The “Route des Baleines”, with its breathtaking views and hinterland, is full of designated routes for motorcyclists. Along the Saint-Lawrence, numerous panoramic viewpoints and rest areas give you access to picturesque landscapes. Use the Motorcycle Guide to Quebec to plan your trip.
Tadoussac to Baie-Comeau
You are entering a region of astonishing, never-ending splendour. Stop in Tadoussac and admire one of the world's most beautiful bays, experience the city's energy and take in its many and varied attractions. If there is one “must-do” local activity, it is surely watching the area's magnificent marine mammals, whether on a cruise or from the shore. The Whale Route has a number of rest areas and lookouts where you can take a break and enjoy the unspoiled landscape. Explore the local attractions, many of which showcase the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding natural treasures. There is so much to do in Baie-Comeau, you might have to spend the night; fortunately, there are several accommodation and restaurant options to choose from. Here, too, the focus is on the river.
Baie-Comeau to Baie-Trinité
Leaving Baie-Comeau, if you return to Route 138, you will travel through the Panorama Region. The name gives you an idea of the beautiful views you will encounter on your trip. Along the way you'll come across a reconstruction of a real lumber camp that offers tours, and beautiful beaches that are perfect for relaxing. Take the time to stop and visit the popular lighthouse at Baie-Trinité, or learn about the many shipwrecks that are important events in local history. There are different types of accommodation available, and many restaurants with a focus on fish and seafood specialties are waiting to serve you.
Baie-Comeau to Manic-5 Dam
Experience the backcountry in all its “boreality”! Route 389 is your path to a place where the forest is king, and where fish-filled lakes abound. A popular highway for motorcyclists, Route 389 requires little preparation before you get underway. At kilometre 22 and 214, the hydro-electric facilities of Manic-2 and Manic-5 are waiting for you. Once en route, you'll find all the services you need, including accommodation, restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.
Baie-Trinité to Kegaska
From Baie-Trinité, make your way to Port-Cartier, a welcoming town with a unique city centre consisting of picturesque islands and waterfalls. Further east is the city of Sept-Îles, where city life and nature co-exist in harmony, offering a wide range of events and activities.You have now arrived in Rivière-au-Tonnerre at one of the most beautiful villages in the North Shore. Take the time to stop here, and watch the seabirds or look for whales. While you're here, why not treat yourself to one of the many unique local products offered for sale?In Havre-Saint-Pierre, be sure to take a drive along Promenade des Anciens, which provides a breath-taking view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the main islands of the Mingan Archipelago. The area's spectacular monoliths, carved by Mother Nature, are a must-visit local attraction. Continue your trip with a visit to Natashquan, imbued with culture and history. Route 138 then continues to Kegaska, where it ends. Here, you can reflect on the alternately soothing and surprising landscapes that have made up your journey.
This crescent-shaped trail is a favourite for those who love long road trips through immense stretches of unspoiled wilderness. Starting in Baie-Comeau on Route 289, the drive is 1,700 km long and will take you at least 26 hours. it crosses Labrador from west to east on Routes 500 and 510 then continues down to the Lower North Shore. Once there, a scenic detour beckons: a 150-km trip along the Chicoutai* Scenic Route, from Blanc-Sablon to Vieux-Fort and back, to view the majestic waterways of the Gulf of St.Lawrence. (*Chicoutais, or cloudberries, are small flavourful, amber-coloured berries native to Quebec's North Shore.)
Once back to Blanc-sablon, you and your vehicule could travel by ship back to your starting point of Baie-Comeau. The M/V Bella-Desgagnés brings supplies to the Lower North Shore's coastal villages. From the ship's deck, you can watch some 500 km of scenic coastline glide and stroll through picturesque fishing villages that are only accessible by sea. All too soon, you'll be arriving in Kegaska, the first place where you can pick up Route 138 for a 650-km, 8-hour drive along the north shore of the St.Lawrence back to Baie-Comeau. The sailor's life is not for you? You can always take the ferry from Blanc-Sablon to Newfoundland.
Following this trial is like a Choose-Your-Own-adventure trip; you can stay on it for a few days, the whole summer or throughout the winter. The trail passes through boreal forest to taiga; it winds in and out of charming towns and villages where you can discover the lifestyle and culture of the francophone, anglophone and Aboriginal populations, as well as the Métis and Inuit communities. There are lakes, rivers and mountains, where you can hunt and fish, rough it in the wilderness, hike and kayak, and, at the end of the day, camp out under the northern lights. The curious can visit hydroelectric dams and open-pit mines. When winter comes, the North Shore is THE place to snowshoe and ski, or to go snowmobiling and dog sledding.