Trip Ideas

Outdoor Adventures in Northern BC

Northern BC takes outdoor adventure to a whole new level. Try everything from a guided interpretive hike over a lava bed to mixing yoga and wildlife spotting at the Elisi Spa & Wilderness Resort. Other options? Rafting the legendary Tatshenshini-Alsek River, kayaking to ancient village sites on Haida Gwaii, or going 12 rounds with a wild steelhead on the Skeena River.


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  1. Stewart
  2. Prince George
  3. Tatshenshini-Alsek River
  4. Prince Rupert
  5. Haida Gwaii
  6. Dawson Creek
  7. Muskwa River

Prince George and the Yellowhead Highway

Prince George. Photo Credit: Northern British Columbia Tourism

Prince George, known as BC’s northern capital, is a great base for exploring the wild. Fish for salmon in one of the many lakes around the area, hop aboard BC’s history at the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum, or meet some 2,000 year olds on Highway 16: the nearby Ancient Forest is home to some of the oldest trees on earth. More adventure? Explore the surrounding wilderness by jet boat with River Jet Boat Safaris or, if you’re an experienced spelunker, check out the caves at Evanoff Provincial Park.

Follow the Yellowhead Highway to Smithers, a small town with stunning views and a plethora of outdoor opportunities. Join the locals for coffee and made-from-scratch European-style pastries at Schimmels Fine Pastries. Once fuelled up, explore mountain lakes and sub-alpine meadows in Babine Mountains Provincial Park– watch for mountain goats, moose, marmots and birdlife.

Drive beneath the jagged peaks of the Seven Sisters Mountains to Terrace. From here, fish for Skeena River salmon, hike mountain trails (often with more wildlife than people), bike the single-track at Thornhill Mountain, or hike across a moonscape of hardened lava at Nisga’a Provincial Park. The park, about 100 km/60 mi north of Terrace, is the site of a volcanic eruption which dramatically altered the landscape 250 years ago.

All three northern towns have plenty of overnight options. Try the Sandman Inn in Prince George, Smithers or Terrace, or the Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers.

The Salmon and Bear Glaciers

Salmon Glacier. Photo Credit: JF Bergeron

Feel like you’re on the edge of the world at the Bear and Salmon glaciers. From Terrace, head north along remote Highway 37 and 37A (sometimes referred to as the Glacier Highway) to the tiny town of Stewart. En route, stop at Bear Glacier Provincial Park to see the vast blue Bear Glacier. From Stewart, step across the border to Hyder, Alaska to see the massive Salmon Glacier.

Tatshenshini-Alsek River Rafting

For a truly epic adventure, fly north for an amazing rafting journey and wildlife-viewing experience along the Tatshenshini-Alsek River in BC’s remote northwest. Flowing past hundreds of glaciers and some of North America’s highest peaks, this river system is on many rafters' must-do list. Canadian River Expeditions and Nahanni River Adventures run multi-day river expeditions from Whitehorse, Yukon.

Prince Rupert

Highway 16 meets the sea at friendly Prince Rupert. Kayak to surrounding fjords, fish for legendary salmon, or travel north to quench your grizzly bear curiosity from a safe distance at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Enjoy harbour views from the Crest Hotel and try the global fare at the tiny waterside Cow Bay Café.

Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. Photo Credit: JF Bergeron

From Prince Rupert, journey by ferry or floatplane to the remote islands of Haida Gwaii. The islands have been called the “Canadian Galapagos” because they support species of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world.
Kayak among the islands and abandoned village sites of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site on the southern part of the archipelago. Visitor numbers are limited to protect this fragile area, so visitors need to travel with a licensed tour operator (Parks Canada has a list) or obtain a permit and attend an orientation session.

At Naikoon Provincial Park on the islands’ northeast coast, trek for hours along the almost 100-km/60-mi stretch of broad beach.

Alaska Highway

Monkman Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Albert Normandin

Before embarking along the storied Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to the Yukon border, consider a detour south to explore hiking trails and hunt for waterfalls in Monkman Provincial Park.

And don’t miss a stop at Mile “0” in Dawson Creek to uncover the hidden history of the Alaska Highway. Exhibits at the Alaska Highway House reveal the fascinating backstory to this massive engineering feat.

North of Dawson Creek, find adventure and solitude at Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, 6.4 million ha/16 million ac of wilderness so rich in wildlife it’s been dubbed the “Serengeti of the North”. As you drive past forests, wetlands and snowy peaks, watch for black bears, Stone’s sheep, bison and mountain goats.

Heading north, take time to fish for northern pike in Charlie Lake near Fort St. John, or drop a line for trout, Arctic grayling or whitefish at jade green Muncho Lake. Enjoy sweeping views of the Rockies from the Summit Peak trail in Stone Mountain Provincial Park, then unwind in nature’s hot tub at Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. These natural hot springs create a micro-climate so warm and moist that orchids bloom around the spring-fed pool.

Elisi Spa & Wilderness Resort

Combine wilderness with luxury at the Elisi Spa & Wilderness Resort, a fly-in lodge on the Muskwa River. The resort offers yoga classes and massages, along with the chance to explore the wilderness by foot, horseback or jet boat. There’s even a wilderness photo safari to snap moose, elk and bears.

Northern BC Transportation

Take a ferry ride turned wildlife cruise on the Inside Passage. Sail on BC Ferries’ Northern Adventure from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and chances are you’ll spot seals, eagles, dolphins and even whales en route. You can then continue by ferry to Haida Gwaii, or follow the Yellowhead Highway east. In a hurry? Prince George is about an hour by air from Vancouver.