Northern BC

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Northern British Columbia stretches from awesome Mount Robson and the plains of Alberta in the east, across the Rocky Mountain Foothills to the Coast Mountain range in the west and the Queen Charlotte Islands. In the area’s rivers and streams lie record sized salmon and steelhead and abundant rainbow trout, char, Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, and more.

Northern British Columbia is famous for its wildlife and is the only area in the world where you will find the stone ram. And with a little luck you may have a sighting of the extremely rare "white" black bear, the Kermodei, found in the Skeena Valley near Terrace. Grizzlies, moose, black bear, caribou, wolves, elk and hundreds of other species roam the wilderness. Hire a guide and take some photos of a lifetime.

During the year, hundreds of species of birds, from hummingbirds to eagles and trumpeter swans, inhabit the region. The Queen Charlottes, a haven for fishing, hiking, clam digging and photography, will provide you with sightings of grey whales, peregrine falcons and bald eagles.  Take a trail ride into the wilds and see vast forests, abundant wildflowers and fantastic scenery. And don’t forget the magnificent Northern Lights, shimmering and dancing in the sky.

Across the southern portion of Northern British Columbia stretches the Trans Canada/Yellowhead Highway 16, a highway that promises an adventure filled journey, meeting with the mystical Queen Charlotte Islands, or connecting to the Yukon or Alaska.

Legends and myths are alive in the moody and secluded beauty of the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii. Accessible by ferry or plane, the Islands have some of the most spectacular and isolated scenery in the province. Jagged mountains and fjords rise from the sea and are shrouded by Pacific mists and ancient mysteries. Traditional home to the Haida nation, the Queen Charlottes, also known as Haida Gwaii hold some of the province's most vibrant and rich aboriginal culture. In Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site old village sites and age-old cedar totems stand silently, looking out to sea. In the towns around the island, native artisans display crafts and carvings made from cedar, silver and argillite. The Haida Gwaii museum provides visitors with a remarkable orientation to the Haida culture.

Travel to the city of Prince George and take a step back in time by visiting the Fraser Fort George Regional Museum. In Prince Rupert, explore 5,000 years of coastal history at the Museum of Northern British Columbia and don’t miss the North Pacific Cannery, near Port Edward.

Visit Heritage Village in Vanderhoof, then on to Fort St. James National Historic Park. Follow the lives of some of the early prospectors in museums at Burns Lake, Atlin and Stewart, and see works of local artists and artisans. Some of the best are housed in Hazelton’s Northwest National Exhibition Centre.

Travel the scenic Stewart Cassiar Highway. Take a boat tour in Stewart on a fjord that borders Alaska.

On your journey from Terrace to Kitimat, stop off and enjoy Lakelse Lake. In Kitimat take a tour of the Alcan smelter, Ocelot’s world scale methanol plant and the salmon hatchery.

The Alaska Highway (Highway 97) was built in only nine months by Canada and the United States during the Second World War. The 2,400 km (1,440 mi) road winds through wild, dramatic terrain. Start at Mile 0 in Dawson Creek and stop at one of the many high points along the way.

There’s fantastic wilderness scenery - all the way to Alaska. At Hudson’s Hope on Hwy 20 you can see an 11,600 year old mammoth tusk, and prehistoric stone tools and artifacts dating back some 10,000 years. Fur traders were here in 1778, but it was the 18th century explorer Alexander Mackenzie who established the first real bases. The Hudson Bay Company opened its first trading post at Hudson’s Hope in 1805.

Gold was found in the Peace River in 1861 and Dawson Creek was on the edge of the huge Klondike Gold Rush Trail in 1898. Today, you can trace the history of these settlers in museums at Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd, Mackenzie, Pouce Coupe, Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.

At Laird River Hot springs Provincial Park, north of the 56th parallel, is a tropical oasis that the Indians called Paradise Valley. The water in the natural pool is 43° C. The flowers are jungle blooms - monkey flower, ostrich fern, lobelia and orchid.  Taking Hwy 20 south from Chetwynd you find yourself in one of Canada's newest towns, Tumbler Ridge, a coal mining community. Hikers, anglers and canoeists enjoy the lakes and rivers in the area. Visit Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park - higher than Niagara.

Don’t miss one of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects - the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. See the world’s largest tree crusher in Mackenzie and visit Dawson Creek’s “Grain Elevator” Art Gallery.

Northern British Columbia is the land of great totem poles. North of Kitwanga, in a village named Kitwancool, you can find many totem poles over 100 years old. More century old totems can be found at the nearby Gitwanga Reserve. In Ksan Village, six longhouses decorated with carved poles and painted fronts are a living museum to the long lived Gitksan culture.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then a camping trip in Northern British Columbia will excite and delight you.

British Columbia