48

I am wondering about the road(s) where the traveller must travel the furthest to meet some (sort of) civilization, e.g. a place where they could get some food or help or some fuel, electricity, etc.

My googling (mostly) failed - and I only found a few candidates:

But there are sure more. What are some others?

I would like to make a list of top-10 longest uninhabited (dangerous, hardest) roads for an (electric or normal) bicycle tour. (To be even more precise, for a (solo or small group) bicycle/tricycle expedition-like tour without any support/following vehicles and like.)

The dangerousroads.org site could be a nice source, but unfortunately, has a terrible (read none, any :( ) search interface.

49

There are some very remote roads in northern Quebec.

The James Bay Road (Route de la Baie James) is one option.

Located in northeastern Canada, in the province of Quebec, the James Bay Road runs north from its beginning at Matagami to Radisson, 620 km (388 miles) away. It is a very remote road - there are no towns along the road (except at either end), and only one place to buy gas in between (at km 381).

Source: Wildwood Canada

...It is paved for its entire length. This road was originally built to carry loads of 300 tons, so the road has mostly gentle curves and hills and wide shoulders. However, there are sections which are very bumpy, and even if you drive at the posted speed limit of 100 km/h, you could wreck your car on some of these bumps if you don't slow down. Some of the worst bumps have no bump sign! You may encounter logging trucks during the first 200 km or so, but they're not much of a problem as the road is paved. The James Bay Road is open year-round.

There is only one gas station for the entire length of 620km, at Km 381. There are no other facilities whatsoever for the entire length of the road. You need to check in at Km 6. Radisson has most services, but remember that it is still a small town, of only about 300 people.

Source: Wildwood Canada

The Trans-Taiga Road is another, which is accessible from the northern part of the James Bay Road(!):

This is an extremely remote road, leading 666 km east almost to Labrador, with no settlements or towns aside from Hydro Quebec's settlements for workers (these are private and are not open to the public - they will kick you out).

At the far end you will be 745 km from the nearest town! This is the farthest you can get from a town on a road anywhere in North America!

This second road is a gravel road - in theory you could probably do it with a bicycle, but in reality, you probably wouldn't want to attempt it without a ton of supplies and a means to call for help.

Source: Wildwood Canada

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    ... and even here is som cycling info: jamesbayroad.com/travel/motorcycle.html – jm666 Apr 25 '18 at 14:43
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    " even if you drive at the posted speed limit of (...), you could wreck your car on some of these bumps if you don't slow down" it's a general advice when driving in East Europe ;) – Rg7x gW6a cQ3g Apr 26 '18 at 7:22
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    Looking at pictures of the trans-taiga route you wouldn't want a mountain bike: too heavy, too slow, not good at carying stuff (a lot of stuff), too much to go wrong. A tourer with suitable tyres would handle it much better. This video is a timelapse I shot on my tourer with 35mm road tyres. The gravel roads start around 21s in; after about 35s I was pushing the limits of what I could ride on that bike (partly because I didn't know how far I was going to drop into the freezing water). This was unladen, but much rougher than Québec gravel roads – Chris H Apr 27 '18 at 15:40
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    ...and here's a write-up of riding the TTR (on a tourer with flat bars) – Chris H Apr 27 '18 at 15:50
26

A good contender should be Russian Р-297 Amur, from Chita to the Svobodnyi fork. It's 1400 km of road accompanied by Transsib, but it is barely inhabited and barely traversable. Maybe it got better in the last years, but it should be a worthy competitor for Brazilian rainforest roads all year around.

There are derelict settlements here and there, still you will never know where the next one will be and what sort of civilization will it feature.

