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Petit Train du Nord accommodations

Old 06-30-19, 07:14 PM
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Petit Train du Nord accommodations

Hi!

We are are doing the P'tit Train du Nord in late July. For any of you who have done it, did you book campsites/hotel (etc.) ahead of time or did you wing it?

Thanks -

Kes Roberts
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Old 06-30-19, 08:05 PM
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Never did the P'tit Train du Nord but anywhere I go I book ahead. I don't want to risk not getting a room and being stuck. That said there have been times I have rolled into town and found lots of options that never showed up in a search.


I also never booked ahead in Italy. Each little town has a tourist office. I head straight there. They will almost always find you a room. If they can't then they can make recommendations for the next town. If you had it for the day then just hop on the train. Once in Bolozano, my buddy convinced the guy to open a closed hotel for us. We had the whole building to ourselves.

So I would say if the known options are few and it is a popular time of year (July would be for the P'tit Train du Nord) then book ahead. If camping and campsites have hiker biker policy then don't worry about it.
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Old 06-30-19, 10:12 PM
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hey there kes, what roughly is your schedule?
ie, are you taking the shuttle bus up to the end/start Mont Laurier?
I winged it a bunch of years ago, but camped at the side of the trail in sept on a cold weekend when there was hardly anyone there (because they had better sense than me, cold and rain possibilty)

its about 200 klicks all told Mt Laurier to St Jerome, but a bit more if you go on the newer section further south of St Jerome.

I havent been on it for a good 5, 6 , 7 years, so I cant speak for the trail conditions now, but back then, the upper part was paved, but very "rooty" so you couldnt hold a fast speed.
Not knowing what your riding, daily distances expectations are, maybe you can chime in, and we can go from there. No point in me making suggestions right now.
I would say that the tourist documentation with b+b , hotel , camping (few) used to be pretty good, so it might be good just to plan reasonable daily distances and book stuff, so then you dont stress about that side of it.

I did the 200km in two days, but it was a bit much, given the late start the first day (getting up to mt laurier by bus shuttle), the cold, and then on the second day had pretty crappy weather , but I had no choice but to get to my car in st jerome. Do be aware that in the woods there are mosquitoes and such, so if you arent from around here, at least be aware of that, it might not be too bad, but it very well could be. Oh, and deet eats/melts synthetic stuff pretty darn good, so beware.
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Old 07-01-19, 06:12 AM
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I easily found accommodations along Le P'tit Train du Nord at the end of the day, but I began riding south from Mont Laurier on Labor Day, so most folks were going home that day. I'm sure July is a different matter, and on weekends in July things will be tighter still. If you're looking for indoor accommodations, it would probably be useful to look at Airbnb now as well as in the upcoming days to see what availability is like, and then decide accordingly on the necessity of making reservations.
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Old 07-01-19, 07:33 AM
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Thanks for the feedback folks.

We are taking the shuttle from St. Jerome to the northern terminus on a Sunday morning. The plan is to ride back slowly over 4 days or so. Maybe faster maybe slower. We are taking kids who have toured before but don't do much mileage. Plan is to camp as much as possible.

We prefer not to be tied to a particular itinerary, but I guess I need to just spend some time plotting out where the most convenient campgrounds are and book some spots.
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Old 07-01-19, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kesroberts
Thanks for the feedback folks.

We are taking the shuttle from St. Jerome to the northern terminus on a Sunday morning. The plan is to ride back slowly over 4 days or so. Maybe faster maybe slower. We are taking kids who have toured before but don't do much mileage. Plan is to camp as much as possible.

We prefer not to be tied to a particular itinerary, but I guess I need to just spend some time plotting out where the most convenient campgrounds are and book some spots.
re the shuttle, it seemed to take a long time to get up to the Mont Laurier station, I dont recall exactly, but it seems to me that I didnt start riding down the trail until 11am, not 100% sure of my memory, but in any case, figure a shorter time day that day, and it could be hot on the bus (my sept trip was unusually cold that weekend, and I remember being cold in the bus!)

the more or less four days schedule is great. There are numerous pretty spots to stop and stuff, so start looking at campgrounds locations and plotting out days. Seems to me there was one or more campground right near the path, but others a bit away, so shorter days mean more leeway for enjoying the day anyway with the added bonus of it not being an issue if you have to ride 5kms or whatever to a campground--I havent looked at the campground locations for about 5 years, so dont take my 5km quote as accurate.

there generally are "touristy" little cafes and regular stores in the larger towns you will pass by. I think there was less in the top section of the trail, but its easy to look at google maps and stuff at specific towns along or near the trail to see whats available.

where are you from? In the smaller towns, folks might not speak English, but probably a good bet where more people traffic is, but anyway, you will get by-especially given that if no one speaks english, you have no choice!

along with online documentation, there generally are the booklets available with the trail map and stuff, so good for having a physical chart of distances etc, and then of course, you can do the gps thing on your phone for exact location.
Cell reception is probably pretty good most places, given its cottage country etc.

not to alarmist, but do inform yourselves about checking for ticks, and how to deal with one if anyone has one--taking one of this tick remover things would be a priority, as proper removal is super important to reducing not getting the ripped off innards with the Lymes disease stuff into you if improperly removed.

be informed anyway, always the best

if you have questions about Montreal, feel free to ask, lots of neat things to do with kids, or adults.
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Old 08-04-19, 01:16 PM
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I just thought I would circle back here now that the trip is done. It was great - 5 days fully loaded with 8 and 11 year olds carrying much of their own stuff.

The shuttle company has a list of campgrounds that was very helpful for planning, but in the end we only had advance reservations for one place and things worked out fine. I think that totally wining it would not have been a problem.

One campground near the north end that is not on the list is Camping Caribou. We didn't stay there because it involved a steep climb off the trail, but shouldn't be a problem for anyone not traveling with kids. Another one not on the list easily accessed is Camping Diable in Mt. Tremblant. Their tent sites were not great, but the timing was right for us.

It looked like there were plenty of very good spots for wild-camping within the trail right of way. I don't know what's permitted but I only saw "no camping" signs in a few specific spots in towns.

Anyway - great trip and I'm looking forward to our next Route Verte trip.
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Old 08-04-19, 02:36 PM
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Glad to hear, and hope it was a positive experience for the whole family.
I've been planning a three day loop with part of it on the trail for next week, but weather is looking kinds of iffy, so not sure if we will go.

It's a pretty area isn't it? And the old train station buildings are neat.
Thanks for giving the post trip blurb.
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Old 08-04-19, 07:20 PM
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Looking at doing this in early September. Did you use gravel or mtn bike? We can run our racks & panniers on either but wondering what bike - tire width is best?
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Old 08-04-19, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by veloz
Looking at doing this in early September. Did you use gravel or mtn bike? We can run our racks & panniers on either but wondering what bike - tire width is best?
if its dry, you can use 25, 28's. Ive ridden it semi loaded on 28 slicks and it was fine---until it started raining hard non stop for hours and hours, and some sections became a bit soft--but this was pretty hard rain for quite a while.
That said, 35 or 40 or whatever would help immensely and be perfectly fine if you had the misfortune of having a looooot of rain (unlikely probably, but not out of the realm of possibility)
I think too that I could have continued on the 28s, but it was also rather cold, so I was in the worst conditions, somewhere around 10c and even less at one point and pretty steady rain, so miserable stuff.....in other words, if it had been warmer, I probably would have put up better with the soft spots that were in lower areas and were not draining well.

at a certain point, when near the paved highway, I decided "enough" and took the road, where at least for the same effort I was going a lot faster.
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