Trans-Labrador Highway

Trans-Labrador Highway, one of the world’s most epic and remote road trips

Located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the easternmost province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic region, the Trans-Labrador Highway (TLH) is the name of a very scenic drive. Most of the road features a well-packed asphalt/gravel surface. Along the route drivers will experience sharp curves, winding road, narrow bridges and steep grades. Drive with care, caution and control.

Can you drive through Labrador?

The Trans-Labrador Highway is the only through highway of any kind in Labrador. Most of the road is unpaved and should only be traveled in appropriate, well equipped vehicles. It was built in 1992, and many rental car contracts prohibit driving on the road. Violating it can be very expensive, especially in the event of a malfunction or accident.

How long is Trans Labrador Highway?

Labrador is a remote region of northeastern Canada, and the Trans-Labrador Highway is the primary road. Running between the Québec border (near Labrador City) to the Atlantic coast, the road is 1.246km (774.66 mi) long and features Route 500 and Route 510.

How long does it take to drive the Trans Labrador Highway?

Plan 22 hours to complete the drive without any stop. However, people plan a 5-8 days trip. The drive takes you through new territories of unspoiled pristine wilderness and remote villages. But keep in mind the drive includes many hazards. The road is narrow, has soft shoulders, high embankments, and steep hills. There are lengthy stretches of gravel surface with sharp rocks, potholes, washboard, and, depending on the weather, clouds of dust or slick mud. Watch out for dangerous curves and loose gravel, and please slow down in construction areas. The Trans Labrador Highway is mainly a gravel road, with paving and maintenance underway daily, so please drive carefully. The road might be totally paved by 2022. Slow down when you see large vehicles or transport trucks approaching as gravel may spray and crack a windshield. Please ensure you have emergency supplies and a spare tire on board as the gravel can be sharp. Animal collisions are a hazard; watch for large animals such as moose.

Is the Trans Labrador Highway remote?

Due its unique location and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. The remoteness of the Trans-Labrador Highway challenges drivers from around the world. There is no cell phone service. A severe winter storm can close long sections of road for a week or more. To survive this epic road trip be as capable of dealing with mechanical faults. The TLH runs through dense wilderness for most of its length with no roadside services between communities. Known as the loneliest road in the world, nothing beats the sense of freedom or captures the imagination quite like barrelling full throttle down a wide-open highway that stretches into the horizon to the rhythm of your favourite road trip music. It's a highway so empty you can drive for hours without seeing another soul. Some say it's the longest unpaved road in the world. It's definitely one of the loneliest. If you do have the opportunity to choose which vehicle to take onto the gravel road, a 4WD vehicle (4x4 SUV or 4x4 truck) with relatively high clearance may be advantageous for adverse weather and poor road conditions.

What is the best month to drive the Trans-Labrador Highway?

Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. Although the highway is maintained year-round, visitor services are reduced between September and May. Prepare for extreme weather in any season. Travelers attempting to drive the TLH in winter months should plan for unpredictable and extreme weather and road conditions. Summer temperatures can occasionally reach the high 80s F (27-30°C) In general, June and July are drier months, but rainy days occur throughout the summer. Winter weather can change quickly with large accumulations of snow, and dangerous icy conditions on the road. Slow down when you encounter snow-clearing equipment. Generally speaking, the warm months are mid-June through mid-September. Winters are long, there can be a lot of snow, and it can get very cold up there. Snow can happen in mid-September. Sometimes the ice doesn't go out of the lakes until mid June or even late June. Hordes of mosquitoes emerge in mid-June and last into August. Biting black flies last into September. Insects are worst on calm days and in low, wetland areas. The days are very long during May, June, July. So if you want to cover a lot of distance and yet not miss seeing any part of the road, those would be good months to travel up in this region (June 21 is the longest day of the year). By early September the days are noticeably shorter.
Pics: Jeff Adams

 

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