The Bulkley and Skeena River Valleys extend from Smithers through the Hazelton Mountains to Prince Rupert via Highway 16, including the Bulkley and Skeena Rivers, Kitimat, Terrace, the Kitlope Heritage Conservancy, and Gitnadoix River Provincial Recreation Area.
There are many things this area isn’t. It’s not home to a major city such as Vancouver or even Prince George; it’s not a hugely popular tourist destination such as the near-mythical Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) or the cozy Okanagan Valley area; and it doesn’t contain vast tracts of uncharted wilderness such as the north does. Therefore, it’s easy to overlook or underappreciate what, on closer inspection, is an adventurer’s playground. Accessible by paved road, ferry, and plane, this region is filled with both unique wilderness experiences and the ‘standard’ British Columbia fare of deep fjords, dramatic canyons, sheer mountains, rivers thick with salmon, old-growth forests, and an abundance of wildlife.
Nestled up under the Alaska Panhandle, this is the province’s northernmost coast. It’s home to the Skeena, the second-largest river in British Columbia. Over five million salmon return to the Skeena every year, making this a premier salmon-fishing area. Prince Rupert, with its highway, rail, air, and ferry connections, serves as a gateway to pristine wilderness. Stop and stay awhile on your way through – there’s room to relax and to play in this region so rich in Native and pioneer history. And since this area includes the world’s largest intact coastal rain forest – Kitlope Heritage Conservancy – bring your rain gear, just in case!
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Circle Tours: See the best of Northern BC on one of the Circle Tours that capture the wonders of the north. The Circle Tour of Northern British Columbia incorporates the Alaska Highway through the Rocky Mountain foothills to Watson Lake in the Yukon, linking with the Stewart/Cassiar Highway and Yellowhead Highway 16 in the south. The Inside Passage Circle Tour and the Native Heritage Circle Tour follow the same route, from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island north by ferry to Prince Rupert. Catch another ferry to the Queen Charlotte Islands, or venture east on the Yellowhead Highway to Prince George, and south through the peaceful Cariboo to Vancouver along the historic Cariboo Wagon Road.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.
Location: The Bulkley Valley and Skeena River Valley are located between Prince George and the west coast of northern British Columbia. Highway 16 links Smithers with Prince George to the southeast. Highway 37 (Stewart-Cassiar Hwy) links Highway 16 with points north on the way to Yukon from Kitwanga, and Highway 37 links Highway 16 with Kitimat, 35 miles (58 km) to the south from Terrace. Highway 16 runs north and west from Smithers to Prince Rupert, a distance of about 220 miles (355 km).
For ferry access to Prince Rupert, visit our Transportation section. There’s a regularly scheduled airline service to Prince Rupert, Terrace, and Smithers from southern British Columbia. For information on passenger rail service between Smithers and Prince Rupert, contact Via Rail, 1-800-561-8630.