I have been wanting to try this trail for a while, and previously had only done day trips or cycling where I had to start at one point and return back to that point the same day. I have also done a few rails to trails, so had a good idea what to expect.
My expectations were exceeded. This trail is in very good shape, it is paved from Mont Laurier to Labelle, a good distance. The rest of the trail is stone dust and packed quite hard. I rode a hybrid, as did 1 of my travelling companions. The other two rode a mountain bike with street tires and a touring bike. You could ride a road bike, but I wouldn't take my road bike on so many miles of stone dust.
The trail is extremely well marked, you won't ever get lost if you stay on it, there are plenty of washrooms and picnic table stops, as well as the refurbished train stations, with a fair amount of places to eat. Not so much from Mont Laurier to Nominque, but after that, places to eat are fairly frequent.
We took the shuttle from St. Jerome to Mont Laurier. We got a bit lost in the warren of one-way streets in St. Jerome trying to get to the station in rush hour traffic on a Friday morning (it's near the CEGEP). You need to pay for parking, $6 a day (but not Saturday or Sunday).
I was amazed with how respectful drivers along the streets that cross the path are. Many of them stopped to let us pass, even though we did not have the right of way.
More than anything, this is beautiful countryside, the views are beyond gorgeous, the rivers, spectacular. We stopped at many a bridge to take photos and to climb down to the river's edge just to get close to the sparking water.
The long climb after Mont Tremblant to St. Faustin is tough, I'd highly recommend you don't do it on a full stomach. :-)
I would recommend this trail to anyone who likes to cycle, it can accommodate a variety of skills, you can go the distance you're comfortable with: people on our bus were doing it in 5 days, we were doing it in 4. The next time, I would do it in 3. And there will be a next time!
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