This crescent-shaped trail is a favourite for those who love long road trips through immense stretches of unspoiled wilderness. Starting in Baie-Comeau on Route 289, the drive is 1,700 km long and will take you at least 26 hours. it crosses Labrador from west to east on Routes 500 and 510 then continues down to the Lower North Shore. Once there, a scenic detour beckons: a 150-km trip along the Chicoutai* Scenic Route, from Blanc-Sablon to Vieux-Fort and back, to view the majestic waterways of the Gulf of St.Lawrence. (*Chicoutais, or cloudberries, are small flavourful, amber-coloured berries native to Quebec's North Shore.)
Once back to Blanc-sablon, you and your vehicule could travel by ship back to your starting point of Baie-Comeau. The M/V Bella-Desgagnés brings supplies to the Lower North Shore's coastal villages. From the ship's deck, you can watch some 500 km of scenic coastline glide and stroll through picturesque fishing villages that are only accessible by sea. All too soon, you'll be arriving in Kegaska, the first place where you can pick up Route 138 for a 650-km, 8-hour drive along the north shore of the St.Lawrence back to Baie-Comeau. The sailor's life is not for you? You can always take the ferry from Blanc-Sablon to Newfoundland.
Following this trial is like a Choose-Your-Own-adventure trip; you can stay on it for a few days, the whole summer or throughout the winter. The trail passes through boreal forest to taiga; it winds in and out of charming towns and villages where you can discover the lifestyle and culture of the francophone, anglophone and Aboriginal populations, as well as the Métis and Inuit communities. There are lakes, rivers and mountains, where you can hunt and fish, rough it in the wilderness, hike and kayak, and, at the end of the day, camp out under the northern lights. The curious can visit hydroelectric dams and open-pit mines. When winter comes, the North Shore is THE place to snowshoe and ski, or to go snowmobiling and dog sledding.