There’s nothing but you and the open road
on the Trans-Labrador Highway (the Highway), one of the most remote roadways in the world. At times desolate, at times challenging, you’ll never get closer to “owning the road” than on one of the world’s last great wilderness throughways. Beginning at Labrador’s southeastern border with Quebec, the Highway runs for more than 1,050 kilometers (653 miles) along Labrador’s majestic coastline and across its unspoiled interior, with no billboards, rest stops, or other vestiges of modern civilization to spoil your sense of disconnectedness. Even with the majority of it now paved, the Highway remains North America’s truest adventure on four (or more) wheels.
A counterclockwise journey (the most common) begins with taking a ferry across the Strait of Belle Isle – otherwise known as “Iceberg Alley” – from St. Barbe in Newfoundland to Blanc-Sablon in Quebec (see our tips page for more on getting to remote Labrador). While there are several ways to make the trip, the drive naturally sorts into three legs.
Starting in Blanc-Sablon, the first leg of the Highway stretches from the Quebec-Labrador border to Port Hope Simpson. Running in a generally northward direction along the coast before veering inland, visitors may split this 218km/135mi stretch into multiple days in order to take in the sites on Labrador’s southeast coast. Highlights in the region include the Point Amour Lighthouse Historic Site – the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada – and the charming Battle Harbour National Historic District. See our complementary experiences page for why we think both are well worth visiting.
Continuing west, the second leg runs from Port Hope Simpson for 405km/252mi to Happy Valley – Goose Bay. This leg contains the longest stretch without roadside services, with no fuel (or anything else) in-between the two towns. Happy Valley – Goose Bay is also the departure point for the Labrador Coastal Ferry, which sails Labrador’s rugged northern coast and stops at a half-dozen First Nations towns along the way (again, see our complementary experiences page for more).
Finally, the third leg winds its way through western Labrador, past Churchill Falls, and to Labrador City. As with the first, visitors may split this leg into multiple days should they choose to overnight in Churchill Falls (an option, but not a necessity). From Labrador City drivers must either continue on to Quebec Route 389 (once more, see our complementary experiences page), or reverse and return along the same route.
In addition to details on each of the three legs of the journey, as well as on experiences in Labrador that we think nicely complement driving the Highway, we also have a page full of learned-from-experience tips for making a safe and successful drive.
If you are excited about driving the Highway but are less keen on researching, planning, and booking all of your logistics, or if you want to discuss customizing the experience in some fashion, please contact us about our trip planning service.