In the summer it was a road–now, snow nearly covered the bright red guardrail designed to keep us from falling off the top of the mountain with our snowmobiles.
When I dared look, I could see the glaciary valley between the mountain I stood on and the peaks on the opposite site. White trails criss-crossed the evergreens on those mountains, just as they did on the mountain I was on.
I’d made it!
I’d driven my snowmobile all the way up the mountain, climbing ever higher, reaching plateaus where I caught my breath, then ledges where it seemed my skis dangled over the edge and I couldn’t breathe at all.
And now I could see all the way to the St. Lawrence River, where seaway merged with the sky on the horizon. Snowmobiling La Haute-Gaspesie region of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done–and this overlook was one of its grandest sites.
Snowmobile La Haute-Gaspesie Region on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec FAQ
- La Haute Gaspesie is also known as Upper Gaspe.
- With 80 miles, or 130 kilometers, of shoreline, La Haute-Gaspésie follows the St. Lawrence River.
- This region, La Haute-Gaspesie, has the highest mountains in southern Quebec–the Chic-Chocs (a continuation of the Appalachian Mountains).
- These mountains were carved out by the glaciers over 100,000 years ago, leaving glacial valleys and rivers.
- The area contains Gaspesie National Park.
- Route 132, the main highway through Gaspesie, forms a loop of about 900 kilometres (560 miles), and is a world-renowned scenic drive (the Gaspésie Tour).
- Mont Jacques Cartier is the highest peak in the Chic-Chocs, and the second highest in Quebec.
- Snowmobilers follow Trans-Quebec trail No. 5 through the Chic-Chocs in Gaspesie.
The trail system in Quebec is excellent–some of the best I’ve snowmobiled. One thing that was new to me, however, was the law about having–and using–rear-view mirrors on your snowmobile. It took awhile to remember somebody could be coming up and whizzing past you on the smooth, smooth trails.
Back in Saskatchewan, where I’m occasionally a “snowflake inspector” (whoops, lost the sled for a minute!), the mirrors could be an expensive option to keep in place as I suspect they wouldn’t stand up to my close encounters with the handlebars or being flipped over.
Why is Quebec a perfect snowmobile destination?
I loved snowmobiling in Quebec for many reasons! One of the main ones was, of course, the trails. Even though we visited late in the year, they were still well groomed and smooth.
While it may sound strange to say the trails all led somewhere, it’s nice to know there are a number of places along the way to make fuel stops and get a hot drink and great meal. And getting there was easy–yes, we had a wonderful guide, but trail signage was frequent, explicit, and easy-to-follow even if French wasn’t your first language.
The terrain in Gaspesie presented a wide range for sledders. While there were lots of mountains to climb, there were also plateaus and valleys and forests and rivers and bridges. In fact, I crossed about 20 times more bridges snowmobiling in Quebec than I’d ever crossed before in my life!
In my three decades or so of snowmobiling adventures, I’d always wanted to do a saddlebag trip, where I snowmobiled from town to town, and it was easy in Quebec. So, for three nights and four days, I was an adventurer living (and teaching I might add–since my laptop was crammed into my pack as well so I could teach via the Internet) out of a bag!
But the big reason that my snowmobile adventure in Quebec ranks as my Staycation Stop #4 on my list of favorite destinations from previous years is that I actually did it! I snowmobiled 600 miles (1000 km) in three-and-a-half days driving a snowmobile that wasn’t even my own–in fact the Polaris I rode wasn’t even remotely like my Ski-Doo Rev.
I scaled mountains, overcame fears, experienced the mountains and culture of Quebec, and came away a changed person.
Here’s a YouTube video that takes you through the Chic-Chocs!
Snowmobile Quebec Information
- Snowmobile Extreme Chic-Chocs – backcountry snowmobile guides – http://www.extremechicchocs.com/#!__english
- Maritime Quebec Tourism – http://www.quebecmaritime.ca/en
- Snowmobile Maritime Quebec – http://www.quebecmaritime.ca/en/sports-and-outdoor-recreation/snowmobiling
- Snowmobile the unique Gaspe region – http://www.snowmobile.com/events/quebecs-unique-gaspe-region-905.html