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Bikepacking in Québec's Laurentides

Quebec's Parc des Laurentides possesses over 2,000 lakes dispersed throughout the 3,000 square miles of forest preserve.

Words & Photography by Mathieu Desrosiers

A three-day bikepacking expedition through Québec's Reserve National du Parc des Laurentides is not just a physical journey; it's a soul-stirring exploration of unspoiled nature. As you navigate the trails, breathe in the pure air, and embrace the challenges of the wilderness, you'll forge a connection with the untamed beauty of Québec's heartland.

This adventure wasn’t just a ride; it was a transformative experience that will leave you with memories of rugged trails, pristine lakes, and the indomitable spirit of the wilderness.

I've always been drawn beyond the tarmac and into the woods. My cycling journey began on the mountain bike in Gatineau, and I've since come to enjoy bikepacking and gravel riding. 

The plan was simple: venture 1 hour's drive north of Québec City to explore the expansive wilderness by bike, capture some of nature's gifts on film, and attempt to fish our dinner from one of the hundreds of streams throughout Laurentides.

Derenik proposed exploring Le Parc des Laurentides as it was suitable for both biking and fishing. Common fish species in Québec include brook trout, lake trout, northern pike, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass.

We loaded up our bikes with our hammocks and fishing rods, and set off north towards Laurentides.

We planned to ride for 3 days and stop along the various streams and lakes to attempt fishing for our dinner. Day 1 was plagued by strong rain, which began to pour consistently a mere 15 minutes into the ride. 

Following numerous attempts, we were only able to catch one fish, a speckled trout, on the trip, and would have to settle for roasting vegetables over campfire. Bikepacking trips are often riddled with unexpected adversity. Despite the heavy rain and unsuccessful fishing efforts, I reflect on the trip as a positive experience. It was a fiasco, but it was fun.

Mathieu Desrosiers is a Québec City-based cyclist. He enjoys gravel riding, bikepacking and mountain biking. His cycling journey began on MTB in Gatineau, and his first bikepacking trip took place in 2020 on the Gaspé Peninsula in southeastern Quebec. Mathieu lives in Québec City with his girlfriend Florence, who races professionally in Europe. Follow his journeys on Instagram @method_math