Route de la Baie James


Travel Guide to the North Road

Copyright © 2008 by Walter Muma

Please read Driving the North Road first!

To view photographs along the North Road, visit the Virtual Tour of the North Road. In this guide, the Km numbers are linked to these Virtual Tour pages. Please also see the Travelogues section of this website.
Please note that hours of operation and availability of services may change.
Feel free to print this guide and take it along on your trip.  Copyright © 2008 by Walter Muma


Km 0

Beginning of the North Road, starting about 15 km north of Chicoutimi, off Hwy 167.

From Here to: Km Miles
Amos (via North Road & James Bay Road) 863 535
Brisay 1257 779
Caniapiscau 1341 831
Chibougamau 15 9
Chisasibi 821 509
Eastmain 585 363
Matagami (via North Road & James Bay Road) 681 422
Nemaska 310 192
Radisson 751 466
Waskaganish 546 339
Wemindji 745 462
Km 11 Backroad to Chibougamau, logging road mainly, but not used by logging trucks every day.
Km 12 Waconichi Lake. There is a "Northern Arboretum" there, quite interesting to walk in the forest.
SEPAQ have some very nice camps there. (SEPAQ is the "Société des éstablissements de plein air du Québec")
Km 20 The small Barlow River. CAUTION: The bridge here is very narrow and when there are logging trucks on the road, you might have to stop very quickly just before the bridge for them - this is dangerous if there are some more behind you!
Km 26 Backroad to Oujé-Bougoumou and Chapais -- some 46 Kms for Oujé, and 11 more for Chapais.
Km 32 Access road to Baie Penicouane, the southern part of Mistassini Lake. SEPAQ campground there, boat ramp, picnic tables.

Km 63

Brock River

Km 65 There is a spring on the left side (northbound) of the road here.

Km 66

Samuel Bedard Lake

Km 77 Beaver Camp (road maintenance camp). Also access to the Lake & River Des Maures.
Canoeing: From here you can reach the Rupert River & Mistassini Lake by canoe, and then paddle down the Great Rupert! Or stay on the "South branch", the Natastan River until Lac de La Passe, portage your way through the Marteen River waters and paddle back to the road at Km 177. Or keep going over the Natastan River until the end, paddle all Lac Mesgouez and come out at Km 221.

Km 81

Domergue Lake

Km 98

Regneault Lake

Km 100

Frotet Lake. This is the headwaters of the Broadback River.

Km 106 Cellular phones do work here for a short ways.
Km 108 Junction of access road for the Troilus Mine, 44 Kms away.
At about km 27 of this access road, there is a gravel pit, just over the hill after crossing the Broadback River. This is the access for "Square Tail Lodge" outfitting camps, a world class fishing spot, mainly for speckled trout.
The road turns west just after Km 108; there is a nice valley on the north side of the road. Lake Lezai is visible down there, quite pretty scenery with all the small islands in the lake.

Km 118

Tortigny River.

Km 118 Here the road turns back north. Just at the curve, there is a side road on the left side to Cachisca & Opataca Lake. This road used to be another way to come up here, via Chapais & Oujé-Bougoumou, following the power lines for most of the way. In 1999 this side road road was completely washed out after the tremendous winter of 1999 (over 9 feet of snow!). When the Mistassini Lake ice melted in the spring (headwaters of the Rupert River), the Rupert River water level went up 5 feet and stayed like that until the summer of 2000! The water level was even higher in 2004, due to Mistassini Lake ice again. The ice went out only on June 20th of 2004. The water level was already quite high but it went up another 3 feet!

Km 131

Broadback River

Km 132

Cheniapiscau rest area. Picnic tables, toilets, scenic viewpoint, camping.
Camping & fishing note: This campsite and any other campsite before Km 164 are inside the SEPAQ territory. You need to register and pay for camping or any other activities inside the Reserve. No registration paper might mean a fine from the Quebec Game Wardens. They are all over the place in the summer. Same thing for fishing. First "free" fishing spot is the Marteen River at Km 178.

Km 154 Limit of the logging operations! Breathe a big sigh of relief (if you're traveling north)!
Here there is a road on the left side. Just past this (northbound), there is a steep hill. Stop here! Get out of the car, climb up the rocks on the left side (northbound) and have a look at the scenery! When the air is very clear, you can see all the way back to Km 108. And if you are familiar with the area, you can clearly see the Troilus Lake mountain, this is more than 60 Kms away!

Km 162

Entering the areas of Assinica, Albanel-Mistassini and Waconichi Games Preserves. 1-800-665-6527

Km 177

Marteen River. By paddling downstream from here, you can reach the Rupert River after a week or so of paddling.

