Combine a top rated campground with over 12 miles of winding trails in the 615-acre Parc de la Gorge in Coaticook. This recreation area is a worthwhile weekend riding destination about 100 miles east of Montréal and the same distance northeast of Burlington, Vermont. The winding trails range from wide-open doubletrack to tight, twisting, and technical singletrack that is laced with roots and sprinkled with rock features, bridges, and some super steep switchbacks.
This 7-mile route hits some of the singletrack highlights but scratches the surface of the park's advanced-level trails which all branch off a 4.6-mile beginner-level center loop. This route begins by following the center loop clockwise from the welcome center (where there are showers available post ride) and adds loop trails of both intermediate and advanced levels that wind between oak and maple trees. Cross over a few streams to a valley overlook and to a series of super-steep switchbacks known as the Kamakazi.
Technical roots (slippery when wet!) and rocks are abundant on the Coaticook trails. Test your skills with a few intermediate loops before barreling onto black-diamond terrain. Also, check trail conditions with the park before driving out; they sometimes close the trails due to rain.
TO TRAILHEAD: From the US border on I-91 drive 2.1 km on Route 55 N. Exit at QC 20. Turn left on Route 143 for 14.8 km and turn right at Route 141 for 19 km. Turn left at Rue Main O for 0.2 km and turn left on Rue Child for 1.7 km. Bear right on Rue Michaud for 0.8 km and turn right on Rue Saint-Marc for 0.4 km.
Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook
Distance: 6.91 mi
Total Time: none
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Points of Interest
Location: 45.145172, -71.797902
Begin by studying the map kiosk at the trailhead just north of the round barn. There's a quick roll on the wide-open doubletrack around the playing field before the trail climbs into the trees.
Location: 45.150089, -71.794456
This route's first spin off the center loop comes at mile 0.8 where you'll continue straight on the advanced-rated #4 trail and skirt a water-treatment facility up ahead. You could stay right to stay on the center loop instead.
Location: 45.149470, -71.792518
Turn left onto #5 La Marmotte which loops wide and adds 0.3 mile before rejoining the doubletrack just 150 feet ahead.
Location: 45.153302, -71.791099
Turn left on the intermediate-level #7 Les Archers, which winds nearly 1 mile west then follows the river as it joins #8 La Maudite. This section is densely flanked by shrubs and trees and the trail is crisscrossed with roots for a fast but challenging ride.
Location: 45.154072, -71.789480
There is a 2-foot drop preceding this stream crossing on #11 La Ruisseau. Try to maintain speed, but watch your angle crossing over the wet wooden bridge and winding uphill toward another crossing of the same stream. If you're lacking confidence, consider hoping off your saddle before you're mid-stream to avoid falling in the river.
Location: 45.148654, -71.789441
As with most of the junctions on this route, you could skip this left turn onto #13 La Bamby, to shave distance and time from this route.
Location: 45.149237, -71.787849
This route continues straight on #13 La Bambay, but skips the advanced-level loops (#15, #16, #17, and #18), branching off it to the left.
Location: 45.147940, -71.791583
Just before the highest point on the park's bike trails you'll tuck into a tree-shrouded viewpoint above the valley. There is a bench here and the peaceful spot just off the center loop is a reward riders of every level can look forward to.
Location: 45.142207, -71.790955
These enormous dropping switchbacks at the southern end of the loop are on the Kamakazi Trail. Rustic signs and dark trees hint at the slightly ominous switchbacks up ahead.
Location: 45.142086, -71.795397
The winding curves that bring the trail east toward loop-end are set in a majestic maple forest and are a fun, fast finish to the ride. The final curve drops toward a small jump where the trail widens. Be ready for it if you'd like to catch (or avoid catching) air.
Location: 45.143607, -71.794538
The last stretch of the loop winds downhill on a series of easy switchbacks that roll toward the finish. As the trail flattens out, look for a last-minute ramp that offers an opportunity to show off as you approach loop end and turn back toward the welcome center.
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