1. Corridor du Littoral, Quebec City
A paved, off-road, mostly flat 13-km section (one-way) of this bike route goes from downtown Quebec City right to the famous Montmorency Falls, which are higher than Niagara Falls. Start at the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec to pick up some locally made snacks at the famous indoor market. Then, bike along the St. Lawrence River to the falls. At the falls, admission is free for cyclists and there are racks for your bikes. Go exploring: walk the suspension bridge over the falls to get great views of the Île d’Orléans, take the cable car on a thrilling ride to the top of the cliff or check out the zip line. There are also picnic tables and snack bars.
Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec, 160 Quai Saint-André
Free admission for cyclists; fees apply for cable car and zip line
2. Samuel de Champlain Promenade, Quebec City
Paved path + urban waterfront = un fantastique family outing. This 2.5-km paved multi-use path arcs along the St. Lawrence waterfront, and there is a lot to see and do as you bike. First get a great view of the skyline and the iconic Château Frontenac, then investigate the oversized abstract sculptures along the route and learn a little about the area’s rich history in the 24 interpretive panels. There are benches, drinking fountains and picnic areas along the way and one public washroom at the midpoint. You’ll have to work up an appetite and wait to buy snacks (gelato, yay!) at either starting point: Côte de Sillery or Quai des Cageaux.
La Promenade Samuel de Champlain, 2795 Boulevard Champlain, Quebec City
3. Lachine Canal Path, Montreal
Time magazine once ranked this path the third-most beautiful urban circuit in the world…does your fam agree? A paved, off-road multi-use path, it runs along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, beside the canal that bypasses the Lachine Rapids. It’s 12 km from René Lévesque Park to Arthur Therrien Park, but there are lots of access points so you can create your own trip length. Hop on and off your bikes to investigate the public art (there are big rock boots, for example, and public bathrooms inside giant columns), pause to play some outdoor chess and munch your way through a variety of food truck menus.
Entry points: René Lévesque Park (Canal Road, Lachine) or Arthur Therrien Park (3750 Boulevard Gaétan Laberge, Verdun)
4. Axe de la Massawippi, Lennoxville
The Eastern Townships are a biking hotspot. While you may not want to rack up dozens of kilometres with small kids, there are still a number of outings for families with older kids who love to cycle. The Axe de la Massawippi is a 15-km (one way) flat bike path that retraces the route of an old railway along the Massawippi River. Starting near Bishop’s University in Lennoxville (Sherbrooke), it winds through beautiful woods (especially vibrant in the fall) all the way to the charming village of North Hatley on Lake Massawippi, where you can arrange to meet your ride. There are picnic tables and washrooms en route. Bring your own lunch and snacks.
1, Massawippi, Sherbrooke
5. La Grande Douce, Bromont
If you’ve got thrill-seeking kids who have just gotta mountain bike, start ‘em off right. Ski Bromont, a popular ski area in southwestern Quebec, is a year-round resort, which features five learning mountain bike circuits. The 5.1-km La Grande Douce is rated as easy and recommended for introducing kids to the sport. Its dirt trails zig and zag across the 565-metre-high Mont Brome for 4.5 km of the total route. There are washrooms at the base of the trail and there are wash stations for your bikes in the parking lot. To replace some of those calories you’ve burned, you can hit the sandwich bar in the Main Chalet. Family members who don’t want to bike will love the on-site water park.
150 Champlain Street, Bromont
Adults $40, kids 12 and under $30
6. Le P’tit Train du Nord, Laurentians
Bike trip with the family? Yes, you can! The Linear Park (Parc Linéaire) Le P’tit Train du Nord trail is a 232-km north-south bike path that’s entirely off-road, well-surfaced and fairly level, built over an old railway line in the Laurentians. One recommended section for families is a 17-km trip (one way, so it’s best for older kids or little ones who like their bike trailers) from Val-David to Ste-Adèle, two neighbouring villages. One option: park for free at the Mont-Rolland train station in Ste-Adèle and catch a morning shuttle with your bikes north to Val-David (be sure to reserve in advance). Then ride south along the trail to Ste-Adèle, taking in the gorgeous Laurentian scenery along the way. Trail patrols are on hand to help you with repairs or advice. Stay overnight at an inn or B&B, and the next day explore Au Pays des Merveilles, a fairy-tale theme park in Ste-Adèle.
Mont-Rollard train station, 1000 rue Saint-Georges, Ste-Adèle
Trail is free; shuttle: adult $35, child age 5-12 $17.50, kids under five are free