The Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route is part of the Bikepack Adventures Grand Depart routes. This route combines both the Canadian Shield 400 and the Northwest Quebec Explorer, giving the rider a total distance of 900km and 10,850 metres of elevation gain.
This route will take you through, over and across some of the most rugged and beautiful parts of Western Quebec. With the vast majority of the route being unpaved, this route takes you over hills and mountains, around beautiful hard to reach lakes, on some of the best rail trail in the region and along backcountry roads that are for the most part free of traffic.
Within close proximity of Ottawa and Montreal, the CSBR isn’t very far from a big city. Featuring national and provincial parks, ski hills, nature reserves and rail trail, the route will take you through forests that were once the building block of this country.
This route takes you through some difficult terrain that will reward you with epic scenery, amazing riding and an adventure you will never forget.
The Canadian Shield Bikepacking Route is not by any means an easy bikepacking adventure. Every day will challenge you with a plethora of differing surfaces and climbs. Riding on a gravel bike is not recommended unless you have a bike that can accommodate 2″ or larger tires.
This route goes through some of the best parts of the Outaouais region, the Papineau Labelle Nature Reserve, various Provincial and Regional Parks, and ski resorts. Passing through many small towns there are ample opportunities to find a hotel for the night. Campgrounds are located sporadically and there is always the option to wild camp.
The physical difficulty of the route is very much determined on the average amount of days and speed at which a person rides. Overall, I would grade this route as difficulty level 8, as the route is liberally peppered with tough climbs, gnarly trails and chunky 4×4 roads. climbs throughout the route, some of which are very steep and challenging. Many of the gravel back roads are difficulty 3-4, and there are definitely sections of rugged terrain with steep sections. However, as a whole, the amount of difficulty 7-8 terrain will take its toll on you.
Although the average technical difficulty of this route may be a category 5, particularly due to the portion of route in Papineau Labelle as well as some of the epic climbs throughout the route, there are many sections of back gravel roads that are category 3-4. Many sections such as the Gatineau Park, Mont Ste. Marie and Montagne du Diable are definitely to be considered as category 7-8.