North America > Canada > British Columbia > Northern British Columbia > North Coast-Nechako
- 1 Prince George — the largest city in the northern BC, and its business and government centre, but not one of its tourist centres
- 2 Fort St. James — one of British Columbia's oldest permanent European settlements and the site of a national historic site consisting of a reconstructed fur trading post
- 3 Smithers — a charming alpine town that is a good base for exploring the surrounding wilderness
- 4 Vanderhoof — a farming, ranching, forestry and mining community in the geographic centre of British Columbia
- 5 Kitimat — a town that was built in the 1950s to support an aluminum industry
- 6 New Hazelton — small village with a blend of wilderness scenery, ancient culture, and frontier history
- 7 Prince Rupert — a coastal city with ferry and rail links
- 8 Terrace — the regional retail and service hub for the northwestern portion of British Columbia
- 9 Atlin — a destination for fishing, hiking and heliskiing that is only accessible by vehicle if you first head up to the Yukon
- 10 Dease Lake — a wilderness and hunting destination on the Stewart–Cassiar Highway, an alternate route that connects to the Alaska Highway.
- 11 Stewart — a village on the Alaska border, opposite Hyder, AK, surrounded by breathtaking mountains, an emerald rainforest, clean fresh air and pure drinking water
- 1 Shames Mountain — a ski resort that is relatively unknown, despite the huge amounts of fresh powder it receives
- 2 Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park — a vast area of untouched wilderness
- 3 Stikine River Provincial Park — a linear park that follows the river; ideal for a week-long canoe and camping trip
- 4 Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park — a wilderness area and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province's far northwest corner
- 5 Williston Lake — the largest man-made lake in British Columbia
The most developed part of this region is along the Yellowhead Highway. Once you venture off the highway or along the coast, you will find vast expanses of untouched wilderness and very few people. This is an area where first-growth rainforest meets rugged snowcapped peaks, framed by labyrinthine ocean inlets that rival the fjords of Norway.
The climate is temperate near coastal regions, becoming colder as you travel east and north from the Pacific Ocean.
The official language is English, though you will hear indigenous dialects if you are in villages inhabited by the First Nations People.
The main highways into the North Coast-Nechako are Highways 16 and 97, where they intersect in Prince George.
- BC Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) connects the region with Alberta, where it continues east to Jasper and Edmonton.
- BC Highway 97 connects to the rest British Columbia to the south, it also heads northeast to Dawson Creek where it becomes the Alaska Highway and continues to the Yukon and Alaska.
- BC Highway 37 (Stewart–Cassiar Highway) an alternative route from Alaska, and splits from the Alaska Highway in the Yukon just west of Watson Lake. It joins the Yellowhead Highway in Kitwanga.
The Prince George Airport (YXS IATA) has flights from Air Canada and Westjet, which have regular direct service from Vancouver and connecting service to the rest of Canada. Prince Rupert has a small airport (YPR IATA) that serves domestic flights. Also Northwest Regional Airport (YXT IATA) in Terrace
Via Rail offers service from Jasper west to Prince George and Prince Rupert (the route is sometimes referred to by its old name, The Skeena). The train runs once a day, east and west, three times a week (Mon, Thur, Sat) and is more of a scenic excursion than a cost-effective means of transportation.
BC Ferries offers another way to enter the region by taking Inside Passage route from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert. The Alaska Marine Highway also provides a connection to Prince Rupert.
You will want to travel by car to cover the vast distances. Vehicle rentals are available in Prince Rupert and Prince George. Via Rail also provides passenger rail service from Prince George to Prince Rupert, though this is more of a scenic excursion than a cost-effective means of transportation.
The rugged beauty of the region is its main attraction.
- Totem poles can be found throughout the region. They are important cultural monuments for the region's First Nations peoples.
- Prince Rupert hosts sites that tell the history of BC's North Coast. The Museum of Northern British Columbia explores the 10,000-year history of the Haida, Tsimishian, Tlingit, and Nisga First Nations. The North Pacific Cannery, a National Historic Site, is the oldest, most completely preserved cannery remaining of two hundred-or-so that once dotted BC's North Coast. The Sunken Gardens in Prince Rupert are heritage gardens with a spectacular display of colourful, lush flowers, shrubs and trees.
- The Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site (near Terrace) encompasses approximately 5000 years of First Nations history and is a place of major significance to the Tsimshian people.
- The Salmon Glacier, near Stewart, is an impressive glacier viewpoint that is car-accessible, but access is only via Hyder, Alaska, so bring your passport. You can also view Bear Glacier from the highway near Stewart. Speaking of bears, there are bear watching opportunities around Stewart, especially during the salmon run.
Prince Rupert and Terrace are famous for fishing expeditions, mostly for salmon and halibut, with potential catches over a hundred pounds. There are many charter companies operating. Haida Gwaii also offers excellent sport fishing.
Hudson Bay Mountain near Smithers has first-class ski slopes.
Most towns have trails for hiking, horse-riding, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and/or snowmobiling, including the Fort Nelson Demonstration Forest, Twin Falls and Glacier Gulch Trails near Smithers, and Waterlily Lake Trails near Vanderhoof.
There are numerous provincial parks scattered through the region that offer opportunities for camping, fishing, more hiking, canoeing, wildlife and bird watching, and being along in the wilderness.
See Dangerous animals#Bears for information on safety in bear country.