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Bike trip on an old railroad track in the middle of Abitibi’s boreal forest

written by France Lemire

In the heart of Abitibi, buried in nature, an old railroad track has found a new vocation, transformed into a nice bicycle path on stone dust. This 56-kilometre path with a unique charm and no major challenges takes the North-South axis and is part of the famous green route. This path is ideal for a family outing.

The path starts in the middle of the municipality of Taschereau and borders a short segment of a still-active railroad track to then stretch into a pastoral decor. Through a sparse nature, you will cross a dozen small bodies of water offering, for some, magnificent lookout points.

Past the village of Laferté, a rest stop with pic-nick tables and a dry toilet invites a quick break before crossing the long bridge that spans Rivière Loïs at the northern limit of the Aiguebelle National Park. Once in the park, for your next five kilometres, a couple pedal strokes will be necessary to cross the border between Abitibi-Ouest and the territory of Rouyn-Noranda. Some metres away, without any obvious sign, you will cross, on two wheels, a second frontier, that of the mythical watershed at the head of the massive river basins of James Bay in the north, and the St. Lawrence River in the south. Since your entrance in the park and for the next ten kilometres, after you are out, the path of a remarkable quality crosses a splendid mature forest containing multiple species of trees and dotted with small lakes, marshes, and streams. A smile on your face, you progress calmly, far from the frenzy of the city, on this intimist and little-frequented path where hunting camps and towers alternate.

From Chemin du Parc, close to the Destor district, a portion of the path with a relatively soft coating makes up the itinerary until the Cléricy district. This is why a hybrid bicycle is required to properly appreciate your journey.

In Cléricy, one must stop for a break on the shingles bordering Rivière Kinojévis a few meters upstream from the rapid. The quietude and the beauty of the site will certainly charm you!

The bicycle path ends one kilometre away from the D’Alembert district on the road to Aiguebelle and about fifteen kilometres away from downtown Rouyn-Noranda. This delicious last segment far from the road borders large green fields.