Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route
The Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route is part of the Bikepack Adventures Grand Depart routes. This route combines both the Canadian Shield 400 and the Northwest Quebec Explorer, giving the rider a total distance of 908km and 12,500 metres of elevation gain.
This route will take you through, over and across some of the most rugged and beautiful parts of Western Quebec. With the vast majority of the route being unpaved, this route takes you over hills and mountains, around beautiful hard to reach lakes, on some of the best rail trail in the region and along backcountry roads that are for the most part free of traffic.
Within close proximity of Ottawa and Montreal, the Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route isn’t very far from a big city. Featuring national and provincial parks, ski hills, nature reserves and rail trail, the route will take you through forests that were once the building block of this country.
This route takes you through some difficult terrain that will reward you with epic scenery, amazing riding and an adventure you will never forget.
This route was created by Chris Panasky, founder of the Bike Tour Adventures Podcast.
- Provincial and Regional Parks: Riding through Gatineau Park is always a pleasure. Being in a provincial park so close to the nation’s capital is a great way to explore the national capital region. The Montagne du Diable Regional Park will provide you with lots of remote riding through Northwest Quebec on every type of surface imaginable.
- Nature Reserve: The Papineau Labelle Nature Reserve is an epic area of lakes and wilderness that will challenge your bike handling abilities as you ride on roads littered with loose gravel and fist-sized rocks, cross country ski trails and unmaintained roads that require 4-wheel drive.
- Single-track/double-track: Getting off the bigger trails and onto some of the single-track will challenge every mountain biker out there. Some great sections can be found in Gatineau Park, Mont Ste. Marie and Montagne du Diable. Steep double-track climbs and flowing descents take the rider on some of the best trails in the parks.
- Rail-trails: The Veloroute des Draveurs, Chelsea Community Trail and Petit Train du Nord give you a chance to cover some ground while enjoying the views.
- Viewpoints: Check out the Champlain and Étienne-Brûlé lookouts in the Gatineau Park, for some fantastic views of the mighty Ottawa River and all the farmland that grows along it’s banks. The radio tower in Mont Ste. Marie will give you amazing views of the ski resort before descending some epic trails. Crossing the historically important Gatineau River, the Paugan Dam was built nearly 100 years ago and provides epic views of the Gatineau River and Outaouais region.
- Kazabazua: The Kazabazua Plain is a geomorphological phenomenon unique to Quebec, consisting of metamorphic rocks covered with a network of ancient sand dunes and bogs. Stay on the trail as the region is home to many rare plants.
- Covered Bridges: The CS1000 route crosses many covered bridges that were of vital importance to the development of the area. They also make for great photo opportunities along the way.
- Remote hiking trails: Some parts of this route take you onto hiking trails which may require you to hike-a-bike if it is too steep, rocky, swampy, etc.
Navigation Tips and Tricks
In order to more effectively navigate the Canadian Shield Bikepacking Routes, we have gone ahead and broken down the route into smaller more manageable files of approximately 200km per section. We have also removed the POIs to allow it to load more quickly and feel less cluttered. I still recommend you download a copy of the full file onto your phone, for quick reference of POIs and more in-depth analysis throughout the adventure. This route would be extremely difficult to complete using traditional maps and it is therefore recommended to use a GPS device or smartphone while riding this route. The Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route is often updated to make your experience as good as possible, whether to re-route to avoid road closures, or to add in a new piece of track that you are sure to love, so it is highly recommended you use the newest and most up-to-date maps.
There are a couple different methods to add your route on your Garmin/Wahoo/Other GPS device.
The 1st method is to “Pin” the route to your device. The “Pin” button can be located in the top-left of the page when you open the map.
The 2nd method is to click the “Send to Device” button just below the route title. This method requires you to download the appropriate file to your computer and upload onto your device. You can follow the steps and instructions to complete the transfer.
I personally always use the “Pin” method as I find it much quicker and easier.
Be sure to spend some time practicing with your device and making sure you understand how it works.
You can join the Bikepack Adventures Club page to get some of the premium member benefits for free, such as the ability to download any of the routes on the Bikepack Adventures RideWithGPS page for off-line use.
I have taken the liberty to break up the route files into 200ish km segments which can be downloaded by all Bikepack Adventures club members.