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North America > Canada > British Columbia > Northern British Columbia

Northern British Columbia

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Northern British Columbia is a vast region covering most of the northern half of the province of British Columbia in Canada.


Map of Northern British Columbia

Nechako-North Cariboo[edit]

  • 1 Prince George — the largest city in the north, and its business and government centre, but not one of its tourist centres
  • 2 Smithers — a charming alpine town that is a good base for exploring the surrounding wilderness
  • 3 Vanderhoof — a farming, ranching, forestry and mining community in the geographic centre of British Columbia

Peace Country and Northern Rockies[edit]

  • 4 Chetwynd — gateway to four provincial parks, two lakes, and several recreational trails, the downtown is adorned by dozens of chainsaw carvings
  • 5 Dawson Creek — mile zero on the Alaska Highway
  • 6 Fort St John — established in 1794, it's the oldest European-established settlement in present-day British Columbia
  • 7 Fort Nelson — a resources town (forestry, oil and gas), but tourism is becoming more important
  • 8 Tumbler Ridge — dinosaur tracks, waterfalls, rock formations, hiking and other year-round outdoor activities

Robson Valley[edit]

  • 9 McBride — acfarming community with excellent trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling , and hiking, and lots of opportunities for ice fishing, camping, fishing and bird watching
  • 10 Tete Jaune Cache — a good spot to see salmon spawning in August
  • 11 Valemount Valemount on Wikipedia — a world-class snowmobiling destination


  • 12 Atlin Atlin, British Columbia on Wikipedia — a destination for fishing, hiking and heliskiing that is only accessible by vehicle if you first head up to the Yukon

Other destinations[edit]


Northern British Columbia is a vast area, most of it undeveloped. Most settlements are along the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16) or the Peace River area. Much of the land is forested and mountainous, although the Peace River Country is flatter and an the upstream extension of the Peace River in neighbouring Alberta.

Get in[edit]

Driving will demand many hours at the wheel. In the summer months, expect at least 14 hours of driving from the border. In the winter months, you will need to bring a chain for the drive on the Alaska Highway and at least 16 hours of driving.

Flights from the Vancouver International Airport can be as low as $170. Be sure to check Air Canada's, Westjet's or Central Mountain Air's websites often and book well in advance.

Smithers Airport (YYD IATA), Dawson Creek Airport (YDQ IATA), Fort St. John Airport (YXJ IATA).


Pioneer Days in McBride in early June. A parade, heavy horse demonstrations, logger sports, ball games, horseshoe tournaments, sword fighting, and lots of things for kids to do all weekend. There is a century of vehicles and farm machinery at the show and shine, a quilt walk and lots of live music and food.

Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge has dinosaur exhibits and over 200 million years of biodiversity featuring marine life, plant life, dinosaurs.

The Fort Nelson Heritage Museum has a sprawling collection of antique cars and trucks, and exhibits about the building of the Alaska Highway.

Fort St. John's Centennial Park is filled with sculpture by festivals twice a year: the Great Canadian Welding Competition in August, and the High on Ice Winter Carnival's ice sculptures in January.

Dawson Creek celebrates its role as Mile Zero of the Alaska Hghway with murals spread through the town representing various aspects of the building of the Alaska Highway.


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, Waterlily Lake Trails near Vanderhoor, and the Beaver Falls Recreation Trail near McBride.

There at least half a dozen 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.

Stay safe[edit]

Northern British Columbia is sparsely populated. If you are driving, ensure that you have enough fuel in your car for your journey, a spare tire, and emergency equipment as it assistance may be far away and take a long time to get to you.

See Dangerous animals#Bears for information on safety in bear country.

Go next[edit]

If you've come this far, you really should continue further north to explore Yukon or Alaska.

This region travel guide to Northern British Columbia is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.