Lanaudière – The snowmobile country

We begin the third day of our snowmobile tour in Lanaudière.  My riding companion just adores his trip and despite the extreme cold temperatures, he discovers wonderful places.  This morning, it is -23°C, without any wind, and we feel comfortable.  We want to explore the trails in the sector Matawinie and then to head for Rawdon and Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon at the frontier of Lanaudière and Mauricie regions.

 

Du sentier avec ma motoneige
With my snowmobile on trail

We leave L'Auberge du Lac Taureau towards the village of Saint-Michel-des-Saints and then, we take the trail to Saint-Damien at the entry of the Mauricie region.  This last trail is so beautiful, wide and of excellent quality; we really enjoy riding on it.

Sentier vers St-Damien
Trail to Saint-Damien

Once in Saint-Damien, we stop for a short while at the snowmobile club house and then, we leave for the Pourvoirie Réal Massé.  Before lunch, the circuit is in mountains.  Trails are running along many lakes and rivers.  There are already about 80 snowmobiles when we arrive at the outfitter. 

Motoneiges à la pourvoirie Réal Massé
Snowmobiles at the Pourvoirie Réal Massé

We sit on the seat of our sled to relax and we wait for the restaurant to be less crowded.  During our meal, we meet European tourists who are visiting our region.  They are spending one week of snowmobiling with the Matawinie Rental Company.  Their guide, Mr Simon Grenier, says that the French visitors are amazed by the beauty of the winter scenery and by the vastness of the territory.  Mrs Marie-Claire Grossan Meier, a French tourist from Caillac in the southern region of Midi-Pyrénées in France, tells me that since one week, in addition to the beauty of the landscape, she is impressed by Quebecers' warmth and by the freedom she feels riding her snowmobile.  It is her first stay in Canada and she already wants to come back. 

Pre-ride analysis: Polaris 850 Switchback XC 146

Sentier en direction de St-Michel des Saints
Trail to Saint-Michel-des-Saints

Another nice encounter :  Mr Jeannot Muller, founder of Montana Aventure who offers snowmobile rides to Europeans.  Jeannot tells me that the French visitors are crazy about the scenery and forests of the Province of Québec, and mostly about their tour of the outfitters and life in the woods.  After our meal, we leave for Saint-Michel-des-Saints and the Hôtel Central to spend the night.

Photo de l'hôtel central St-Michel des Saints
Hotel Central in Saint-Michel-des-Saints

Trails have been groomed yesterday, so we really enjoy our ride.  The hotel owner, Mr Martin Benoit, gives us a tour of his property.  He says that he owns the place since a few years and he is currently renovating by expanding and adding more rooms and a pool.  This season, his clients are mostly from Europe.  Before, they were mostly coming from the United States, but due to the exchange rate, Americans come less often.  Martin manages the snowmobile club and spends many hours maintaining the trails.

We eat a delicious meal before going to our rooms for the night; we want to be ready for the last day of our journey in Lanaudière.

It is -28°C and sunny when we leave for our final destination, the relay Rouge-Matawin.  When we get on the trail, we see that it has been groomed last night and it is in excellent condition.  All along the trail, trees in the mountains give to the horizon an aspect of giant.  A few kilometers before the relay Rouge-Matawin, the land is more even and with less turns.  The relay is located at the intersection of the Parc du Mont-Tremblant  and towards the Rouge-Matawin.

Relais rouge Matawin entrée du Parc du Mont tremblant
Relay Rouge-Matawin, entry of the Parc du Mont-Tremblant

Here, we meet the manager, Mr Martin Gagné; he tells us that there are much more Europeans this season, but there are less snowmobilers at night heading for Saint-Donat because of the round-trip distance between Saint-Michel-des-Saints et Saint-Donat.  He also says that many snowmobilers stop here to warm up, to enjoy a quick meal and most of all, to buy gas since the relay is the last gas station before L'Annonciation.  Towards the park, the relay of the Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne offers gas and meals.  

Why are snowmobile prices going up so much?

We leave for our final destination.  A few kilometers away, we take the 7 million dollars new trail # 33 that brings us to an important location, the Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne.  Even if the trail is outside the Parc du Mont-Tremblant, we have a breathtaking view of the forest and its wonderful attractions.

Sentier avec vue sur la montagne
Trail with a view on the mountains

I assure those who are doubtful about this new trail that they should not hesitate to ride on it if they visit Lanaudière region and to enjoy its beauty.  We arrive in Saint-Donat, the end of our tour.  

My companion and myself are somewhat nostalgic; we have discovered trails, landscapes, signalling systems and a warm welcome that all Quebec snowmobilers should know.  I know that our province is full of beautiful regions, but if this season you are thinking about a tour in Lanaudière, I tell you to go for it, do not hesitate.  You will be delighted. 

Intersection avec beaucoup de signalisations
Intersection with many signs

Finally, I would like to thank Tourisme Lanaudière for their invitation to discover their wonderful region in the Province of Québec.  Congratulations to the snowmobile clubs in Lanaudière for the excellent trail conditions and the quality of their signs.  Special thanks to all the volunteers.  Thanks to the professionnal hosts for their warm welcome for snowmobilers.  And special thanks to the residents of Lanaudière for their hospitality and their very warm reception. 

Moi avec ma motoneige à la fin de mon voyage ( Au revoir et à la prochaine)
My snowmobile and me at the end of my trip (See you next time)

For more informations on Hôtel Central : www.hotelcentral.com

For more informations on Lanaudière : www.lanaudiere.ca

For informations : www.motoneiges.ca www.sledmagazine.com

The Voice of the Snowmobilers tells you :  «Have a great and safe ride!»