Start your journey in the vibrant, modern city of Prince George. This outdoor playground has more than 120 parks and plenty of indoor attractions.
Visit the Central BC Railway & Forestry Museum, a fun industrial heritage attraction in a spacious park-like setting on the shores of the Nechako River. An hour east on Highway 16, you’ll find the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park, the only inland temperate rainforest in the world and home to western redcedars that are over 1,000 years old.
Forty kilometres north is the historic Huble Homestead, where you can travel back in time to the 1900s and learn about early prospectors, as well as the traditional practices of the Lheidli T’enneh people at the First Nations Fish Camp exhibit.
PG is also home to BC’s northernmost winery, Northern Lights Estate Winery, which offers tours and tastings with views of the river. Beer lovers will want to check out the aptly named CrossRoads Brewing as well as the popular Trench Brewing right in town.
In Chetwynd, stop and admire the famous chainsaw carvings lining the streets.
Plant lovers be sure to visit Memory Lane Greenhouse & Tea Gardens Bed & Breakfast. This charming garden setting is home to a 460-square-metre (nearly 5,000 square feet) greenhouse filled with perennials, shrubs, trees, and vegetables, including rare heirloom tomatoes, some of which date back hundreds of years. There’s also a two-hectare (five-acre) International Friendship Garden filled with thousands of native plant and flower species from 19 different countries.
Other options include lakeside cabins at Azouzetta Lake Lodge and Moberly Lake Marina and Resort, (which also offers boat rentals). Moberly Lake is home to northern pike, lake trout, and ling cod. Azouzetta, Gwillim, Jackfish, and Moose lakes are also popular fishing spots. If fly-fishing is your thing, wet a line on any of the nearby rivers, like the Burnt or Sukunka.
From here travel to Hudson’s Hope—known as the “Land of the Dinosaurs”—and peruse the dinosaur fossil and footprint collection at the Hudson’s Hope Museum.
Overnight in Dawson Creek—”Mile 0″ of the historic Alaska Highway—and visit the Dawson Creek Visitor Centre, Art Gallery, and Railway Station Museum, which is housed in a renovated grain elevator annex. History buffs must check out the Walter Wright Pioneer Village, conveniently located next to the Mile 0 RV Park. Continue north on Highway 97 to Fort St. John.
Just outside of Fort St. John, stop at the picturesque 13-km/8-mi long Charlie Lake, known for its fishing opportunities. Angle for trout, Arctic grayling, walleye and northern pike. Further north, stop to photograph the rich hues of Pink Mountain at sunrise.
The famous Kiskatinaw Bridge on the Old Alaska Highway near Fort St. John. Northern BC Tourism/Andrew Strain[/caption]
Be sure to check out the North Peace Cultural Centre Gallery and The Indigenous Artist Market before continuing your journey. Continuing north, pass Sikanni Chief Falls, located in an ecological reserve. View the 30-metre falls from a scenic vantage point or take a hike through the park.
Next stop, Fort Nelson. The gateway to the Northern Rockies is a friendly town initially founded during the fur trade. Don’t miss the superb Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, which showcases the construction era of the Alaska Highway. If traveling by RV, head to Triple G Hideaway for full-service hookups, gift shop, and cafe. Another great place for lunch is Down to Earth café, which has become a hot spot for visitors and locals alike.
Fort Nelson Heritage Museum | Andrew Strain
As you head north, look for Stone’s sheep, bison, and other wildlife. Camp at Stone Mountain Provincial Park or Muncho Lake Provincial Park; these beautiful jade green lakes are nestled in a valley surrounded by folded mountains and brilliant wildflowers. For the full lodge experience, with float plane tours, canoe and boat rentals, full service RV hook-ups, and exquisite dining, don’t miss Northern Rockies Lodge.
Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake Provincial Park / Andrew Strain
Stop at the famous sign post forest in Watson Lake, Yukon. More than 67,900 license plates, road shields, and homemade signs are mounted here. Make your mark, then head south on scenic Stewart-Cassiar (Highway 37) to swim in Tā Ch’ilā Provincial Park’s crystal clear waters.
Take a side trip to the ghost town of Cassiar, then head south to Jade City before making your way to Dease Lake.
From the town of Dease Lake, head south down Highway 37 and paddle the Iskut Lake Chain. Be sure to make the trip to Cascade Falls.
Stay at Red Goat Lodge on the shores of Eddontenajon Lake, where you’ll find cozy cabins and canoe rentals. From Tattoga Lake, fly with Alpine Lakes Air into into the Spatsizi Wilderness Plateau, or tour the geologically unique Mount Edziza.
Detour an hour west at Meziadin Junction on Highway 37A to the rustic town of Stewart, on the BC/Alaska border. Along the way, you’ll pass Bear Glacier—one of the few roadside blue glaciers in the world.
Visit the Stewart Historical Museum, which is housed in a 1910 fire hall, to learn about the town’s colourful mining past. Stroll along the boardwalk for spectacular views of the Portland Canal, or stay the night at the renowned Ripley Creek Inn and borrow free cruiser bikes to explore town.
Don’t forget to visit Toastworks, a museum dedicated to—you guessed it—toasters. (It also happens to serve some of the best coffee and breakfast in town.) Before heading out, be sure to pick up a gooey cinnamon bun at Temptations Bakery and Deli.
From Stewart, travel south and relive history on an interpretive walking trail at at Battle Hill National Historic Site at the junction to the Stewart-Cassiar Highway and Highway 16.
Drive an hour east on Highway 16 to the Hazeltons and visit the renowned ‘Ksan Historical Village. Learn about Gitxsan history and culture, see traditional totem carvers at work, and stroll the shore where the Bulkley and Skeena rivers meet. Continue south to Smithers.
Near Smithers, stop alongside the highway to view the raging rapids of Moricetown Canyon. Further along the highway, venture near the thunder of cascading Twin Falls, which are fed by the Hudson Bay Mountain glaciers. Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park features one of the world’s most significant fossil beds. Explore the plant, animal, and insect species that inhabited the area 50 million years ago and remain preserved in the shale formations.
Northeast of Smithers are the rugged peaks and abundant wildlife of Babine Mountains Provincial Park. (At the time of publication, only the day-use services and facilities were open.)
South on Highway 35 is Burns Lake, the gateway to the Lakes District with more than 300 wilderness fishing lakes, and world class mountain bike trails. Further east, near Vanderhoof, take a detour north to Fort St. James National Historic Site to learn about the fascinating history of Canada’s fur trade.
Fort St. James was established by explorer Simon Fraser in 1806 for the North West Company, and the site was dubbed “the Siberia of the Fur Trade” because of its harsh winters. Today, Fort St. James National Historic Site is reconstructed to the year 1896, and it includes a recreated Hudson’s Bay trading post. Original log buildings have been restored to form the largest grouping of wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada.
Fort St. James is also the gateway to excellent fishing on numerous lakes, including Stuart Lake. An hour’s drive along a gravel road, you’ll find exceptional canoeing on the Nation Lakes Chain, a 5-to-10 day, 120-kilometre (75-mile) route on four wilderness lakes.
To complete the circle route, return to Prince George via Highway 16 east.
Last updated: August 8, 2022
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