Quebec's Gaspésie: Breathtaking & Unbelievable
Last year I visited the Gaspésie Region for six days of riding. This particular ride is an annual event sponsored by the Federation of Quebec Clubs Quad (FQCQ) and the local clubs of the region.
In its 23rd year, the FQCQ, Quebec’s provincial governing body for ATVs, has grown to 145 clubs, maintains 10,400 miles (16,685 kms) of trails and has 59,100 members.
The Gaspésie Region consists of 11 Clubs maintaining over 1500 miles of trails. In the city of Rimouski, we hooked up with Danny Gagnon, the General Director of the FQCQ and Carole Jolin, publisher of the FQCQ magazine. We also met the 40 lucky ATV enthusiasts who had applied to get a spot on this ride.
The itinerary was set for an 8:30 am departure and we headed inland from the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Amqui as our destination and, later in the day, rode on Club Matapedia’s Trails. I have personally never seen a group and a town so committed to a cause. It probably explains the motel parking lots full of ATVs. We came into Amqui on a Sunday evening and the next morning the trail leaving town was freshly groomed. Yes, I said groomed!
Next morning, we rode into the mountains. We climbed up and down trails in these mountains that just about made our hearts explode from the adrenaline rushes. I should have taken more pictures, but I don’t think I could have held the camera steady enough.
We left Ste Anne des Monts on the third day and headed inland from the coast back up into the mountains. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and when you looked out to the Gulf you could not distinguish where sky and ocean meet.
Mount Ste. Pierre was our destination on this day and getting down into this town is an experience! The elevation drop from the lookout overlooking the town must be 2500 ft. and the trail we went down must have had seven near-vertical switchbacks. Mount Ste. Pierre is legendary for its hang-gliding off the cliffs above the village and you can take a tour bus up to the launch site.
Like Amqui, this village was full of ATVs and I’m willing to bet everyone who rides into town visits the local Yamaha dealer. He is an absolute ambassador for ATVing in the Gaspésie Region.
On our fifth day we again headed in from the coast with Murdochville as our lunch stop. Amazingly, there was still snow on the northern slopes of some of the mountains.
When you see huge windmills dotting the landscape, you know you’re getting close to Murdochville. Make sure you ride up to the lookout overlooking the town and view the open pit mine.
In six days we rode just shy of 600 miles and even the cold, rainy weather of the last day couldn’t dampen our spirits. If there’s a better place to ride an ATV, I don’t know where it is. The trails, scenery and hospitality are world class in this area.
Danny Gagnon and his crew run a great tour to showcase this tremendous region. The FQCQ is very fortunate to have this man as its leader. His passion for this sport is indescribable.
This special brand of enthusiasm has enabled the Federation to form strong partnerships with the government divisions of Transportation, Environment and Tourism.
When you buy a FQCQ permit in Quebec and then get out and experience the trails, you quickly realize you’ve gotten in on one of the best deals in the sport!
For information on the Federation Ride or on the FQCQ call 888-252-3554 or visit www.fqcq.qc.ca
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