To begin the tour, turn off Highway 16 closer to Terrace and drive north on Highway 37. Spend a couple hours exploring the communities of Gitwangak, Kitwanga, and Gitanyow. Various totem poles in the area are worth viewing. In addition, the Gitwangak National Historic Site (also known as Battle Hill) is worth stopping for. Read the information panels at the site to learn about the impressive fort and battles that were once led and fought from this spot by the fierce warrior ‘Nekt.
To visit Stewart, BC or Hyder, Alaska, continue north along Highway 37 for another three hours or so. There is excellent bear watching and glacier viewing in this area.
Return to Highway 16 and head south towards New Hazelton. The drive from Kitwanga to New Hazelton takes about an hour, without stops.
Midway between Kitwanga and New Hazelton is the Gitxsan Village of Gitsegukla. Nearby, stop at Seeley Lake Provincial Park for a swim during the summer. For curiosity’s sake, one can also turn off to explore the small rural community of South Hazelton.
Just before reaching New Hazelton, turn north at the Visitor Centre on Highway 16 towards Hazelton Village, also known as Old Town or Old Hazelton. Drive to the end of Hagwilget and get out at the pullout just before the bridge to soak in the views of the surrounding mountains, the swirling Bulkley River and the canyon below. Walk across the bridge, once the highest in Canada, and look down to experience its full dizzying height.
From here, drive a few more minutes until hitting Hazelton Village at the end of the road. Park and stroll along the Bulkley River, dine at the Riverboat Restaurant, or grab a coffee at Mercedes Beans. Take a tour at the ‘Ksan Museum and Historical Village to gain a full understanding of the rich culture and history of the local Gitxsan First Nations. Just the museum itself can take an entire day to fully experience.
Another not to miss area is the Kispiox Valley. Spend a night at one of the bed and breakfasts to relax and enjoy the area’s serenity and wilderness luxuries.
To reach the valley, drive north along the Kispiox Valley Road (which begins between Gitanmaax and Old Town) towards Glen Vowell and Kispiox Village. Stop at the Kispiox Information and Cultural Centre in the village for more information about what to see in the valley, such as viewing totem poles, fishing or rafting on the river, or exploring the many hiking trails.
Last updated: May 20, 2020