Trans-Labrador Highway

Central & Western Labrador

Quebec Hwy 389 Travel Guide

This is the highway that leads north from Baie Comeau to Labrador City
It is how you access the Trans-Labrador Hwy from the west


Km 0

Baie Comeau is where this road begins.  This is the last town until Fermont and Labrador City (585km from here). Stock up on food and gas, especially on gas since the price will rise a lot as you travel north (it's a remote area). In September 2004, the gas was $0.86/L in Baie-Comeau vs $1.04/L up north. The food was about the same price.
From here to Manic 5 (212km) the road is paved, but it is twisty, narrow, and very hilly, with no real shoulder.  No gas until the Manic 5 dam, 212km to the north.
There are lots of logging trucks along this section, and they really move when they are driving north empty.  They probably appreciate it if you find a good place to pull over and allow them to pass.  You'll also have a less stressful drive without them up your rear end.
If you are going to Manic-5, 215 kilometers away, a rush drive can take you there in 2 hours, but a normal drive will take 2 hours and a half since there is a lot of curves, and a smooth drive can take up to 3 hours. If you are going to Fermont, 565 kilometers away, a rush drive can take you there in 6 hours, a normal drive in 7 hours and a smooth drive in around 8 hours. If this is your first time and you are planning to take a lot of pictures and wander here and there to marvel at the scenery (which I strongly suggest you do), plan more than 8 hours for the trip. Don't forget that Labrador City is in the Maritime Provinces, thus 1 hour later than in Quebec and Ontario.

Km 22 Manic-2 Dam, visible from the road. A free guided tour of 1˝ hrs is offered during the summer and reservations are recommended. You will see how electricity is produced among other things. Great tour, but if you are short on time, I suggest you save it for the free guided tour of Manic-5 instead, and/or Churchill Falls. Hydro Quebec website (Manic 2)

Km 24

Manic-2 campground on the left side of the road. Great place. The camp sites are located past those of the trailers and are wooded. There is also a small lake on the north side where you can see Hwy 389 and swim. Water, electricity, showers and restaurant available. (418) 296-2810.

