Start in the coastal city of Prince Rupert. Tour the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village, built in 1889, and see the cannery, general store, and net-loft. Today, it remains the oldest, most intact fish cannery on the west coast of North America. View grizzly bears in their natural habitat on a guided tour to the Khutzeymateen, Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary. Stop at the historic district of Cow Bay to have lunch, then take an after-meal stroll along the waterfront. From Prince Rupert, drive east on Highway 16 to Terrace.
Near Terrace, visit the Kitselas Canyon historic site to see totem poles, petroglyph sites (weather permitting) and hike an interpretive trail that leads to a viewpoint overlooking the Skeena River. With luck view the rare white Kermode (Spirit) bear on a guided tour.
Terrace’s Skeena Valley Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday during the summer months; try any number of Northern BC food favorites such as Saskatoon berry pies or buffalo jerky.
From Terrace, drive east on Highway 113 to the Nass Valley. Take a moderate self-guided walking tour to the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park to see remnants of a volcanic eruption and overlook the crater.
Located at the end of the Highway 113 is Gingolx (Kincolith), the “Seafood Capital of the Nass”. In July, the community hosts a music festival called Crabfest, where fresh, local crab (among other seafood) is served.
Backtrack south to Highway 16. Overnight in Terrace. Drive east to Gitwangak (Kitwanga) – the junction to the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Gitanyow (Kitwancool) is located just past the turnoff and is home to many totem poles (some more than a century old), as well an 1893 St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Nearby, relive history on an interpretive walking trail that recounts the story of a battle in the 1700’s between a local First Nations tribe and their attackers at “Battle Hill” National Historic Site.
Optional: For a day trip from this area, continue east on Highway 16 to the Hazeltons and visit the world-renowned ‘Ksan Historical Village. Learn about Gitxsan history and culture, see traditional dances, and watch Aboriginal carvers at work.
From Meziadin Junction, take Highway 37A west to Stewart and Hyder, Alaska. Visit the Stewart Historical Museum, which is housed in a 1910 firehall, to learn about the town’s colourful mining past. Stroll along the boardwalk for spectacular views of the Portland Canal.
Walk 3km/1.8mi across the border to Hyder, Alaska to one of two saloons to get “Hyderized” – the world-famous Hyder tradition. Tour Salmon Glacier, North America’s fifth largest glacier, or watch grizzly and black bears fish for spawning salmon from the viewing platform at Fish Creek. Overnight in Stewart/Hyder.
Backtrack east to Meziadin Junction and follow Highway 37 north to Dease Lake. Fishing, hiking, boating and canoeing are all popular activities here. Visit in June to attend the annual Lake Trout Derby, which attracts many fishing enthusiasts. This region is known for its high concentration of jade; drive to the nearby Jade City to browse locally mined jade-based souvenirs. Overnight in Dease Lake.
From Dease Lake, adventurous drivers can take a side trip to Telegraph Creek. (Note: this gravel road is steep and narrow in places – not recommended for RVs or fifth-wheels.) See an original 1898 Hudson’s Bay Trading Post, take a guided tour through the volcanic wilderness of Mount Edziza, or go horseback riding in the remote Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park. Witness the remarkable “Grand Canyon of the Stikine.” This is Canada’s largest canyon – an 80km/50mi stretch of impassable waters located in canyons 300m/985ft deep. Take a guided jetboat tour of the lower Grand Canyon to experience the beauty of the river (reservations recommended).
Backtrack to Dease Lake then continue driving north to the Yukon border – the junction of Highway 37 and the Alaska Highway. Along the way, stop at Boya Lake Provincial Park to swim in the warm, aquamarine waters.
Optional: Drive northwest on the Alaska Highway through the Yukon to Alaska.