Route de la Baie James



  • This is a very remote area. Travel in a reliable and well-maintained vehicle. A breakdown could be very costly in terms of towing fees. And may place you in a truly serious situation in the winter. Traffic is very sparse even on the "main drag" - the James Bay Road - in the summer. The other roads have significantly less traffic.

  • Go to the Travel Information section and read everything there before going.

  • 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!

  • Fill up with fuel whenever possible. Opportunities to fuel up are sometimes quite a distance apart, or may be closed, particularly off the James Bay Road (although the service depot at Km 381 of the James Bay Road is open 24 hrs).

  • This is not a trip for children or families. There are basically no child-oriented activities or facilities. You'll likely be stuck with a car-full of whiny & bored kids.

  • This is a very long road trip. You really do need to love driving to undertake it. It's even a long trip just to get to the start of the James Bay Road! See the Trip Planner page for an idea of the distances involved.

  • Cell phones do not work in this area. There are emergency phones located along the James Bay Road and Trans-Taiga Road.

  • It gets very cold in the winter (down to -40 degrees C). Carry appropriate emergency and survival equipment. You could be in very serious trouble if you break down or lose control and go off the road, if you're not prepared. Carry a warm sleeping bag in your vehicle in case you break down. See the Weather page.

  • Summer is bug time: mosquitoes and black flies are extremely plentiful. Read about them here.

  • Black bears live here.

  • The scenery is not spectacular. This is low, flat or gently undulating country. Don't expect the Rocky Mountains. The main natural attraction of this area is the remoteness and silence.

  • If you are traveling on a motorcycle or bicycle, please read "The James Bay Region on a Motorcycle or Bicycle"

  • Please read Driving the James Bay Road, Driving the North Road, & Driving the Trans-Taiga Road first before traveling up here.


North Road & Trans-Taiga Road


Logging trucks (North Road only): These trucks can be very dangerous! And when one of these huge trucks passes you, NEVER NEVER STOP your vehicle on the side of the road to wait for the dust to settle down. Keep going slow instead. Another of these trucks might be somewhere behind you ... At least one person got killed by this situation (1998).

Other traffic: Of 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.

Flat tires: The North Road is "a tire eater road"! If you drive something heavy like an SUV or a full-size pick-up truck, it is a must to have 6 ply tires. In summer, the road surface temperature can be quite high. This high temperature can literally chew up and destroy your tires. In about 75% of the cases of flat tires along here, the tire is not any good afterwards. If you have a flat tire on this road and there are logging trucks traveling up and down, try as much as possible to stop your vehicle for repairs on one of the numerous small side road entrances, out of the way, your tire is possibly kaput anyway. One person got injured in the summer of 2000 when a truck drove by while he was changing his flat tire. He was hit on the ribs by a ball sized rock that came from underneath the truck!

It is worth repeating: These are VERY REMOTE ROADS. Do not approach a trip along the Trans-Taiga Road lightly. The far eastern end of the Trans-Taiga Road is about 765 km (475 miles) from the nearest town!

Please read Driving the North Road & Driving the Trans-Taiga Road first before traveling up here.

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