Northern British Columbia is a vast region covering most of the northern half of the province of British Columbia.
|Haida Gwaii |
An archipelago of more than 150 islands. Two of them are quite large. It was called the Queen Charlotte Islands until the name was changed in 2010.
|North Coast-Nechako |
Untouched wilderness and indigenous culture. The North Coast is famous for fishing while the interior has untouched mountains, forests and wilderness; anchored by Prince George and Prince Rupert.
|Peace Country and Northern Rockies |
The start of the Alaska Highway, a mix of sparsely-populated boreal forest and agricultural region of any size in North America; anchored by Dawson Creek and Fort St John.
- 1 Prince George — the largest city in the northern BC, and its business and government centre, but not one of its tourist centres
- 2 Daajing Giids-Skidegate — neighbouring villages on Haida Gwaii, with Daajing Giids (formerly named Queen Charlotte) being the main service centre and Skidegate being the ferry connection to the mainland.
- 3 Dawson Creek — Mile zero on the Alaska Highway, it has a number of murals that depict aspects of building the Alaska Highway
- 4 Fort Nelson — A resources town (forestry, oil and gas) and last "major" centre before the Yukon
- 5 Fort St. John — Established in 1794, it's the oldest European-established settlement in present-day British Columbia and the largest town in the region
- 6 Kitimat — a town that was built in the 1950s to support an aluminum industry
- 7 Prince Rupert — a coastal city with ferry and rail links
- 8 Smithers — a charming alpine town that is a good base for exploring the surrounding wilderness
- 9 Terrace — the regional retail and service hub for the northwestern portion of British Columbia
- 1 Chilkoot Trail − a historic first nations and Klondike Gold Rush trail between Alaska and British Columbia operated by the United States' and Canada's national park agencies
- 2 Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve − Gwaii Haanas protects an archipelago of 138 islands, the largest being Moresby Island and the southernmost being Kunghit Island.
- 3 Muncho Lake Provincial Park — Hiking, fishing, camping and some pretty scenery in the Northern Rockies, and close to Laird River Hot Springs.
- 4 Naikoon Provincial Park − a wilderness area with a lush rainforest and sandy beaches, and historic Haida villages.
- 5 Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park — a wilderness area and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province's far northwest corner.
Northern British Columbia is a vast area, most of it undeveloped. Most settlements are along the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 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.
- Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) connects the region with the Alberta Rockies, enabling travel west from Edmonton via Jasper.
- Highway 37 (Stewart-Cassiar Highway) connects the region with the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake, Yukon.
- Highway 97 connects the region with rest of British Columbia from the south. The portion of the highway north of Dawson Creek is known as the Alaska Highway, connecting Alaska via the Yukon to the area.
- Highway 43 (in Alberta) / Highway 2 (in British Columbia) connects the region with Alberta Peace Country, enabling travel from west of Edmonton via Grande Prairie.
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.
Airports within this region with scheduled commercial flights
- Dawson Creek (YDQ IATA) in the Peace Country area
- Fort St. John (North Peace Regional Airport - YXJ IATA) in the Peace Country area
- Fort Nelson (Northern Rockies Regional Airport - YYE IATA) - in the Northern Rockies area
- Masset (ZMT IATA) on Haida Gwaii
- Prince George Airport (YXS IATA) in the Nechako area. This is the busiest airport in the region.
- Prince Rupert has a small airport (YPR IATA) in the North Coast area
- Sandspit (YZP IATA) on Haida Gwaii
- Terrace has Northwest Regional Airport (YXT IATA) in the North Coast area
Most of the airports listed above have direct flights from Vancouver International Airport.
- Ebus, toll-free: . Bus service three days per week per direction between Kamloops and Prince George with stops in Savona, Cache Creek, Clinton, 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Hixon.
- BC Bus North, ☏ . Provides twice per week bus service between Prince George and Valemount with a stops in McBride and Tete Jaune Cache.
- Cold Shot, ☏ , email@example.com. Bus service from Monday to Friday between Fort St. John and Grande Prairie with stops in Dawson Creek, Hythe, and Beaverlodge. Also offers bus service between Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
- VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: . Operates a route between Jasper and Prince Rupert with stops in McBride, Prince George, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, New Hazelton, Kitwanga, and Terrace. The train travels during the daytime, taking two days in each direction. There is an overnight stop in Prince George, where passengers will need to book sleeping accommodations. The route is sometimes referred to by its old name, The Skeena. The train makes three departures per direction per week and is more of a scenic excursion than a cost-effective means of transportation.
- White Pass and Yukon Route, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Operates out of Skagway, Alaska, and stops in Northern British Columbia on its way to Carcross, Yukon. Service operates from May to early October. The train is the means of getting to the Canadian trailhead of the Chilkoot Trail located in Bennett City, British Columbia.
- 1 Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) (Alaska Ferry), 2000 Park Ave, Prince Rupert, ☏ (main number), (Prince Rupert Terminal), toll-free: . Connects Prince Rupert to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake, Sitka, Juneau, Haines, Skagway in the southeast panhandle of Alaska. They also have a separate sailing to and from Bellingham to southeast Alaska.
- BC Ferries, toll-free: . Operates ferries connecting coastal communities. Operates a vehicle ferry route that enters the region by taking the Inside Passage route from Port Hardy in North Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert via Bella Bella and/or Klemtu.
- BC Ferries, toll-free: . Operates ferries around coastal British Columbia. Routes within Northern British Columbia include:
- Inland Ferries. Operated under contract for British Columbia's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, inland ferries are vehicle ferries that connect roads across rivers and lakes. Routes operate throughout the year, but some river ferries may not operate during parts of the Spring due to river conditions. Free. Ferries in this region:
- 2 Francois Lake Ferry. Daily first departures: 5:30 AM / 5:55 AM (Southside / Northside); Daily last departures: 10:30 PM / 11:00 PM (Southside / Northside). The ferry is located at Francois Lake, which is about 26 km south of the village of Burns Lake. 15 minutes crossing. Departures from a given side of the lake are every 50-60 minutes.
- 3 Usk Reaction Ferry. Daily 6:45 AM - 10AM, 11:00 AM - 2:45 PM, 3:15 PM - 7:00 pm, and 8:00 PM - 11:15 PM. Located just north of Highway 16, about 16 km east of Terrace. Crosses the Skeena River between South and North Usk. 5 to 7 minutes crossing. Operates on demand.
- BC Bus North, ☏ . Provides twice per week bus service on the following routes within Northern British Columbia:.
- Between Prince George and Fort St. John with stops in Mackenzie, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Taylor. There is also a weekly trip between Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson including a stop in Fort St. John, allowing passengers to travel between Prince George and Fort Nelson over two consecutive days.
- Between Prince George and Prince Rupert with stops in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, New Hazelton, Kitwanga, and Terrace, and Port Edward.
By public transit
- BC Transit operates bus routes within communities such as Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, and Terrace. Bus services also connect cities several days per week between the following communities:
Northern British Columbia has plenty of wilderness with natural features and wildlife, as well as numerous historical destinations. Totem poles can be found in the western portions of the region and are important cultural monuments for the region's Indigenous peoples.
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.
Most towns have trails for hiking, horse-riding, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and/or snowmobiling.
There are plenty of freshwater and saltwater sport fishing opportunities throughout the region.
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.