The Guide to Whitewater Rafting

Nouvelle Vague Expeditions inc. - descent of La Traditionnelle on the Jacques-Cartier
Expéditions Nouvelle Vague inc.

Picture yourself riding the rapids on a river near Québec City in an inflatable raft that can hold up to 10 people, with an experienced guide aboard to ensure your safety. It’s a thrilling experience for anyone over the age of 12, with plenty of adrenaline and gorgeous scenery—as long as you don’t mind getting a little wet!

Best Rafting in Québec City

Stretching 177 km (110 miles) from Jacques Cartier Lake to the St. Lawrence River, the Jacques Cartier River is the place to go for rafting in the Québec City area. The section of the river that runs through Stoneham‑et‑Tewkesbury boasts Class III and IV rapids, cascades, and falls amidst lush forest. Invite your friends and family and spend a day having fun in nature.

What happens on a rafting adventure?

Generally speaking, you’ll start by meeting your guides, who will explain the safety rules and basic rafting manœuvres. Once you’re on the river, your guide will provide a running commentary on what’s coming up and how to tackle it. Depending on the weather, you may have the opportunity to swim in the rapids or even try cliff jumping. Of course, if you’d rather spend that time relaxing on the riverbank, you’re more than welcome to do so.

Expect to spend at least three hours on your rafting adventure, depending on the package you choose. Some operators run longer excursions than others—check with the company to see what they offer. One thing is for certain: your whitewater rafting adventure will be a total rush!


Best Time for Whitewater Rafting

Rafting operations run from mid‑May to mid‑October, and every season has something different to offer.

In spring, when snowmelt swells the river, the ride is more spectacular and intense. Adrenaline junkies: this is the best season for you.

In the summer, water levels are a little lower and vary with the rainfall. That being said, the water is much warmer, which makes for a more comfortable outing.

In the fall, the forest is transformed by the turning colours of the leaves, for an experience that’s both fun and stunningly beautiful. In all three seasons, whitewater rafting is a rain‑or‑shine activity, since you’ll end up getting wet no matter the weather.

What to Wear and Equipment Required

For a fun and comfortable rafting adventure, it’s best to dress appropriately. Bring a bathing suit or athletic undergarments, a warm sweater (not cotton), a beach towel, and sunscreen. In the spring and fall, it’s also a good idea to bring wool socks. The rafting company will provide you with a wetsuit and a life vest, so you can get all geared up and ready to face the rapids safely!

Couple picnic near the Pierre-Dugas-De Mons terrace, in front of a panorama of Old Québec and the St. Lawrence River.

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Editorial Team

As proud ambassadors of our beloved city, we’re delighted to be sharing the things and places we love most in the Québec City area. What a joy for us to help you discover everything this vibrant and welcoming city has to offer!

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