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Key
Put In Put In
Take Out Take Out

Jaques-Cartier river, Tewkesbury section ***

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Key
  • Grade: 4
  • Level: Above about 30 cumecs gives a reasonable run. 100 cumecs is high water.
  • Gauge: Online, and a painted gauge on the bridge at the put in.
  • Length: 7.2 km
  • Gradient: 4.8 m/km
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Put In: Just upstream of the bridge
  • Take Out: Rafting access, or Nouvelle Vague Rafting
  • Shuttle: 7 km
  • Character: The best grade 4 run in the area
  • References: American Whitewater

Just a short drive from Quebec city, this is one of the most popular sections of the Jaques Cartier. It is short enough to get a couple of runs in a day with out rushing, but has plenty of variety. Several companies run commercial rafting trips down here, but it is by no means crowded.

The river level responds to rain quite rapidly, and the online gauge is downstream of the run. A good check is to note the reading on the painted gauge, on the downstream side of the bridge at the put in. -1.5 on this gauge is about 30 cumecs, and +1 is roughly 100 cumecs. It is runnable higher, it just gets bigger and faster!

The rapids start off easy enough, and have calm bits between them that are long enough for comfort, but keep the interest coming. Soon, a long rapid called the Meat Grinder (Hache Viande) is reached. This is more difficult than anything so far, and has a ledge on the left at the bottom. After a few more fun rapids, a longer pool is reached, above a rapid on a left hand bend. Stay to the inside of the corner, as there is a wide sticky pour-over that extends from the right bank to the centre of the river. Shortly after is Surprise rapid, with a runnable drop on the left, and some fun technical lines centre and right.

This is the last of the difficult rapids, and soon the river splits, the left being the more usual route. Easy (and sometimes shallow) rapids continue from here to just above the take out. The take out is on the left.

To get to the take out; Get on QC-175 North out of Quebec city, and take exit 167 (Stoneham/Tewkesbury). Follow this for about 15 km until the river can be seen to the right. A track leads down to the river. This is a rafting take out, so may be locked or busy. If in any doubt, continue downstream and ask at Nouvelle Vague Rafting.

To get to the put in; Go back the way you came, and in Tewkesbury, turn left onto Rue Jaques Cartier S. You will pass a bridge over the river on your left, and park on the right shortly afterwards. There is a launching spot just opposite the parking.