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Aurores boréales © M.Dupuis

Eeyou Istchee Baie-James

Feel your mind and soul open in Eeyou Istchee–Baie-James, one of the world’s most pristine lands. Its countless rivers and lakes are teeming with fish, and its reputation is built on the spellbinding natural phenomena, wildlife and wilderness you’ll find there. A part of the population is Cree, a First Nation that lives in harmony with nature.

Location and access

The region can be accessed by road via the Route de la Baie-James, which links Matagami (800 km north of Montréal) with Radisson, 620 km further north. The highway branches off into two unpaved roads, one of which (the Route du Nord) leads to Chibougamau, the other (Route Transtaïga) to Caniapiscau. Whapmagoostui, poised on the very boundary of Cree and Inuit lands, is accessible only by plane.

Brook trout © Hooke
The Route du Nord (North Road) © M. Dupuis
Tepee under the northern lights © M. Dupuis
Peau de castor au camp culturel cri Nuuhchimi Wiinuu © Enviro Foto
Le mont Cummings © Enviro Foto

Experience indigenous culture first-hand

The Cree culture is vibrant, rich and unique. The people of the territory’s nine Aboriginal communities invite you discover and share their ways of life.

Whether you choose to sleep in a traditional abode, such as a tepee, or try your artistic hand by carving a wooden paddle or making a pair of hide moccasins, you’ll find a way to experience this authentic culture in a harmonious manner that shows a deep respect for nature. The stories and legends told by the elders reveal a wellspring of historical facts that make for memorable evenings spent around the fire.

Due to COVID-19, Cree communities remain closed to non-residents until further notice.

Wachiya means “welcome” in Cree. A still-thriving language among its people, Cree is notable for its distinct syllabics, which can be seen on the stop signs in the region’s communities.

The great outdoors, true-North style!

Listen closely, open your eyes and take a deep breath. You are about to enter a majestic land.

Eeyou Istchee Baie-James inspires wonder, and we invite you to return to the source and discover what Nordic life is. The region’s immense lakes, untamed rivers, northern lights, forests as far as the eye can see and diverse wildlife are a testament to its outstanding uniqueness and authentic quality.

By canoe, kayak, bike, motorcycle, ATV or simply your two feet, any way is a great way to explore the vastness of this land and dive deep into nature at its purest. Clear your mind and fall under the spell of the true North!

The region is located between the 49th and 55th parallel and has an approximate surface area of 350,000 km2 (135,135 sq. mi.), roughly the size of Germany!

World-class fishing

Combine a hydrographic network of thousands of lakes and rivers with but a few anglers here and there, and you have the perfect formula for an unequalled calibre of sport fishing.

This region is renowned for an abundance of some of the most sought‑after varieties (walleye, northern pike, brook trout and lake trout), which can reach mammoth proportions. Add to this world-class outfitters offering comfort, personalized service and experienced guides who know all the area’s hidden secrets, and you’ve got yourself a dream vacation! Because, here, there’s no such thing as an ordinary fishing trip.

Here, you’ll enjoy nothing short of an unforgettable northern adventure!

Lac Mistassini is the largest freshwater lake in Québec, at 2,335 km2 (900 sq. mi.). The manmade Réservoir de Caniapiscau is itself over 4,300 km2 (1,660 sq. mi.) in size. These two bodies of water are among the most prolific fishing destinations!

The caribou: King of the North!

Each year, the Rivière aux Feuilles caribou herd embarks on its annual migration to winter in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James. It’s a spectacular natural phenomenon in which a herd of over 400,000 head crosses the plains and frozen reservoirs in search of lichen to restore its strength.

The feeling of awe that comes with seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of caribou at once is simply indescribable. It is impossible to be unmoved by this creature.

The caribou is among the animals with the greatest endurance. In fact, it can travel up to 6,000 km (around 3,730 mi.) in its annual migration!