Mountain Biking in Nova Scotia

Trous de Saumons
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Trou de Saumons
Length/configuration : 13-km (8-mile) out-and-back (6.5 km [4 miles] each way).
 
Aerobic difficulty : Suitable for all fitness levels; only short climbs.
 
Technical difficulty : Easy; double-track trail with short sections of rough terrain toward the end of the ride.
 
Scenery : This ride parallels the Cheticamp River up a sheltered valley of Acadian forest.
 
Special comments : Pools on the Cheticamp River attract anglers fishing for Atlantic salmon.
 
General location : North of Cheticamp, in the southwest corner of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
 
Elevation change : Although there is no appreciable gain in elevation on this ride, you will find the return trip slightly faster, as you experience the gentle slope back down toward the ocean.
 
Season : Mid-May to late October. Note that the lower section of this ride is likely to be wet in the spring, as runoff from the highlands causes the Cheticamp River to swell.
 
Services : With the exception of a bike store, you will find all services in Cheticamp, just a short distance south of the trailhead. Basic services, including water and washrooms, are even closer to the trailhead, at the Cheticamp Information Centre.
 
Hazards : Bikers may encounter a few isolated eroded spots on the trail, particularly toward the end of the ride.
 
Rescue index
: At the farthest point on this ride, you will be 6.5 km (4 miles) from the very busy Cheticamp Information Centre near the trailhead. Chances are good that you will encounter other trail users as well.
 
Land status : National park; from mid-May to mid-October there is an entry fee for all park visitors.
 
Maps : Detailed topographic maps for the park can be purchased at the Cheticamp Information Centre, located just inside the park boundary. For this particular ride, the free map offered to all visitors to the park is probably adequate. The Trous de Saumons trail is number 2 on the map.
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Trous de Saumons is an easy, 13-km (8-mile) out-and-back ride along a former road. Hard-packed and well graded along most of the route, the trail includes only a few sections of exposed and loose rock, where erosion has deteriorated the trail surface. Fortunately, these conditions exist only after the trail reaches a warden's cabin 3.5 km (2 miles) into the ride. Up to this point, the ride is suitable for novices and makes a great 7-km (4.3-mile) roundtrip for families or group excursions involving riders of mixed skill levels. Beyond the warden's cabin, the trail becomes both technically and aerobically more difficult. A deteriorating trail surface and several short but steep hills require slightly higher skill and fitness levels.

French for"salmon pools," the name of this ride describes the deep lagoons that make the Cheticamp River a favorite destination among anglers. Only fly fishing is permitted on the river, where people come to try their luck casting for Atlantic salmon. Following the river inland from where it empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you will ride into an ever-narrowing valley along the base of its northern slope. Along the first section of the ride, the trail lies in the shadow of Montagne Noire, which looms over the river from the southern side of the valley. Farther up, the trail enters a narrow ravine before steep cliffs literally force the end of the trail.

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