  • 6
    @gerrit I think it's not uncommon to drive towards a village only to find that it is uninhabited since 1970s. – alamar Apr 25 '18 at 14:09
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    What kinds of people live in uninhabited areas? – Robert Columbia Apr 25 '18 at 14:29
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    @gerrit you can prove your point by providing that information. If you will, you will convince me. If you will not, I will believe what I believe now. – Mołot Apr 25 '18 at 18:23
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    @gerrit you didn't show that data. So for me you are proving that your statement about it being available is false. Don't bother replying with anything other than info about population along this road - I won't read it and it will not help to improve this answer. – Mołot Apr 25 '18 at 18:36
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    I'm not a native speaker, but I was fairly sure that "you will never know" roughly means "hard to guess outright" in English, and not "this information doesn't exist and can never be figured out" – alamar Apr 26 '18 at 8:58
14

There are some roads in northern Saskatchewan that would be in the same league as well. SK 905 from Sucker River to Points North Landing, SK is 433 km of gravel with no towns en route, although there is a small camp with an outfitter along the way where you could probably get fuel if you had an emergency (it isn't for general sale to the public though). No cellular coverage - satellite phone required.

13

On questions where all answers are nearly equally good it is hard to pick the "winner" for the "accept". So, I'm accepting the most upvoted answer.

Also, as I promised, here is a compiled list (from the answers) plus some other roads from other sources. For most roads I googled some links, included some citation from the source (as italic) and/or added some comments.

This answer is converted to community wiki answer, which on the one side means that me gaining no reputation from the upvotes and on the another side everyone is welcomed to edit this answer. So, please, extend and improve it :).

Roads

  • Australia

  • Brazil

  • Canada

    • James Bay Road and the Trans-Taiga Road - the "winners" :)
    • Saskatchewan Highway 905 also The highway is approximately 456 km (283 mi) long. ... Highway 905 is entirely unpaved. Points North Landing is about 200 km south of Stony Rapids and marks where the road used to end. Points North Landing serves as a permanent camp providing services for the many exploration companies searching for uranium in the area.
    • Trans-Labrador Highway - as the page shows, here are many "help points" on the road in +-100km range
    • Road to Kwadacha - There are some campsites along the road, relatively dense traffic and the road has constantly monitored radio-channel, so getting help not so hard
  • USA

    • Dalton Highway Even if the wiki said: Anyone embarking on a journey on the Dalton is encouraged to bring survival gear it also said Despite its remoteness, the Dalton Highway carries a good amount of truck traffic - so, it isn't as "bad" at all...
  • Russia

  • Argentina

    • National Route 40 (ruta 40) - ... the most remote part of its route. 124 kilometres (77 mi) south of Perito Moreno is the junction with a side road to Cueva de las Manos, and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) farther is the tiny settlement of Bajo Caracoles (population 100) This doesn't sounds very scary - but yes 124Km is enough far...

Technically not roads (at least not at full length)

  • Australia

    • Canning Stock Route - In 2005 Jakub Postrzygacz became the first person to traverse the entire track without either support or the use of food drops, travelling alone by bicycle for 33 days. With large tyres and a single-wheel trailer, he carried all his food with him and replenished his water at wells.
  • Afghanistan

    • Wakhan corridor - Life is hard there. The eastern reach of Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, and yak dung is the only source of fuel available during the brutal winters
  • Mongolia

    • Great Gobi A Strictly Protected Area - There are some "roads" and "routes" thru the desert and even if you can get help from nomads and also from many tours crossing the desert, but still - it isn't best to get lost.

From the answers not included to the list:

  • Russian Р-297 - there are more villages near the highway (even if the highway not crossing them directly, they're in close range on older roads)

  • UK - North Coast 500 - even if the route is spectacular, here there isn't any danger :)

12

National Route 40 (Argentina)

It's 5.194 km long, it's highest point is at 5.000 m and the lowest at sea level

I don't know exactly the longest uninhabited sections, but traveling south from Perito Moreno National Park you must travel 235 km of uninhabited road until you can find a very small town of 100 inhabitants.