Km 52 Emergency phone
Km 95 Emergency phone, pension, gas station, restaurant
Km 126 50th Parallel.
Km 165 Emergency phone.
Transformer station. This is where the electricity goes up to 735-kV.
Km 214 Motel de l'Énergie. Just before you come to Manic-5 there is a motel and small restaurant where you can buy gas. Beware, the gas is not cheap...
Km 216 Manic-5 dam. Restrooms, souvenirs, but no picnic tables! Stop at the building on your left and register for the free guided tour of the dam (during the summer). It is well worth it! You will visit the installation, go inside the central arch and on top of the dam. Reservations are recommended.
Hydro Quebec website: Manic 5
There is gas available here; the last for 104km.
Also, the pavement ends here. You will be on gravel road for the next 916km to Goose Bay, except for the 90km stretch from Gagnon to Fire Lake, the 20km between Fermont and Labrador City, and the 1km through Churchill Falls.
Km 214 through
Km 390
For the next 176km, from Manic 5 north, the road is gravel.  As you can see from the photos it is a modern gravel road, with easy curves and hills for the most part.  However, you do have to watch out for the sections of deep and loose gravel.  If you don't drive carefully you can easily spin out of control and into the ditch.
Km 272 Emergency phone
Km 285 From about km280 on, the huge Manicougan Reservoir is visible from time to time in the distance to your left.  This is a large man-made lake created by the Manic-5 dam.
This may be a gravel road, but you can make pretty good speed now on the long straight stretches. You can easily drive at 100 km/h most of the time if you feel confident enough, but don't be overconfident since it may take a few hours if not days before someone sees your wrecked car in the ditch. By the way, the speed limit is 70 km/h all the way up to Labrador City.
Km 288 Be on the lookout for a private entry on your left. I suggest you drive down here and have a look at the Manicouagan Reservoir -- you won't have another chance to do it.
Km 317 Relais Gabriel. Gas, restaurant, motel. (418) 589-8348. It's your last chance to buy gas before Fermont, 250 kilometers north.
Km 300
Km 375
From about Km300 through Km375 the road passes through a region of moderate sized mountains.
Km 335 Nomade camp at the base of the Groulx Mountains. Trails going up the various mountains start here. Official website (in french only):
Km 336 Prospecteur outfitter, located at the base of the Mounts Groulx, right after Nomade camp.
Km 365 Beaupin River
Km 365 Emergency phone
Km 375 Hart Jaune River
Km 393 At km 391, you make a left turn and enter the ghost town of Gagnon, dismantled in 1985 after the mining company who owned it closed its door. For 2 kilometers before you actually reach the town site, you will see nothing but trees and wonder if you will see remnants of the town. And then you hit... paved road! A modern boulevard!
Good news: the road is paved for the next 90 kilometers! You can drive as fast as you want (no joke)!
Please note: There are no services whatsoever here.
Km 407 52nd parallel. The taiga, composed mainly of small black spruces, lichens and mosses, officially starts here. Broad-leaved trees will be very sparse and rare from now on.
Km 418 Emergency phone
Km 440 Casse River
Km 464 Emergency phone
Km 483 It's time to hit the brakes since the paved road ends here!
Up ahead are the remnants of the mine of Fire Lake: 2 massive silos are still standing. Everything else was taken down. Make a left turn here and get prepared for the worst part of highway 389: 67 kilometers of twisty road!
Km 495 Emergency phone.
First railroad crossing. Be careful when you cross the railroad. It may look deserted, but this is not the case! For quite a ways the road flirts with this railroad that ships out the ore from the Mount Wright iron mine, crossing and re-crossing the rails many times. You will have to cross it 9 times. Yes, 9 times! Be careful, as there are no crossing signals.
The next 80km of road are much narrower and it twists and turns all over the place. Take care along here. There's not much room if you meet a truck. There are many small lakes along here, with deserted sandy beaches. Very little traffic.
Km 511 Emergency phone.
Km 540 First view of Mount Wright visible from the road. All the mountain is literally being striped of its iron! You will circle it and can get a better view in a few kilometers.
Km 550 Mount Wright. Official Website of the Quebec Cartier Mining Company:
Km 555 North of Daigle Lake, around km 555, are the Severson Mountains. 7 trails are available. If you have a spare day ahead of you, you can hike from there to Fermont, 12 kilometers away.
Km 562 Junction with the road leading to Fermont, 2 kilometers west. Fermont is a company-owned town.  Gas is available here, along with the usual services.
When you leave Fermont on the way south, check carefully the information panel (shown on the picture), especially in the winter. If red lights are on, it means that the road ahead is closed between those red lights. During the summer, the road is always open. Don't forget to fill up your car before going south: there is no gas for the next 249 kilometers.
When in Fermont, you can go south a few meters along Daviault Lake and climb Mount Daviault. Three trails lead to the summit, ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 kilometers in length.
Km 570 Border of Quebec-Labrador. Congratulations, you've made it! This is the end of Quebec Hwy 389. From here on you are on the Trans-Labrador Highway.
Distances are now measured from the Labrador border.
Km 575/Km 5 Duley Lake Family Park. Great campground. Lot of open spaces and some black spruces. Sites available near Long Lake or along Walsh River. Restroom and shower. Very affordable. (709) 282-3660.
Km 585/Km 15 Welcome to Labrador City! You can't miss this panel just before you enter the town!
Free guided tours of the mines are available during the summer. Reservations should be made at the tourism booth (709) 944-7631. An airport services both towns. The Trans Labrador Highway opened in 1992 and connected with Churchill Falls and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Official Website for both towns:
Official Website of the Iron Ore Company of Canada:

On to the Trans-Labrador Hwy Guide...


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