Don't underestimate just how far north these roads are.
Radisson (at the end of the
James Bay Road) is about 1500 km north of
Toronto, Ontario. The James Bay Road starts
at Matagami, which is 6 hours north of North Bay (Ontario). From
there it is a full 620 km to Radisson, and
a further 100 km to the shores of James Bay near
Chisasibi. However, that being said, on the other hand, it's not
really all that far to go to get a real taste of the far north. See the
Trip Planner / Distances
page for more detailed info.
Generally the scenery is fairly level (some people will say it's downright
boring). The James Bay Road crosses some really big rivers. Most of the length
of the James Bay and Trans Taiga Roads run 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.
These roads are open year-round, however, it gets VERY cold up there in the
winter (down to -40 degrees C), so if you go in the winter, or even the fall or
spring, be prepared. In the winter you may be in very real
trouble if you break down or go off the road. In the summer it can get
just as hot as down south. See the Weather
There are lots of blackflies and mosquitoes. Go prepared for them. They
last right through August.
The locals speak primarily French; a few people speak English. The Native people
(Cree) speak primarily English.
If you are planning to travel to this area, please read this entire page.
Please also read the travel guides for each of the roads that you are planning
to travel on.
See also the Roads page.