I was scrolling my social networks when I stumbled upon an ad from Tourisme Charlevoix: “Discovering Charlevoix on a Snowmobile”. This package, including a one-night stay in a hotel, access to a spa, and snowmobile-exclusive parking under video surveillance, fits my needs perfectly!
Excited by the features of this expedition, my wife and I, with a couple of snowmobile-adept friends, decided to book this trip. All of this was facilitated by the iMotoneige app, developed by la Fédération des Clubs de Motoneiges du Québec (FCMQ).
This app allows you to consult maps of all the trails in Quebec. We plan our itinerary by looking at the various distances we have to ride and the amenities available along the way that pique our interest.
A Good Start in Saguenay
First, a safe and accommodating starting point must be established for us to leave our cars and such, which will be staying there until our return. This way we can travel light!
L’Auberge des Battures seems to be the perfect spot for this. Established somewhere between the Saguenay fjord and the entrance to a forest near our chosen path, this is the ideal location for us! From there, on the morning of February 16th, we embarked on our sleds on the maintained trail leading to the Trans-Québec 83 towards Charlevoix.
Fast, but Safe Trails
The day promises to be suitable for our ride. Indeed, the winter sun shines and the cold weather (around -10 Cº) has us appreciate our warm clothing.
The slightly icy trails are very wide and offer great visibility. We allow ourselves to increase our speed and take advantage of this moment of freedom to enjoy all the splendid landscapes at our disposal.
Impressed by the very high peaks of steep rocks bordered by stretches of various bodies of water, we follow the easy-to-spot road signs while admiring the surroundings. There are many signs on the road warning us of wildlife presence in these parts.
Phew, what a view!
Despite having travelled 170 kilometres already, we are still very comfortable on our Expedition 900 Ace 2022 SE. We are approaching our destination, but we decide it is time to stretch our legs. We branch off to reach a nice viewpoint in the city of Clermont, which we had identified while planning the trip initially. The view of the city from that height was impressive. This is a must see!
Charlevoix, Here We Are!
Since our objective was to reach our destination by lunchtime, and since the roads we were taking weren’t familiar to us, we made our way back to our original path.
The trails in this section of our route are slightly less snowy but remain usable. A glorious view of the Saint-Lawrence River welcomes us as we get closer to our destination.
Le Petit Manoir du Casino
As we arrived, right on schedule, we easily spotted the snowmobile parking. We were greeted with a warm welcome in the lobby of Le Petit Manoir du Casino, after which we settled down in our modern room, with a view of the river.
The time was for relaxation. We discussed our riding experience and took advantage of some of the many amenities offered by the hotel: the lounges, spas, and outside pools were, as advertised, very alluring.
Les Délices is the hotel’s restaurant, in which they serve a diverse and accessible menu.
A Night at the Casino
After a scrumptious dinner at the restaurant, it was time to head to the Charlevoix Casino, which is conveniently only 100 metres from the hotel. Despite the cold weather, we decided to go on foot, which only took a few minutes.
A Return on New Snow
The weather conditions the next day were surprising. Early in the morning, we notice an impressive layer of snow covering the ground. We are eager to discover the different trail loops and we marvel at the extent to which this snowfall completely changed the landscapes on our way back.
Expedition 900 Ace 2022 on Powder Snow
Our sleds, equipped with 20-inch crawlers, allowed us to enjoy this next part of our trip to Saguenay in a fun and safe fashion. As we travelled back on the trails from the previous day, over 50 centimetres of freshly fallen snow made these trails unrecognizable.
We had to slow down because of the untapped snow since the groomers were busy elsewhere at that time. Nevertheless, we stayed vigilant and were able to enjoy the ride.
Pourvoirie du lac Moreau/Auberge du Ravage
After a while, yet another discovery makes it to our expedition. L’Auberge du Ravage Outfitters Moreau Lake, this majestic building made of logs, appeared through the trees. This wonderful establishment, only 20 kilometres from the main trail, is a welcome stop to warm up and have a meal.
Upon arrival, we quickly sit comfortably at a warm table in front of the immense rustic fireplace. One of the staff members took the time to give us a quick review of the local history and told us all about the many seasonal activities available in the region.
The menu was filled with heartwarming food and a selection of imported beers.
One Last Stretch
It was now late in the afternoon. We had to depart this warm place if we were to get back before the darkness of fatigue caught up to us. The snowcats had done their job, and the freshly compacted snow made the drive very fluid until we were back to where we started at l’Auberge des Battures.
Riding snowmobiles on our exceptional trails is at the very top of my list of recreational activities.
Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean is perfect for this, with its many trails and landscapes. That being said, the trails we took to Charlevoix impressed me a lot with their gorgeous landscapes, wide trails, and variety of well-organized lodging establishments customed to a diverse clientele.
I wish to explore more of this region and be a part of those who share these unforgettable and accessible memories.