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Snowmobiling in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie
  • Rimouski, Bas-Saint-Laurent
    Patric Nadeau/Tourisme Bas-Saint-Laurent

Snowmobiling in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie

Why I Enjoy Exploring These Regions

Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie are two regions that are deeply connected in the winter, offering you access to both the sea and mountains. Once enough snow falls, they’re crisscrossed with snowmobile trails that will take you along the St. Lawrence to the easternmost edge of the province of Québec.

In fact, a whole army of volunteers and staff from local snowmobile clubs are just waiting for a heavy snowfall to get out their machinery and work tirelessly to maintain the trails. I’ve met dozens of these enthusiasts, men and women, young and old, who are obsessed with keeping snowmobilers happy!

Every region of Québec has its charms, of course, whatever the season. I know, having explored them all in depth as a journalist. However, the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie regions offer unique geography and climate as well as complementary cultures.

As winter settles in, blue, green and orange snowmobile trails* run between towns and villages like a network of blood vessels. These snow-covered paths hug the coastline, run along old railway lines and climb the highest mountain peaks in these regions. At all times, they reveal striking panoramic views you couldn’t see in any other season. I’ll never forget the sight of the wide St. Lawrence in the Kamouraska area, with a metallic blue sky hanging over it, or the dense snow that makes the stone giants at the heart of Gaspésie appear in shadow. I’ll also always remember the joy that every snowmobiler feels at being photographed in front of Percé Rock: the ultimate proof that you’ve made it to the edge of the world!

I also remember how happy and proud the snowmobilers of the Chaleur Bay area were to show me the superb network of trails they’ve developed and continue to maintain with the utmost dedication, so that snowmobilers like us can access the natural treasures that surround them.

And I firmly believe that the sections of the trails that will take you from Murdochville through wind turbines and then on to the mountains of Mont-Saint-Pierre and Mont-Louis are among the most spectacular in the eastern part of the continent. While you’re there, be sure to take the time to stop and appreciate the immense valleys that cut through this wild and austere environment.

However, and I’m not just saying this, my favourite part of snowmobiling in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie has always been meeting the passionate people who live there. You’ll tell me that people are welcoming throughout the province of Québec, which is true. But those who live in these two regions have inherited a rich and difficult history, giving them an outlook that’s all their own and pleasantly different from the rest of Québec. Their communities have also been enriched by many young and idealistic entrepreneurs who are making the most of every aspect of these regions. These people, who embraces winter and the immensity of these landscapes, are the best ambassadors for welcoming hundreds of snowmobilers in the towns of Rivière-du-Loup, Rimouski, Matane, etc. every year. I can assure you that whether you arrive in the Témiscouata or Matane areas, in Pohénégamook, Dégelis, La Trinité-des-Monts, La Martre, Pabos, Carleton-sur-Mer or Causapscal, you’ll be welcomed like family. And then you’ll do what so many others do… you’ll keep coming back for more!

*Throughout the province of Québec, Trans-Québec trails are marked with blue signs while regional trails are marked with green ones and local trails with orange ones.

Author Yves Ouellet

A versatile communicator and freelance journalist for over 40 years, Yves Ouellet specializes in adventure tourism. Whether in an RV or kayak, on a bike or snowmobile, on foot, snowshoes or skis, he regularly criss-crosses Québec and the world in search of inspiration and in all seasons. He has penned 3500 stories published in Québec newspapers and magazines and has written or contributed to 35 books, mainly coffee-table books and travel guides, all while pursuing a career in regional radio at Radio-Canada from his home in the Saguenay area. Yves has also been a contributor to the Motoneige Québec magazine for three decades and was its editor-in-chief for nearly 20 years. He has a deep and abiding love for the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay Fjord.

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