RN 40 highlited in red

9

To reach the community of Kwadacha/Ware, British Columbia, Canada, one must drive nearly 450 km. Although that's not a huge distance, it's all on poorly maintained logging roads. Openstreetmap reckons it takes more than 18 hours to drive, Google Maps is a bit more optimistic at 14–15 hours. I remember reading a blog/website by a local, who says he does it in 10 hours. If "longest" is measured by driving time, it's certainly a contender for the most remote road that actually ends somewhere inhabited.

8

Happy Valley-Goose Bay, or Labrador City. Two years ago I planned a drive (by car -- still crazy) for a team of people from Montreal, Canada to Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Canada). There is a barren stretch of over 400 kilometers (250 miles), but I think there is a settlement midway at Churchill Falls (sorry!). You go an additional 300 miles to Labrador City on a road that is 2/3 gravel and 1/3 pavement. There is a road, but it's packed gravel (which IMHO could still be done by bike). You are advised to bring a satellite radio because there is no cell phone reception. We were unable to go, but our plan included bringing our own spare tires.

  • Yeesh, another Canadian road. Looks like that Canada is full of such roads. :) – jm666 Apr 26 '18 at 13:15
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    @jm666 Canada is the second-largest country in the world, and also about the 15th-least populated one. Add to this the fact that about 80% of the people live within a 150km radius from the US border, and 95% south of the 55° parallel (a bit north of Edmonton, Alberta), and you can see why there is so much uninhabited space. It’s basically an area almost the size of Australia with a total of about 1.5 million people, most of whom live close to coastal areas. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 27 '18 at 11:41
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Canada has more like 36 million people, and is about the 38th most populous country in the world. It is about the 15th-least densely populated country though. – ajd Apr 28 '18 at 22:25
  • @ajd You’re right—I missed out the word densely. I went with Wikipedia’s numbers which said 35 million, but somewhere around that. The 1.75 million I noted above is the 5% of those 35 million who live north of the 55° parallel. (Just noticed I also missed out the 7 in 1.75. Good day for typing, yesterday!) The size of Australia (about 7.7 million km2) was my ballpark estimation of the part of Canada’s ~9.98 million km2 that lies above the 55° parallel; probably too big, but reasonably comparable. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 29 '18 at 6:45
6

How about Fairbanks to Prudhoe bay including all 666km of the Dalton Highway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Highway

It doesn't quite qualify as "uninhabited" as it has three towns along the way, but the TOTAL combined permanent population of all three towns is only 57.

5

The U.K. can’t compete with countries like Canada, Russia etc in terms of scale, however the North Coast 500 - a 500 mile route around the north coast of Scotland - has been named one of the top coastal routes in the world and is probably the most challenging route the U.K. has to offer cyclists. http://www.northcoast500.com/home/about-the-route.aspx

  • 11
    This is not an answer to the question. I doubt there's even a 50 km uninhabited stretch along that route. – gerrit Apr 25 '18 at 18:28
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    @gerrit I’m aware of that, which is why I said the U.K. can’t compete with larger countries, but the question specifically mentions cyclists and this route is acknowledged as an endurance cycling challenge bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-36301060 So worth a mention - the OP can decide if it makes his final list – Traveller Apr 25 '18 at 18:38
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    Of course, if you ride a bicycle for 500 miles / 800 km in one go that's a severe endurance cycling challenge, but that's equally true if the race is from London to Manchester and back or in the backcountry of Argentina :) – gerrit Apr 26 '18 at 1:31
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    The question is specifically about uninhabited. The cycling is just context. Since you don't even believe this to be an answer ("can't complete with..."), I don't see how this could possibly answer the question. Remember that Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum, specifically not a "list"-forum. An answer should be focused, and answer the actual question. – pipe Apr 26 '18 at 8:01
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    I'm told the North Coast 500 is best avoided in high season as it's particularly popular with people driving campervans too large for the roads. – Separatrix Apr 26 '18 at 15:03

protected by JonathanReez Apr 26 '18 at 14:17

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