This is an extremely remote road,
leading 666 km east almost to Labrador, with no settlements or towns aside from
Hydro Quebec's settlements for workers (these are private and are not open to
the public - they will kick you out).
At the far end you will be 745 km from the nearest town! This is the farthest
you can get from a town on a road anywhere in North America!
You should definitely travel this road only in a reliable vehicle with good
tires. It is not a rough road; passenger vehicles can drive it, but it is
gravel. Vehicle breakdowns here can be very costly. Flat tires can be a serious
(and expensive) incident if your tires are damaged. You could be looking at
having tires flown in on a non-scheduled flight - there are no convenient "tire
stores" up here!
The speed limit for the first 395 km is 80 km/h. Past that point it is 70
km/h due to the narrower road surface. This road is unpaved for its entire
length. Slow down and pull to the right when oncoming vehicles are approaching.
Many drivers are considerate enough to do likewise. But there is the occasional
idiot who will not. In this case, slowing down almost to a stop and pulling off
to the far right will help to preserve your windshield. Be careful to avoid the
temptation of hugging the inside of curves when the inside of the curve is not
on your side. Conversely, watch out for others coming at you around curves on
the wrong side of the road. Some drivers take a chance that there's no one
coming as they go around curves, because there's so little traffic on this road.
There are scary stories of people blowing all four tires along this road, and
having to have new tires flown in on an unscheduled flight to one of the
airstrips (VERY expensive!). However, having driven the entire length of the
road and back in an ordinary automobile and having no problems whatsoever, I
offer the following commonsense tips to help you prevent flat tires and
- Be alert and watch out for the larger stones that litter parts of the
road. It's these that will blow your tires if you hit them at a high enough
speed. Steer around them.
- Observe the speed limit. This will enable you to better watch for and
avoid these larger stones. And should you hit one it won't do as much damage
at a slower speed.
- In particular watch out for the sharper stones.
- Where the road is rougher, slow down. Where the road surface is really
smooth, you could get away with going faster, but you should still be on the
lookout for the rogue larger stone in the road.
- Ensure your vehicle is equipped with relatively new tires, that have
lots of tread left on them.
- Don't overload your vehicle. A heavy vehicle or one that is overloaded
will be more likely to experience blowouts.
- Please keep in mind that many modern SUVs are not designed for rough
road conditions - they're designed for where they are used 99% of the time:
paved city streets and highways.
The section from Brisay
(km 582) to Caniapiscau (km 666) is
rougher and a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended by Hydro Quebec. The main
reason for this is the very coarse gravel used for this road - there's large
rocks littering the road surface. However, I have heard from people who have
driven this road in ordinary passenger cars and they say it is fine. You do have
to keep your eyes open for the larger rocks though.
The road is open year-round, however, it gets VERY cold up there in the
winter (-40 degrees C), so if you go in the winter, or even the fall or spring,
be prepared. In the summer it can get just as hot as down south. See the
There are very few rest areas and campgrounds. There are none past km 203.
This is a working, practical road, not a tourist road.
This truly is a
remote road. Do not approach a trip along it lightly! This is not one of those
"cover-my-butt" warnings. It's real.
Although this is a modern gravel road, it is nevertheless a
very remote road with very little traffic. Please read the cautions below
before traveling on this road.
If you are wondering if it is possible to drive east from the
end of the Trans-Taiga Road to Labrador, read this
page (it's not).