Northern BC in the Summer – Wild and Beautiful
Summers in Northern British Columbia are like no others. Northern BC spans a massive area, encompassing some of the most remote places in Canada. It’s littered with high mountain creeks, massive glaciers, rugged mountains and lakes and some of the healthiest ecosystems in the world. It’s a great place for a summer trip so if you’re itching to pack up and hit the road, head north, there’s lots to see.
For those contemplating the northern reaches of our province, the road really begins in Prince George. PG is the gateway to Northern BC and from there the only direction to head is up the Yellowhead Highway to BC Highway 37. Otherwise known as the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, Highway 37 meanders its way through a breathtaking landscape through the heart of the Coast and Skeena Mountains to the Yukon and Alaska.
On the way are myriad towns and outposts, all teeming with activities to suit every fancy. One of the first stops is Smithers. A small town, Smithers has seen a renaissance of sorts over the last few years, with outdoor enthusiasts moving in droves because of the limitless skiing, biking, fishing and adventure opportunities in the mountains surrounding the town.
Further afield is Stewart, BC. Once a bustling mining town, Stewart is now mostly known for it’s cozy atmosphere, it’s proximity to Hyder, Alaska (you can walk across the border from Stewart to Hyder) and some of the most spectacular mountains and glaciers in North America. One of these is the Salmon Glacier up near the old Grand Duc Mine Site. It’s a massive tongue of ice and snow, snaking its way down to the Pacific Ocean and the Portland Canal, one of the longest fjords in the world.
Back on Highway 37, you’ll come across, in one of the longer stretches with only mountains and wildlife to keep you company, Bell 2 Lodge. The home of our heliski operation during the winter months, Bell 2 Lodge is one of the last outposts before getting to the Yukon. In the summer, Bell 2 transforms to a luxury outpost for fishing, camping and enjoying the outdoors or just stopping over for a little civilized comfort on your way to Alaska. The lodge is fully equipped with chalets, RV and camp sites and has all the comforts our winter clients have come to love. Bell 2 is a great base for biking, fishing and hiking in the summer and is also one of the last places to get fuel for a pretty long way.
Further north, the options are endless. Highway 37 snakes its way up to Dease Lake and finally, into the Yukon to join the Alaska Highway. All along the route, there are provincial parks, spots to pitch a tent and limitless options for seeing and experiencing the wilderness of the north. If you do venture all the way to Alaska, make your way to Haines Junction in the Yukon and Kluane National Park. Along with Tatchenshini-Alsek Park in British Columbia, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, this massive tract of land form the largest internationally protected region in the world. This is big country, with some of the highest peaks in North America. Not to be missed.
Northern BC in the summer is one of my favorite places to travel. Its wild and rugged feel, coupled with its long and storied history give it a humble vibe. Friendly people and cool little towns like Stewart and Atlin make Northern BC one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Be safe, and enjoy the summer.