Trans-Taiga Road

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Aequitas1916

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Wisconsin
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J
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Hi Everyone,

Sorry if this isn't the right forum to post this in. It seemed the most appropriate.

I'm in the beginning of the planning stages of a trip on the Trans-Taiga. I realize this is more of a road trip than strictly "overlanding", but it's pretty close.

Has anyone else on the forum driven the road? It seems pretty straight forward, but I find myself calculating my fuel needs and it seems I'm going to have to carry quite a bit. My truck is a bit of a gas guzzler - I average a little over 7.5 kmpl (or however you guys state this in Canada, I'm from the U.S. :) ) so it looks like I need to carry about 197L to make it from Relais Routier to Caniapiscau and back (with a safety buffer). Which is A LOT of fuel. 10-11 jerry cans. I'm not even sure how I would carry that much. As in, I'm not sure where I would stow it all and have much space for sleeping/cooking, etc.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Rawimage.ca

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Traveler I

271
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Hi Everyone,

Sorry if this isn't the right forum to post this in. It seemed the most appropriate.

I'm in the beginning of the planning stages of a trip on the Trans-Taiga. I realize this is more of a road trip than strictly "overlanding", but it's pretty close.

Has anyone else on the forum driven the road? It seems pretty straight forward, but I find myself calculating my fuel needs and it seems I'm going to have to carry quite a bit. My truck is a bit of a gas guzzler - I average a little over 7.5 kmpl (or however you guys state this in Canada, I'm from the U.S. :) ) so it looks like I need to carry about 197L to make it from Relais Routier to Caniapiscau and back (with a safety buffer). Which is A LOT of fuel. 10-11 jerry cans. I'm not even sure how I would carry that much. As in, I'm not sure where I would stow it all and have much space for sleeping/cooking, etc.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Hi, not sure if i understand correctly, but you want to go towards Radisson at the end of the James bay route? There’s gas stations in the villages, i drive a taco and pull an overland trailer and make it with one NATO Jerry can extra 20ltrs. If you tell me where you want to go i can tell you more info. Cheers. Rawimage.ca
 
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Aequitas1916

Rank II
Member

Contributor II

339
Wisconsin
First Name
J
Last Name
W
Member #

18382

Hi, not sure if i understand correctly, but you want to go towards Radisson at the end of the James bay route? There’s gas stations in the villages, i drive a taco and pull an overland trailer and make it with one NATO Jerry can extra 20ltrs. If you tell me where you want to go i can tell you more info. Cheers. Rawimage.ca
Hi! Thanks for your response!

According to the guide I've been reading (which is more than 10 years old), the Trans-Taiga begins at km 544 of the James Bay Road. So, about 70ish km short of the road to Radisson. The guide also shows one service station at km 358 of the Trans-Taiga, which I hadn't seen before. So, it looks like the farthest I would have to go is about 710km between fuel-ups. But again, this guide is 10 years old (I think), so any info about fuel stops on either road (I also plan to visit James Bay) would be greatly appreciated! You said there's gas stations in the villages at the end of the James Bay road? Any others along the way?
 

Rawimage.ca

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Hi! Thanks for your response!

According to the guide I've been reading (which is more than 10 years old), the Trans-Taiga begins at km 544 of the James Bay Road. So, about 70ish km short of the road to Radisson. The guide also shows one service station at km 358 of the Trans-Taiga, which I hadn't seen before. So, it looks like the farthest I would have to go is about 710km between fuel-ups. But again, this guide is 10 years old (I think), so any info about fuel stops on either road (I also plan to visit James Bay) would be greatly appreciated! You said there's gas stations in the villages at the end of the James Bay road? Any others along the way?
On the transtaiga there’s fuel at km 286 then km 358 then km 666 those km start from the James bay road and just south of Radisson as you said KM 544,the villages on the James bay road are not on the side of the main road, you must drive a bit east to get to them so if you don,t want to go off main road then don,t do the villages, but they are a nice stop if you are not in a rush, the local Crees are very welcoming and if you ask they will allow you to go camp off the grid on their territory, just pick up after yourself.
 
