Travelling the Trans-Labrador Highway

Labrador is referred to as The Big Land, and for good reason. This vast mainland portion of the province is a world of towering mountains, massive rock faces, and an infinite supply of lakes and rivers that stretch for miles. One of the last great wilderness areas on the planet, a trip to Labrador is an adventure and travellers need to plan ahead.

The Trans-Labrador Highway is over 1,100 kilometres in length (about 700 miles) and consists of two highways. Coming from the mainland Canada, Route 500 is fully paved and stretches from the Quebec border to Happy Valley-Goose Bay (530 kilometres). Route 510 heads east and then southwest along the coast. It is paved for the first 80 kilometres and from Lodge Bay Road to Blanc Sablon. The remainder is gravel.

There is no cellphone service along the Trans-Labrador Highway so drivers are encouraged to borrow a free satellite phone for a safe drive. Details and pick-up locations can be found here http://www.destinationlabrador.com/guide/files/travel_trade/free_satellite_phone_loan_program.pdf Also note that there are limited service stations along the highway, so you will need to ensure that you have gasoline as well as emergency roadside equipment.

You should confirm your plans with your car rental company in case there are any restrictions for travelling the highway. Many travellers visit Labrador coming from the island of Newfoundland, taking the Labrador Marine ferry at St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula. The ferry actually takes you to Blanc Sablon in Québec, just minutes from the Labrador border. You should plan this in advance as schedules can vary and there are time zone changes to consider. The western and northern parts of the Labrador region are on Atlantic Time (1 hour later than Eastern), while most communities on the southeast coast stick to Newfoundland Time (1½ hours later than Eastern). If you’re going through Blanc Sablon in Québec, either by plane or ferry, the community uses the Eastern Time Zone (along with the rest of the province of Québec).

A popular destination in Labrador is Battle Harbour National Historic Site. And no wonder, with its perfectly preserved history of a bygone era and promise of an escape from the modern world. Getting there involves arranging your schedule carefully to take the morning ferry from Mary’s Harbour.

Connect with the folks at Battle Harbour to start planning your two-night stay off the beaten path www.battleharbour.com/trip-planner.

Friendly Reminder: Make sure you book your car rental and accommodations in advance.