Little Train of the North Trail
The Laurentians region is perfect for family vacations. One of its most precious destinations is the P'tit Train du Nord or Little train of the North that winds its way through hills and villages for 200 km or 125 miles. The trail was built on an abandoned rail bed, and it stretches from Mont-Laurier down to St-Jerome, about 40 minutes north of Montreal.
The trail played a pivotal role in opening up the Laurentians as a resort area after the rail line was shutdown.
This bikeway is the longest linear park in Canada. Even the not very experienced bikers can handle biking 30 miles, but recreational cyclists like to look at the scenery and stick their toes in any cool bodies of water that might intersect with the nice trail, winding through rivers, lakes and woods, dotted with cozy European-style inns and bed and breakfasts. The friendly folks in the Laurentides Tourist Bureau (call 1-800-561-6673) do everything for bikers.
If you call them ahead of time and tell how many miles you want to cover each day and what kind of accommodations you prefer - small hotel, inn or bed & breakfast, they actually book everything at no charge. The scenery is gorgeous all along the bikeway: evergreen forests with clumps of birch, magnificent lake views, lovely deep rust color (from the iron ore in the soil) rivers weaving their way through the mountains, beaver dams located just a few feet from the bike path.
Most restaurants feature a healthy food. Camping for cyclists is available, as well as many small hotels right on the trail, clean and reasonably priced. In fact, there are plenty of accommodations all the way, including B&Bs, resorts, inns and campgrounds Filled with cyclists and rollerbladers, the atmosphere of the Little Train of the Nord is exciting.
Note than some of the stations along the path provide bike rentals and present a prefect place for a picnic. (Wendy Hammerle description of the trail helped us a bit: Wendy Hammerle)