Virtual Tour of the
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The North Road is a very remote road that runs from near Chibougamau to Km
275 of the James Bay Road. It is 424 km long, and is a modern gravel road, with smooth curves and hills,
unpaved for its entire length. There is very little traffic - most of
the traffic is trucks. The first 50 km or so are used by mammoth
trucks. Use caution! There are numerous warning signs about them. There are no
towns on the road except for Nemaska, which is 10 km north of this road at
If the road is dry, expect a complete whiteout after a truck
passes you. Slow down and pull to the right as far as you can safely
go. This will help preserve your front windshield, as well as keep you out
of the way if the oncoming driver does not pull over to their side of the road
far enough. Generally speaking, the truckers to be very
considerate of the other vehicles on the road. It's the occasional
passenger vehicle and pickup truck being driven by a maniac that are the
problem. Watch for graders that are continually working on the road.
Generally the scenery is fairly level (some people
will say it's downright boring). The road crosses
some medium-sized rivers. The road is open year-round, however, it gets VERY cold up
there in the winter, 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. There are regular picnic and rest areas to stop and take a
break. There is only one campground. You may instead to choose to camp in old gravel pits, which are plentiful and
usually not all that ugly. Cell phones do not work here.
I don't have many photos of the North Road. I've only
been along it once. I fully intend to go back soon, and when I do, there will be
a lot more photos here.
Travelogues, Driving the North Road.
Km 0: Beginning of the North Road, starting about 15 km north
of Chibougamau, off Hwy 167.
||Km 10: Graders are
constantly working this road. Be on the lookout for
Km 11: Backroad to Chibougamau, logging road mainly, but not every
Km 12: Waconichi Lake. There is a "Northern Arboretum" there,
quite interesting to walk in the forest.
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!
SEPAQ have some very nice camps there. (SEPAQ is the "Société des
éstablissements de plein air du Québec")
Km 26: Backroad to Oujé-Bougoumou and Chapais -- some 46 Kms for
Oujé, and 11 more for
||Km 27: Mammoth
logging trucks frequent the first 50km or so of this
road. Keep an eye out for them, and pull over when you
see one coming (keep moving slowly, though).
|Km 32: Access road to Baie Penicouane, the southern
part of Mistassini Lake. SEPAQ campground there, boat ramp, picnic
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 72: It is a
well-maintained, smooth, modern gravel road. But read
Driving the North Road
page if you
choose to travel up here.
Km 77: Beaver Camp (road maintenance camp). Also
access to the Lake & River Des Maures.
Canoeing: From there 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
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. This is A world Class fishing spot, for
speckled trout mainly. So far, at least 3 world records come from this
camp. The biggest trout ever caught at the Lodge since opening in 1966
was 9 pounds & 9 ounces. This record catch was exceeded in 2004 with a
trout weighing 12 pounds & 1 ounce!
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
Here the road turns back North. Just at the curve, there is
a sideroad 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 sideroad
road was completely washed out after the tremendous winter of 1999 (over
9 feet of snow!). When the Mistassini Lake ice melted away (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:
This river may also be seen at Km 232 of the
James Bay Road.
Km 132: Cheniapiscau rest area. Picnic tables,
toilets, scenic viewpoint, camping.
Km 154: Limit of the logging operations! Breathe a big sigh
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.
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 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.
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).
STOP HERE AND TAKE A LOOK. Picnic tables, toilets, shelters, fishing. Spectacular
rapids!! It 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.
There are plans to divert the
Rupert River, upstream from here, in 2007. 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. But if you try this, you may not sleep well during the
first night ...this rapid is loud
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 days 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!
Same note here about fishing, you are in
the WEES-SEES-INDOHOUN zone, so you need a pass.
||Km 238: Bilingual
stop sign at rest area: French and Cree.
Km 248: Hydro Quebec transformer station Albanel
255: Hutte Lake
Km 258: Junction:
Left turn for the Route du Nord.
Right turn for the Hydro Quebec Poste Albanel transformer station.
Straight ahead is the "Auclair" road, for a 4x4 only. Leads to the
Nemiscau River (38km) & the Eastmain River (68km).
|Km 286: Lescar Hills rest area. Picnic tables,
toilets, scenic viewpoint.
Km 288: Hydro Quebec Nemiscau transformer station.
Km 290: Cree Construction Garage. Gas and diesel
might be available from 7-9am and 4-6pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.
But you're probably better off going into
Nemaska for this.
Km 300: Access road to the village of
10 km to the north.
Gasoline, diesel, restaurant, store, lodging (819) 673-2512.
Km 354: Turnoff for Lake Nemiscau & Old Nemaska. The Cree village
used to be there until 1970 when the HBC closed the post and the people
were "evacuated" by Quebec-Hydro. "New Nemaska" is at Lake Champion (km
Km 381: Boisrobert Lake. Picnic tables, toilets,
boat launching ramp, camping.
406: End of the North Road: junction with the
Bay Road at km 275. This photo is looking east along the North
Road at the junction.
||Km 406: Rest Area
at the junction.
||This is on the James Bay
Road at Km 275, at the junction with the North Road.
The James Bay Road is paved, which will be a welcome
change after 406 km of gravel road!
This concludes the Virtual Tour of the North Road.