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Rawimage.ca

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Traveler I

271
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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6923

On the transtaiga there’s fuel at km 286 then km 358 then km 666 those km start from the James bay road and just south of Radisson as you said KM 544,the villages on the James bay road are not on the side of the main road, you must drive a bit east to get to them so if you don,t want to go off main road then don,t do the villages, but they are a nice stop if you are not in a rush, the local Crees are very welcoming and if you ask they will allow you to go camp off the grid on their territory, just pick up after yourself.
Just re read my reply and i meant drive west from the main James bay road, not east.....
 

Intrepid Photographer

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Guelph, ON, Canada
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I drove my Jeep TJ up there in 2014 and gas was never an issue. I always carried two 20 litre Gerry cans, which I rarely had to use. I would empty them into the tank when filling up, top up, then refill the tanks. My vehicle gets 16L/100km (14.7 mpg) for reference.

There is a gas station, cafeteria and hotel around km 425 on James Bay Road. It is the only one on the main road between Mattawa and Radisson. Each of the communities on the east coast of Hudson Bay are friendly, have gas and supplies. Be warned that everything you buy up there will be very expensive.

Regarding the Trans-Taiga road, if is a very rough road. The gravel is the size of small stones and most traffic you will see will be logging equipment. Very big logging equipment that doesn't always give you enough room. Drive with caution. There are options for gas along the road, but some of those places are seasonal. Locals know who to call if the station is closed, but that won't help you much. I suggest not going up there between November to March unless you know some locals or hire a guide.

All the roads up there can be very dangerous. Adverse weather can make them slippery and outright dangerous. You will see a few cars in the ditch when driving up James Bay Road. The pavement is very rough due to the heavy machinery that drives around. The locals also drive really fast. The road speed is 80km (50 miles) and they drive around 100-130km (60-80 miles). When you see the little yellow triangles signage on the side of the road, that means a bump in the road.

One triangle = smooth speed bump size
Two triangles = sharp ridge in the road
Three triangles = prepare for airtime, hope for dry roads and good suspension!

It is a beautiful area of you are prepared for the roughness. I plan to visit it again one day. Good luck on your trip!140014-19542.jpeg140014-19560.jpeg140014-19395.jpeg140014-19668-20141101_north-by-north-east-exposure-studio-photography-sean-p-carson.jpeg140012-18601-20141024_north-by-north-east-exposure-studio-photography-sean-p-carson.jpeg
 

Migu

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Toronto, Canada
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We drove this on Thanksgiving (Canadian) weekend of 2017. Here are some key points:
  • As others have mentioned the James Bay road itself is paved but has some bad sections.
  • There are legitimate gas stations along the way, especially Km381 (actual name of gas station) is a huge service station with food and gas.
  • The Trans-Taiga and Rte-du-Nord (I recommend you add this road to your list as well) have gas stations that aren't exactly standard hours of operation, we just brought some jerry cans instead.
  • TT and RdN are big, wide, gravel roads, you will likely see loaders operating here consistently to level the roads but at random locations. The holes can be huge, with sharp edges, and frequent, so keep a very keen eye out on where you place your wheels.
  • Don't follow close to any vehicles as that's a sure-fire way of getting a cracked windshield with the gravel.
  • Recommend not to drive at night.
  • There are plenty of locals living in the area, and you'll see the occasional house along the roads. Also quite a few turn-offs/secluded areas to camp overnight.
  • At the north tip of James Bay Road is a fork, east to Radisson, west to La Grande-1 hydro dam. Radisson is a proper town with gas and convenience stores, good to get gas here. And if you backtrack a bit and go west along JBR to La Grande-1, then cross the dam (you literally drive over the dam), you'll be on Long Point Road. Follow this all the way to James Bay shores.
  • Note, the locals tend to drive 130km/h+, so watch out for flying F150s with boat trailers, regardless of the road or weather conditions.
  • It's cold and wet up there in the fall, and we still had swarms upon swarms of midges, if you have a gazebo/annex with mesh, bring it.
  • Ensure to check out the pull-out points for the mighty rivers in the area, Rupert and La Grande, these views are breath-taking in how powerful and wide they are.
  • James Bay Road and everything around it is Cree territory and they speak Cree and English. A lot of the smaller towns with more native populations will be the same in the area, heavily English-speaking (instead of French).
  • South of JBR, the bigger towns like Royun-Noranda or Val-d'Or, will be heavily French-speaking territory fyi (you are in Quebec after all).
Have fun!