Route 138 – 1730 km (1075 mi.)
As you travel across the Côte-Nord region from Tadoussac to Kegaska, you will be riding along waters that are home to 13 species of whales. Meandering Route 138 will take you across rushing rivers and offers many stunning views. If you are looking for an unusual adventure, hop on a supply ship from Natashquan to Blanc-Sablon or head north on Route 389 for an unforgettable loop through Labrador, Newfoundland and the Maritimes.
Getting here – To Côte-Nord…
• From Montréal or Québec City: Highway 40 and Route 138, or Highway 20 and/or Route 132
and one of the four ferries that link the two shores of the St. Lawrence River
• From the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region: free ferry between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac
• From Newfoundland and Labrador: Route 510 to Blanc-Sablon or Route 389 to Baie-Comeau (from Labrador),
or Route 430 and the ferry in St. Barbe to Blanc-Sablon (from the island of Newfoundland)
Here is what not to miss along the way (heading east):
A world-famous vacation destination, Tadoussac is home to one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The area is also world-renowned as a whale-watching destination—these giants of the sea can even be observed from the shore.
What not to miss: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, whale-watching cruises, Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre, Chauvin Trading Post, Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre
Accredited as a village-relais (which means it offers a wide variety of services), this area offers many activities that will introduce you to the marine life of the St. Lawrence, in museums, along the shoreline and at sea.
What not to miss: Marine Environment Discovery Centre, whale-watching cruises, black bear watching
Baie-Comeau and Route 389
From Baie-Comeau, the road provides panoramic views of the St. Lawrence in several places. From here you can head north on Route 389, a safe but demanding road that will take you all the way to Labrador. Get ready for over 400 twists and turns!
What not to miss: Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes, St-Pancrace microbrewery, Manic-2 and Manic-5 dams
Located in a semi-circular bay bordered by long fine-sand beaches, Sept-Îles has a rich industrial and cultural history that you can discover in local museums and interpretation sites.
What not to miss: Sept-Îles Archipelago, Vieux-Poste de Sept-Îles (Old Trading Post)
Minganie: The end of the road!
This last leg of Route 138, which ends in Kegaska, offers unique and exceptional taiga scenery. Admire the monoliths in the Mingan Archipelago as well as the impressive Manitou Falls (35 m / 115 ft). Discover charming villages along the way, including Natashquan with its long beach.
What not to miss: Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Les Galets heritage site
Lower North Shore
Looking for a unique getaway? Board the Bella Desgagnés, a supply ship operated by Relais Nordik, and visit the remote English-speaking, French-speaking and Innu villages of the Lower North Shore. From Blanc-Sablon, you can return aboard the ship or, if you want to prolong your journey, set off to Labrador on Route 510 or take the ferry to St. Barbe, Newfoundland.
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MORE INFO: www.quebecbythesea.ca/Whale
Cruise & Ferry Services
Relais Nordik Inc. Sail on Bella Desgagnés- 1-800-463-0680
Sails to: Anticosti Island, Lower North Shore, Quebec; www.relaisnordik.com
Cross to the other side of the St. Lawrence, panoramic views traversiers.com
From Gaspésie to Côte-Nord: Matane • Baie-Comeau • Godbout, Quebec