August is a great time to be in Quebec, especially if you love blueberries. If you also like biking, take a spin around the Blueberry Trail located in the Parc National de la Pointe-Taillon.
Known locally as the Veloroute des Bluets, the whole blueberry trail is a 256-kilometer patchwork of trails and roads through multiple provinces. The best part for a one-day excursion though is a 45-kilometer loop on a peninsula jutting out into Lac St. Jean in Quebec. With this route you can rent a bike locally at the visitors center for C$28 for four hours. Then you can take your time exploring the bogs, the beaches, and the birch trees along the off-road paved and packed cinder path. There are no real hills, so while it’s a good long workout, it’s not going to kill you if you’re a little out of shape.
When you stop for a rest, you may see a carpet of blue dots at your feet. Blueberries grow wild all over the Pointe-Tallon area and you’re free to grab a snack by picking some berries. There are also spots to rest on a bench by the beach, the lapping waves messing with your senses since you are a very long way from any ocean.
The Blueberry Trail is one of the prettiest bike trails I’ve ever been on, with surprisingly varied landscapes along the route and nicely alternating sun and shade. Only when you get a peek through the trees at the far lakeside do you see any signs of human habitation. Otherwise you’ll mostly just see other cyclists, birds, and if you’re lucky, a big hairy beast. I stopped at one point because there was a moose on the path. She was chewing on some leaves growing close to the ground. When I pulled out my camera case and unzipped it though, she cocked her head to the side and then went dashing into the forest.
If you’re not up for doing the whole 45 kilometers, you can cut it a little shorter with trail through the middle, or just backtrack to return to the crowds again. There in the summer you’ll find a scene like you’d see at an ocean beach, with lounge chairs, sunscreen, and paddleboarders.
You can spend the night in Huttopia Tents that are already set up with a deck and cooking facilities. At night you may get a glorious sunset over the lake like I did, while sipping some microbrews from Micro du Lac. If you’re going to do it right, visit their brewpub and you might just find a blueberry beer. If not you can at least try the blueberry sausages and wash it down with one of their excellent ales.
See our related Lac Saint Jean story in the online magazine: Sanguine on the Water in Saguenay.