Portneuf County is renowned among snowmobilers. Effectively, over the years, local stakeholders have succeeded to set structures and gathered to offer a first choice destination for a stay of quality. This article will bring you on various rides to experience and their must-see attractions. Each one leaves from Saint-Raymond, a small town of 10 000 residents located in the region of Capitale-Nationale and about 45 minutes by road from Québec City. This week, the itineraries Poisson-des-Chenaux, Grand Circuit and Gazoduc are presented. Part II will talk about the circuit L’Étape, about the regional accommodation and about the parking lots available for traveling snowmobilers.
Here, the St. Lawrence River offers its most wonderful winter scenery. First, we ride on trail #23 to Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, going through Saint-Basile. On this trail in forest, we discover all the beautiful wilderness in the heart of Portneuf. Then, on trail #3, we ride to Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade and we go through the legendary village of tomcods. Take a few minutes to observe fishermen and to taste the delicious pastries offered by “ Queue de Castor ”. In season and if conditions are favorable, we can ride a few kilometers on the St. Lawrence River from a local trail. Otherwise, the regional trail #302, followed by trails TQ #3 and #23, will bring you back to your point of departure.
The Grand Circuit
First, you will ride about 30 km on trail #73. Just before Rivière-à-Pierre, you will turn to the regional trail #353. Watch for the signs; only 8 km further, you will be invited to climb the Montagne de la Tour. Once at the top, go and climb the steps of the belvedere to admire the most beautiful landscape of the region. Then, keep going up to the junction with TQ #23 west and turn towards Lac-aux-Sables/Saint-Tite. Follow the signs towards Saint-Séverin where you will see the signs for the Relais de la Station. On week days, they offer a typical bistro-bar menu, but do not miss their fabulous marinated steaks offered Saturday nights only! On your way back, keep going on trail #351 for a large tour through the lands along the St. Lawrence River. However, if you wish to come back faster, you should use the local trail to reach trail #3. Stop a few moments for a coffee at the traditional Cabane chez Roger. You will also have the opportunity to watch the beautiful gorge of the Sainte-Anne River in Saint-Alban.
The Gazoduc ride begins with about 40 km on what the locals call “ the track ”. TQ #73 is in fact a former railroad transformed into biking trail in summer and snowmobile trail in winter. From Rivière-à-Pierre, it runs then on logging roads of the Réserve de Portneuf and the Zec Jeanotte. If you are not in a hurry, make a detour to the charming village of Lac-Édouard. Finally, you will arrive at the famous town of La Tuque where you will find many restaurants and diversified accomodation. You will be surprised by the warm welcome of the merchants all along the main trail than runs downtown. On your way back, the regional trail #355 offers absolutely breathtaking views. Effectively, running along the pipeline, this trail follows many small valleys that cross over one another. Along with memorable views, the trail will provide the most exciting riding experience. Then, you will ride through the village of Lac-aux-Sables to come back towards Saint-Raymond.
Come back tomorrow for Part II of our tour in Portneuf!