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

Regions[edit]

Northern British Columbia travel regions and main destinations — switch to interactive map
Northern British Columbia travel regions and main destinations
  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.

Cities[edit]

  • 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

Other destinations[edit]

Understand[edit]

Near Terrace

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.

Get in[edit]

By car[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.

By plane[edit]

Airports within this region with scheduled commercial flights[edit]

Most of the airports listed above have direct flights from Vancouver International Airport.

By bus[edit]

By train[edit]

  • VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: +1-888-842-7245. 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, +1-800-343-7373, . 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.

By boat[edit]

Get around[edit]

By boat[edit]

  • BC Ferries, toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries around coastal British Columbia. Routes within Northern British Columbia include:
    • Vehicle ferry between the Prince Rupert on the mainland and Graham Island (Skidegate) on Haida Gwaii (7 to 8 hours crossing).
    • Vehicle ferry within Haida Gwaii between Graham Island (Skidegate) and Moresby Island (Alliford Bay) near Sandspit (20 minutes crossing)..
  • 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.

By bus[edit]

By public transit[edit]

See[edit]

SG̱ang Gwaay Llnaagay in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida Gwaii

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.

Do[edit]

Samuel Glacier, Tatshenshini-Alsek Park

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.

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.