The James Bay Road is 620 km long (388 miles). It is paved for its entire
length. This road was originally built to carry loads of 300 tons, so the road
has mostly gentle curves and hills and wide shoulders. However, there are
sections which are very bumpy, and even if you drive at the posted speed limit
of 100 km/h, you could wreck your car on some of these bumps if you don't slow
down. Some of the worst bumps have no bump sign! You may encounter logging
trucks during the first 200 km or so, but they're not much of a problem as the
road is paved. The James Bay Road is open year-round.
only one gas station for the entire length of 620km, at Km 381. There are no
other facilities whatsoever for the entire length of the road. You need to
check in at Km 6. Radisson has most services, but remember that it is still a
small town, of only about 300 people.
Scenery: Generally the scenery is fairly level (some people will say
it's downright boring). The road crosses some really big rivers. For most of the
length it runs through taiga: spruce and jack pine forest, bogs, rocks, and low
hills. This is about all you'll see apart from birds and some wildlife, and the
occasional cabin a short distance off the road. Make sure you stop and view the
spectacular rapids of the
Rupert River, at km 257. It is a
sight you will not forget for some time!
Campgrounds and rest areas: There
are regular picnic and rest areas to stop and take a break. There are also
regularly spaced campgrounds. However, these sometimes consist of little
more than a parking lot suitable for trailers. You may instead to choose to camp
in old gravel pits, which are plentiful and usually not all that ugly.
Telephones: There are emergency telephones located at intervals along
the Road. They are basically regular pay phones, except they do not accept
coins, only credit cards. The usual calling card calls, collect calls, and
bill-to-third-number calls may be made of course. Cell phones do not work here.
Cellular phones work until you hit Matagami (Bell Mobility), or
Amos for Rogers. On the Route du Nord cell phones
work at Km106 & other "top of the hill" locations.
Although the James Bay Road is paved for its entire length of 620 km, it is
nevertheless a very remote road with little traffic. Please read the cautions
below before traveling on this road.