Abitibi-Témiscamingue for Snowmobiling At Its Purest…
I always look forward to snowmobiling there again. Why? Because Abitibi-Témiscamingue embraces winter. And each time I return, another awesome riding adventure reconfirms why this snowy western region made my top 5 list of favourite Quebec destinations…
Location, Location, Location
Abitibi-Témiscamingue benefits from the significant advantage of favourable geographic positioning. Its northerly location virtually guarantees early snow. And a long season that can last until early April. This positioning also avoids or considerably reduces the negative impacts of the rain and thaw. Weather that seem to be becoming more prevalent to the south. As a result, Abitibi-Témiscamingue usually delivers exceptional trail riding earlier than most other places. And often when others are skunked for snow in season.
Positioning also makes Abitibi-Témiscamingue the closest Quebec destination to Ontario for reliable, all season snow. It’s closer to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) than any of the other top 5 favourite Quebec destinations on my list. In fact, its southern-most town, Témiscaming (near North Bay) is less than a 5-hour trailer from the GTA at the posted speed limit. Depending on the snow line, another hour gets you to Ville Marie. And one more to Rouyn-Noranda (near Kirkland Lake) where we staged for this tour. Each of these towns is also accessible from Ontario by snowmobile for those who choose to ride in.
Abitibi-Témiscamingue Embraces Winter In Many Ways
Abitibi-Témiscamingue embraces winter in every way. The snowy season is part of its culture. It’s hard-wired into the DNA of its residents, municipalities and society. This is a region that lives for winter and is more than willing to share it with others.
Nine hard-working clubs operate 3,700 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails. Numerous warm up shacks offer snowmobilers rest stops and shelter. Their tourism office actively promotes snowmobiling (see new app below). And plentiful hospitality services eagerly welcome snowmobilers. That’s why Abitibi-Témiscamingue is a sure cure for the winter blues. Or to see what snowmobiling in Quebec is really all about.
So what are their trails like? Abitibi-Témiscamingue embraces winter by creating exhilarating snowmobiling. For the most part, it occurs on old logging roads, utility cut-lines, mining thoroughfares, abandoned rail lines, unopened municipal road allowances and flat frozen tundra. So their seamless network of snow trails is largely built on underlying ground that is already comparatively regular and predictable. These trails provide gentle sweeping corners, good sightlines and to-the-horizon straightaways. These routes enable high mileage days if that’s your preference.
Plus, picturesque scenery, a good mix of trail variety keep your snowmobiling interesting, enticing and memorable. Along with plenty of trail choices and continually changing and undulating terrain. As one of my first timers to Abitibi-Témiscamingue exclaimed, “This is like riding around Cochrane, except with hills and more trails.”
Our Abitibi-Témiscamingue Ride
Like many snowmobilers in January, Dan Carty, Perry Zopf, Al Fletcher, Tony Robinson, Brent Murphy and I were looking for a 3-day ride on the nearest available snow. So we staged from Rouyn-Noranda after a 6.5-hour drive from the GTA (about 4 from Muskoka). From there, we saddle-bagged it for 300 kilometres on 6” of fresh powder to Amos on Day One. We stayed there for 2 nights, riding a 325-kilometres loop on Day Two, still mostly on powdery trails. Day Three, we snowmobiled 360 kilometres back to Rouyn-Noranda and departed the next morning at 6 AM. We were back home by about noontime.
Meanwhile, we put almost 1,000 kilometres on our snow machines in three days. But each day could be shorter or longer as preferred for your own tour. As you can see from our route map, Abitibi-Témiscamingue offers many other trail options.
Abitibi-Témiscamingue Embraces Winter With New App
New for 2018, Abitibi-Témiscamingue has again demonstrated its deep commitment to snowmobiling by launching a free app called My Snow Guide. It’s an easy to use and very complete compilation of all the info a visiting snowmobiler needs. It’s handy for pre-planning, daily route affirmation, scheduling gas and lunch stops. Plus, it shows exactly where you are on the trail at any time. Combined with Abitibi-Témiscamingue’s already good paper trail map, the My Snow Guide takes all the guesswork out of visiting the region. So you can ride with more comfort and confidence.
With the new app and all the other advantages Abitibi-Témiscamingue brings to the table, no wonder it more than lives up to the promise of its slogan, “Snowmobiling At Its Purest”. Give it a try this winter, why doncha?
Where We Stayed
Days One and Four: Quality Inn, Rouyn-Noranda. Classy hotel with friendly staff, breakfast included and fabulous Cage aux Sports rest-bar attached. Gas station across the road and trail access behind Wal-Mart. Hotel has very limited on site truck & trailer parking. So ask about availability before you book a room. Note: some rooms in the 100 section have sled parking in front. Alternative lodging option: Comfort Inn.
Days Two & Three: Amosphère complex hotelier, Amos. Very snowmobile friendly lodging with good on site restaurant.Plus two outdoor hot tubs, heated sled garage, sled parking in front of rooms, plenty of truck & trailer parking and direct trail access.
Abitibi-Témiscamingue Fast Facts
- Location: Western Quebec
- Trailer Distance: Toronto to Témiscaming – 420 km. Montreal to Val d’Or – 525 km
- Riding Days: 3 to 5 days
- Trails: 3,700 km
- Loops: Big White Tour (1,435 km), The Prospector (914 km), The Great Adventurer (1,000 km)
- Key Towns: Amos, La Sarre, Rouyn-Noranda, Val d’Or, Témiscaming, Ville Marie
- Lodgings: Amosphère (Amos), Hotel Forestel (Val d’Or), Le Bannik (Témiscaming), Quality Inn (Rouyn-Noranda) Villa Mon Repos (La Sarre)
- Tour Articles: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out
- Contact Info: Abitibi-Témiscamingue
- Adjacent Regions: Outaouais, Lanaudière-Mauricie, Northeastern Ontario
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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.