Whether you call it Petit parc or Parc de la Galette, route 381 brings its share of ”wow” to every motorcyclist who takes it. Breathtaking landscapes, not to be missed stops, great places to fill your belly and a lot of history: its 114 km of open road will please in every way!
The ride starts at the junction of Route 170 and Route 381 in Saguenay, in the Ville de La Baie sector. Before you start, get ready by snacking on an original and flavourful breakfast at Bistro Café Summum. Then, since you are already directly in the Harbour Village, you will be able to take a stroll before getting on your motorbike! You will even be able to witness the docking of several impressive international cruises. In all, over 55 cruise visits are expected between May and October.
And it’s a go!
From the start, Route 381 is winding, and of unparalleled quality. Some 40 minutes into your trip, you will be able to stop at Stivy Relais-Resto-Bar to refuel and load up on regional products for a picnic to come. Close by, you will also be able to stop at the Ferland-Boilleau rest area, where a wonderful covered bridge crosses the Ha! Ha! River, and a grassy space awaits you and your blankets, unless you’d rather sit on the flat rocks directly overlooking the river…
Travel along the Ha! Ha! River and cross the lake by the same name to enter the forest along the Parc national des Grands-Jardins. The immensity of the landscape and the imposing rocky capes will leave you speechless. In this very mountainous sector, it is not unusual to see snow by mid-October. (Don’t worry, it will be on the mountain tops, not on the road!)
Throughout the trip, you will be happily surprised to discover several places with wide shoulders where you can easily stop, enjoy the vistas at your leisure, have a picnic, and maybe even jump into the water in one of the many rivers at your beck and call.
History-wise, it is fascinating to see the remaining traces of the Great Fire of 1999 still visible. On May 30, 1999, lightning started a fire in the parc national des Grands Jardins, and in a matter of a few days 35 square km of the Park went up in smoke, 11% of its total area. An unusual panorama that will still grab you, even more than 20 years later!
You then follow the western bank of rivière du Gouffre for a few kilometres to reach the charming village of Saint-Urbain. The final landscape above the immense escarpment offers an amazing view of the St. Lawrence River. Breathtaking every time! And a few kilometres on, Baie-Saint-Paul awaits you for a well-deserved rest before moving on to new horizons!
Let it be known that, from beginning to end (or from end to beginning) Route 381 is a must for all motorcyclists who are looking for a different and impressive trip!
© Header : Route 381, Tourisme Charlevoix, B. Lemeunier; 1ère photo: Route 381, Tourisme Charlevoix, B. Lemeunier; 2e photo: Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, M. Boucher; 3e photo: Pont couvert, Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean: 4e photo: Route 381, Tourisme Charlevoix, B. Lemeunier