame to have this asphalt closed to motorcyclists due to the actions of a few squids. Also, this is a pretty tight road, with limited visibility in many corners and trees hugging the shoulder; the park has bears, deer and moose aplenty, so don’t ride faster than you can see. It would also be very bad to hit a tourist portaging their canoe across the road.
The park’s eastern entrance will dump you out in Grand-Mere, but we’d recommend doing a U-turn before you get that far and running back and forth in the park again, if you’ve got the time. Just be sure you don’t stay out after dark and run over one of the park’s rare wood turtles; the last thing you need, after losing your front end and woodsing it, is a lecture from a park ecologist.
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