Km 221 Small side road on the right hand side (north bound): access for Mesgouez Lake & the Rupert River. There is an extensive set of Cree camps here (spring fishing camps). Boat ramp, camping, fishing.
Km 232 or so Southern limit of the WEE-SEES-INDOHOUN Game Management Territory. New in 2003. You will need a pass (free) to fish or camp anywhere inside this special zone. Pass can be obtained at the SEPAQ office at Mont Chalco, just about 5 Kms North of Chibougamau or at the Nemiscau Quebec Hydro camp (Km 290).

Km 238

Rupert River Gorge. STOP HERE AND TAKE A LOOK.
Picnic tables (3 or 4), pit toilets (2), shelters (3), fishing. The rest stop is small and overused, and rather dirty.
Spectacular rapids!! The Rupert River isn't anywhere near as big here as it is downstream where it crosses the James Bay Road. But these rapids are a seething mass of wild roaring water nonetheless.
The Rupert River will be diverted, upstream from here, in late 2009. Get up here and see this magnificent wild river while it is still unaltered!
It is possible to camp here, but NOT at the rest area. Just before the bridge (Northbound), on the right side, there is a small road. This is the portage trail. There is room down there for 1-2 cars & tent.
The "cut-off" point for the Rupert River Diversion project is only about 4-5 kilometers upstream. At low water, it is possible to walk on the North shore of the River and reach this point, about a one day walk.
To have another view of the Rupert River, one can walk North on the road for +/- 300m -- there is a trail there. This is the portage trail, ends in a nice "pool", where there's a nice view of the second set of rapids (Class V).
There is also another trail. Just in front of the entrance for the small road (the portage trail mentioned above), at the south side of the bridge. This trail leads right on top of the chute, one can take breathtaking pictures from there. But take great care, it is almost scary!
And just past the east end of the bridge, on the north side, you can walk down to the river above the rapids.
Same note here about fishing: you are in the WEES-SEES-INDOHOUN zone, so you need a pass.

Km 241 Bras de Rupert - an arm of the Rupert River that is a lake.
Km 245 Lermare River

Km 255

Hutte Lake

Km 279 Nemiscau River.

Km 258

Main Junction, Poste Albanel transformer station.
Going north:
 -Left turn for the North Road.
 -Right turn for the
Hydro Quebec Poste Albanel transformer station.
 -Straight ahead is the road to "Camp Rupert".
Going south:
 -Right turn for the North Road
 -Straight ahead for the
Hydro Quebec Poste Albanel transformer station.
 -Left turn is the road to "Camp Rupert".

Km 286

Lescar Hills rest stop. Picnic tables, toilets, scenic viewpoint (nice view to the north).

Km 288

Hydro Quebec Nemiscau transformer station.

Km 289 Hydro Quebec Heliport

Km 290.5

Camp Nemiscau, 0.5 km north of North Road.
Km 290.6 Relais Routier: fuel, meals, garage, information office. Gas bar open Monday-Saturday 6am-12noon, 1pm-7pm; Sunday 7am-12noon, 1-5pm. In May 2008 gas was $1.77/liter, diesel was $1.91/liter.
Km 290.8 Road to Camp Eastmain-1, Poste Nemiscau, Project Eastmain-1.
Km 298 Nemiscau airport (Hydro Quebec)

Km 299

Access road to the village of Nemaska (Nemiscau), 10 km to the north. Gasoline, diesel, restaurant, store, lodging (819) 673-2512.
North of this point you will there is a lot less traffic, but the road is in poorer condition, with numerous soft patches. Also the speed limit drops to 70 km/h.
Going south, be prepared for a lot more traffic, but the road is in much better condition.
The power line to Wasjaganish meets the road here, and criss-crosses it quite a bit for a ways

Km 354 Turnoff for Lake Nemiscau & Old Nemaska. The Cree village was located there until 1970 when the HBC closed the post and the people were "evacuated" by Hydro Quebec. "New Nemaska" is at Lake Champion (km 299).

Km 381

Boisrobert Lake campsite and rest area. Picnic tables, toilets, boat launching ramp, camping.

Km 383 Extensive forest fire in 2007.
Km 385 Boisrobert Lake - sign is hidden in the bushes.

Km 406

End of the North Road: junction with the James Bay Road at km 275. Pavement!

From Here to: Km Miles
Amos 457 283
Brisay 851 528
Caniapiscau 835 580
Chibougamau 421 261
Chisasibi 415 257
Eastmain 179 111
Matagami 275 171
Nemaska 116 72
Radisson 345 214
Waskaganish 140 87
Wemindji 339 210

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