Go West! ... then north.
May 20, 2010 3:14 PM   Subscribe

What should I see and do on a roadtrip to northern BC?

I was supposed to be working in Kitimat this summer but plans have changed and I will likely be much further south. Still, I was excited to go to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) and maybe over the border into Alaska.

Anyway, I am thinking that I may take a week or two and go on a road trip. I would be leaving from Vancouver, BC and would want to head generally north.

I have a gussied up honda civic so I can't do much (any) off road stuff. I do have a tent.

posted by ouchitburns to Travel & Transportation around British Columbia (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's a big province with a lot to see and not sure of your interests. These all consider that you have a pavement car:

Consider going up the Sea to Sky via Pemberton to Lilloooet -- sort of a back road to the interior. The new aboriginal themed kiosks along the sea to sky are worth stopping at, as is the Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre.

if you go Hwy 1, then just past Spuzzum stop at Alexandria Bridge Provincial Park, and walk down across the RR to the 1912 suspension bridge which you can walk across. 5x the thrills of Hells Gate but free. At China Bar Tunnel and other places if you carefully find a pull-out you can walk on the old 1963 highway that was cantilevered out from the cliff where the tunnels now go through. Be careful of the traffic. There are no signs or nothing, this is local knowledge.

There are a number of small "reaction ferries" across the Fraser still - google for them, they are offbeat and worth checking out.

If you have never been to Barkerville and are interested in the Gold Rush it is good if you have nothing much else to do - its a detour! Google to make sure it is open, so to speak.

The Yellowhead from Kamloops to Valemont is a beautiful drive and then you can drive the trench from Valemont through McBride to Prince George -- beautiful. Or get up into the Rockies and drive Banff to Jasper. If you like scenery. At Valemont it is only an hour or so to Jasper.

Hwy 16 from PG -- well starting about Burns Lake -- to Prince Rupert is beautiful. Stop at Hagwilget Canyon and check out the bridge. The Smithers area is beautiful and not too remote.

This is an interesting website

If by Northern BC you mean southern BC, there is no finer drive in the province than ca. Lumby to Kaslo on Hwy 6, east of Vernon. Also swing back and take the Arrow Lake ferry at galena Bay and head up to Revelstoke. At Revelstoke, tour the dam.

If you get to Kitimat, make sure you tour the smelter if they are doing that. Very very cool.

North of Prince George the distances get exponentially bigger and the sights get fewer. If you like big country and long roads with little traffic, that's a good thing.
posted by Rumple at 5:19 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for that!

For the future I am thinking north of Pemberton and, say, west of Kamloops.

That said, I am open to awesome suggestions anywhere in BC. I want to road trip and explore. I just had my heart set on a road trip up to Kitimat so I was hoping to do it anyway, regardless of job.
posted by ouchitburns at 5:46 PM on May 20, 2010

Nthing the fraser canyon, it's easily my most favorite drive in BC.
posted by felspar at 7:43 PM on May 20, 2010

3 years ago my husband, a friend and I drove from Van up to Dawson City. It was THE MOST AMAZING ROAD TRIP I have ever been on. (And I've driven all over the states and Canada.) We took the Alaska Highway, and the MOST AMAZING part that I refer to is if I remember correctly the drive up from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake. Somewhere in that stretch, up towards the Yukon border but just before it, we saw the most amazing array of wildlife I can even imagine.

Caribou, moose, lots of deer, and a HERD OF BISON GOING TO SLEEP by the side of the road. Also, amazing mountains and lakes.

Not to mention Liard River Hot Springs right up near the border.

I can't recommend this drive enough!!! Also, the Yukon is awesome.
posted by beccyjoe at 9:50 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

According to a guy my husband once knew, everything is better in Kitimat -- the trees are taller, the rain is wetter, the mountains are more mountainy.
posted by jb at 6:49 AM on May 21, 2010

Response by poster: more mountainy! those are my kind of mountains.
posted by ouchitburns at 9:04 AM on May 21, 2010

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