Your Guide To Northwest BC
The Stewart-Cassiar Highway
The Stewart-Cassiar Highway is a window into BC's true North. The 724-kilometre highway, which branches from Route 16 at Kitwanga via Highway 37 until it meets the BC-Yukon border, features more provincial and wilderness parks, glaciers, and wildlife than arguably does people, gas stations or services. (Don't worry, there are enough communities and amenities along this route to keep you fuelled and fed in between.) But if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, there’s no better route to explore.
At nearly 100 kilometres, Highway 113 is shorter in length to the region's other routes, but no less spectacular. As you head north from Terrace into Nisga'a Lands, also known as Nass Valley and home to the Nisga'a people, you'll bear witness to the ancient and energizing forces of this part of the Northwest. Otherworldly volcanic lava fields, the aquamarine K’alii-askim Lisims (Nass River), sacred and snow-capped mountains, sunlit alpine meadows, natural hot springs, and evidence of thousands of years of Nisga'a history and culture are all found within a few hours’ drive.
It's impossible to see everything along Route 16 in just a few days. This nearly 720-kilometre stretch of highway, linking Prince George to Prince Rupert, cuts through a vast wilderness area studded with rolling plains, glaciated valleys, soaring snow-capped peaks, thundering waterfalls, and the wild rivers of the Bulkley and Skeena before it meets the edge of the mighty Pacific Ocean.
When you visit Northwest BC, you can escape the crowds and experience nature, raw wilderness, peace and quiet. The region is known for its coastal mountain ranges, lakes and rivers, bears and glaciers. It is the kind of place you can relax and be yourself. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what kind of vehicle you drive. What matters is that you are up for an adventure.
An adventure in Northwest BC can be as simple as cruising the open highway or laying on a beach, soaking in the sun and the views of the many mountain ranges in the area. The more adventurous can take a multi-day trip hiking and hunting trips in the many wilderness areas or immerse yourself in the raw wonders of nature while fishing, camping, kayaking, mountain biking, snowboarding or skiing.
Small-town charm and unique cultural experiences are another reason visitors fall in love with this area. Almost every town has a farmers’ market, museum, or art gallery, and many eclectic shops and restaurants. The locals are incredibly friendly too – the person you ask for directions may just end up inviting you over to their house for dinner.
The region is also home to several First Nations. The totem poles and longhouses found throughout the region are also stunning, and some of the oldest in the province. In touring the Indigenous villages and visiting the cultural sites, visitors get an authentic glimpse into the history, culture, and present-day lives of the area’s original inhabitants.
The three major highways (16, 37 and 113) offer views of changing terrains and plentiful wildlife as you pass through the region.
The mountains and rivers give life to the northwest and give many natural adventure options. The Kitimat, Skeena and Nass rivers are nestled amongst the Coast Mountains and offer an immersive wilderness experience.
The wintertime in the northwest takes on a different personality from the warmer seasons. Each community offers different on-piste, backcountry, and cross-country skiing options, and snowmobiling.