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Nass Valley and Lava Beds

Traditional canoeing, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park

(Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC photo)

Transportation & Maps

Nass Valley and Lava Beds

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1 day, 146.00 km (90.72 mi)

Totems at the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park (Dannielle Hayes/Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC photo)
Totems at the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park (Dannielle Hayes/Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC photo)

A unique scenic drive and day trip is north of Terrace to the 18,000-hectare Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. The park, which is part of the Nisga'a First Nations Nass Valley, was the site of a volcanic eruption 270 years ago.

The still bare landscape resembles the moon surrounded by mountains. The area is covered in grey and black lava, which is in turn covered with a strange sea green moss and new spurts of vegetation. The eruption destroyed two First Nations villages and killed thousands of people.

The route ends at the Nisga'a Museum in Laxgalts'ap (Greenville).

Select one of the parts to view its details:

All Parts
Kermode Bear, Picture BC photo
Part 1
Terrace to the Nass Valley

96.53 km - about 1 hours 17 min

To get to the Nass Valley from Terrace, head west on Highway 16 and turn right onto the Nisga'a Highway. Along the one-hour drive, view mountain peaks, rivers and lakes. Stop to photograph Vetter falls, a small waterfall at the end of a short trail clearly marked on the left side of the road, three quarters of the way on the journey.

In the summer, bears are a common sight along this route. It's possible to 20 or more bears in one day, grazing the side of the highway, searching for berries. The most commonly seen animals are black bears, but people have also seen the rare and unique white Kermode bears too. Foxes are also around.

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park, JF Bergeron photo
Part 2
Nass Valley and Nisga'a First Nations Villages

3.44 km - about 0 hours 5 min

Once in the Nass Valley, take time to explore the lava beds in Anhluut'ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga'asanskwhl Nisga'a Provincial Park on foot as well as visit one or all of the four small but interesting Nisga'a First Nations villages in the area: Canyon City, New Aiyansh, Greenville and Kincolith.

The Nisga'a Commercial Group and a couple local tour guiding outfits offer tours of the Nass Valley, including a hiking tour to the origin of the eruption, a mushroom/herb/botanical tour and a fish wheel tour. Guides are local Nisga'a who live in the area. Tours leave and end in Terrace. The Nisga'a Visitor Centre in the park also offers summer tours.

Dancing robe, headdress and Raven rattle on display at Nisga'a Museum, photo copyright Nisga’a Lisims Government
Part 3
Nisga'a Museum at Laxgalts'ap

46.03 km - about 0 hours 58 min

Continue west through the Nass Valley to Laxgalts'ap (Greenville) to see the Nisga'a Museum. The museum is home to hundreds of cultural artifacts that help to tell the history and traditions of the Nisga'a, People of the Nass River. See naxnok (spirit) masks, items used by Nisga'a shamans, traditional regalia, and much more.

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Driving Directions

Part 1 - Terrace to the Nass Valley - 96.53 km - about 1 hours 17 min
1.

Head west on Keith Ave/Yellowhead Hwy W/BC-16 W toward Cramer StContinue to follow Yellowhead Hwy W/BC-16 W

0.87 km
2.

Turn right onto Sande St/Yellowhead Hwy W/BC-16 W (signs for Trans Canada Highway/Yellowhead Highway W/Prince Rupert/City Centre)Continue to follow Yellowhead Hwy W/BC-16 W

2.05 km
3.

Turn right onto Kalum Lake Rd/Nisga'a Hwy/British Columbia 113 (signs for BC-113/Nisga'a Highway/Northwest Community College)Destination will be on the right

3.87 km
4.

Head northwest on Kalum Lake Dr/Nisga'a Hwy/British Columbia 113 toward Ted Hamer RdContinue to follow Nisga'a Hwy/British Columbia 113Destination will be on the right

89.74 km
1.

Head northwest on Nisga'a Hwy/British Columbia 113

1.01 km
2.

Take the 1st left

0.34 km
3.

Take the 1st left

0.66 km
4.

Slight rightDestination will be on the right

1.43 km
Part 3 - Nisga'a Museum at Laxgalts'ap - 46.03 km - about 0 hours 58 min
1.

Head north

2.00 km
2.

Turn left

1.96 km
3.

Turn left onto Nass Rd

42.03 km
4.

Turn left onto Church StDestination will be on the right

0.04 km