Plan Your Long Weekend Mauricie Snowmobile Vacation…
As we trailered our Triton Trailers to Quebec for our Mauricie snowmobile vacation, we were hammered by a major snowstorm. For most drivers, this weather event was an ugly disruption, but for our snowmobiling crew, the almost 30-centimetres it dumped is a hallmark of Mauricie Region snow conditions and made for some very memorable snow machine riding.
Snow was still falling heavily when we pulled into the parking lot of our staging accommodations, Auberge Refuge du Trappeur, located about 20 kilometres northwest of the Town of Shawinigan, Quebec. By next morning, so much snow had accumulated that we had to dig out our trucks and trailers and move them onto the roadside while the lot was ploughed – resulting in a late start for our first day of Mauricie snowmobile vacation.
The fresh snow was a huge bonus, but it did alter our riding plans for the next three days of our Mauricie snowmobile vacation. Johnny Biasi & Trish Robinson, Craig & Dawn Irwin, and Marsha & I had expected to ride three day loops of about 250 kilometres each on our Ski-Doo snowmobiles from Auberge Refuge du Trappeur to explore the Mauricie Region (co-marketed with its western Snowmobile Country neighbour, the Launaudière Region, under the banner “Quebec Authentique”). But that amount of snow meant we would be breaking trail or pushing fresh powder for much of the time, while the groomers tried to get the trails packed and smooth again. So we checked the FCMQ’s Interactive Trail Guide (Quebec Snowmobile Federation) to see what trails had already been (or were being) groomed since the storm abated.
Mauricie Snowmobile Vacation Day Rides
That’s another reason why for day one, we rode only 160 km in a shortened loop west on Trans Quebec 23, Local Trail M10, Regional Trail s 350 and 349, with a stop at Pourvoirie du Lac Blanc for lunch – and were lucky to get that much in given so much snow on the trails.
Day two of our Mauricie snowmobile vacation, our total was 212 klicks east on Trans Quebec 23 and north on Regional Trail 360 with a plan to ride farther north (up towards, but not all the way to, La Tuque) on Regional Trail 355 & 351. However, midway we decided the going would be too slow, so rerouted onto Local Trail M19. This river run is a 40-kilometre trek south beside the stake line on the St. Maurice River (We stopped for lunch at Bistro le P’tit Canot, Saint-Jean-des-Piles.) – none of us could remember the last time we’d embarked on such a long waterway ride, but we will remember breaking untracked powder all the way!
Since we were now back at Shawinigan, we opted to sightsee local trails around town, including M3, M2, & M1 (in that order). These trails themselves were pretty decent, but wherever they crossed a road our way was blocked by snow banks piled high and as yet unbroken by other sleds or groomers. In the back of one parking lot behind a Harley Davidson dealership, an impassable mountain of snow at least 15’ high sealed off the trail mouth. We were seriously contemplating backtracking to find another way, when a front end loader with a rear mounted snow blower miraculously appeared and quickly cleared us a path.
Our last challenge of this day occurred when the trail spat us out onto the two-lane Highway 220 at its junction with four-lane Expressway 55. To continue on the trail, we had to navigate through traffic to cross two on/off ramps for #55, its overpass bridge and a long stretch of roadside – yuck, snowmobiles and cars don’t mix well!
Day three fo our Mauricie snowmobile vacation, we boosted our ride distance all the way to 220 klicks by looping west through Saint-Damien and Mandeville on trails that had now been packed and mostly groomed.
Mauricie Snowmobile Vacation For You
The majority of each day’s ride was through the hill country of the Laurentian Mountains, but it was neat to descend out of the high country (anywhere 30 kilometres or so south of Trans Quebec Trail 23) into lowland farm country with wide-open field riding before climbing back into them thar hills. If we’d had one more day for our Mauricie snowmobile vacation, we would have journeyed northeast of Shawinigan as originally planned, but given how Old Man Winter played havoc with us, we were lucky to put on as much distance as we did – normally 250 to 300 kilometres a day would be very comfortable in the Mauricie Region.
For those that can’t place it, Mauricie is located directly north of the City of Trois-Rivières (on the St Lawrence River midway between Montreal and Quebec City – an easy 7-hour drive from the Greater Toronto Area). It’s a huge region that stretches north to Parent.
So whether you’re looking for a day-ride staging place like we did or a location to start your multi-day saddlebag tour for your Mauricie snowmobile vacation, Mauricie has many good lodging choices and lots of eminently rideable trails for your snowmobiling pleasure!
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The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.