Portneuf County is an historic and regional administration covering the western part of Quebec Region on the western boundaries of Quebec City. The county is mainly known for its wilderness and remaining pristine landscapes, but it remains a region untouched by mass tourism. The southern towns, by the shore of the St. Lawrence river, are some of the oldest settlements in North America and carries the trace of the colonial history of Canada. The scenic Chemin du Roy trail goes through the county and those historic villages.
- ZEC Batiscan-Neilson
- ZEC Rivière-Blanche
- Réserve Faunique de Portneuf
Portneuf is still a purely rural county which economy relies mainly on farming and lumbering as well as some local factory. The region covers about 4000 km² for a population of about 35,000 inhabitants where the majority lives in the southern part of the county just by St-Lawrence River in one of the 18 organised municipalities. The county's northern part remains undivided public land and is reputed as a cottage country holiday area for the inhabitants of Quebec City.
Due to its proximity to Quebec City many villagers commute everyday to the city for work.
Get in and around
With a few exceptions, there is no public transport in this rural county. A car is therefore required to ease the mobility to and within this rural county.
Portneuf County is easily reachable within 30 minutes of driving from Quebec City by heading west towards the A-40
Rivière-à-Pierre still has a functioning train station. The Via Rail trains head north through the Public Land to Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean.
Orleans Express serves the riverside towns along the A-40 on its service between Montreal and Quebec City, but the service is infrequent and unreliable.
- Grondines windmill, 535, chemin des Ancêtres, Deschambault-Grondines. Built in 1674, this windmill is the oldest in Quebec. The exhibition recounts its history as a flour mill and as a maritime signal station.
- Christine Genest Art Gallery, 57A, route 138, Cap-Santé (along the Chemin du Roy), ☏ . W-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. 10 Quebec artists: painters and sculptors.
Three main itineraries can be set to visit the different features of this county:
- North-West and Public Land (Wilderness Trail)
- Along the St. Lawrence (Historic Trail)
- The West (Colonisation Trail)
- Au chalet en bois rond (At the Log Cabin), 325, rang Saint-Jacques, Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne, ☏ , toll-free: . A sugar shack offering brunch, horse-drawn sleigh rides, tasting of delicious snow-cakes and sliding for children.
- Cycling routes. The Route verte runs along the St.Lawrence River on the former railway track between Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier and Rivière-à-Pierre. The 68-km Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf bike path offers beautiful viewpoints. The Dansereau/La Liseuse 15-km trail follows the beautiful Jacques-Cartier River between Pont-Rouge and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier. From Deschambault-Grondines to Saint-Ubalde, the 88-km Portneuvoise bike path provides the agricultural landscape of the plain mostly via designated roadways and paved shoulders.
- Ski Saint-Raymond, 1226, rang Notre-Dame, Saint-Raymond, ☏ . On a mountain covered with 100% natural snow, there are 8 pistes of all levels.
- Hiking and snowmobiling. 1,000 km of trails at the crossroads of several regions.
- Chutes de la Marmite (Marmite waterfall), Rivière-à-Pierre. Well landscaped walking trails, the possibility of swimming not far from the falls, small shelters for very special picnic tables. Very easy level hiking trail (for all) with an approximate distance of 1 km.
- La Perle Du St-laurent, 102 rue du Quai, Portneuf, ☏ . Seafood. Mains $18-40.
- Restaurant Pub St-Alfred, 326, 2e avenur, RR2, Portneuf, ☏ . M Tu 07:00-14:00, W Th 07:00-20:00, F 07:00-21:00. Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-20:00. Salmon, beef and elk tartares, chicken, salmon, pasta, pizza, burgers. Mains $10-28.
- Resto-gare, 309 Route 138, Portneuf, ☏ . M-W 06:30 - 20:00, Th-Su 06:30 - 21:00. Roast chicken, steak, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, poutine. Mains $7-16.
- Brasserie la Fosse, 270, Rue de l’Église, Donnacona, ☏ . W-F 15:00-18:00, Sa 13:00-17:00. Microbrewery, restaurant.
- Domaine des 3 Moulins, 1333, route 138, Neuville, ☏ . A vineyard on the banks of the St. Lawrence offering wine tasting, picnic area and terrace.
- Camping Un Air d'été, 459 route Grand-Capsa, Pont-Rouge, ☏ , toll-free: . 20 minutes from Quebec City. 100 sites. Swimming lake with games open to the public, heated pool, BMX track and remote control (electric car). Soccer, basketball, hockey fields. Trailers for rent. Restaurant and convenience store.
- Hotel le Portneuvois, 101, Rue Simeon-Delisle, Portneuf. Rooms include a refrigerator, air conditioning, a desk, and free wifi. From $105.
- Gîte aux Quatre Délices, 1208, route 138, Neuville, ☏ . 20 minutes from Quebec City, the Gîte aux Quatre Délices is a house dating from the 1690s with four rooms decorated in a historical style. Shared bathrooms.
This rural county has no crime rate. Call 911 to reach the local police station which is based in Pont-Rouge.
If you venture into the public land, you must register in a case you need a rescue. This advice is actually an obligation and responsibility to everyone who would venture in this vast untouched area. The nearest settlement and assistance can be hours away by car once in the northern wild part of county, letting the rescue service know about your whereabouts could be a paramount element.