The home of the World’s Largest Fly Rod. That’s Houston in the Bulkley Valley of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Where the Welcome is Warm and the Wilderness beckons.
Located at the confluence of the Bulkley River and Morice River, the community of Houston was established in the early 1900s as the tie-cutting centre for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and was incorporated as a village in 1957.
Following a 1910 newspaper contest for a suitable name, Houston was named after John Houston of Alton, Ontario, the first newspaperman in Prince Rupert (Prince Rupert Empire) and the first mayor of Nelson in the Kootenays (1897 to 1905), where he was editor of the Tribune.
Today, Houston is a forestry, mining and tourism town, with the tourism industry largely focused on eco tourism. The location of Houston approximately midway between Prince Rupert and Prince George, makes it a key supply and service centre for the area.
The fishing is par excellence in the extensive system of lakes and rivers that surround Houston, which can rightfully claim itself to be the Steelhead Capital of Canada.
Location: Houston is ideally located between Prince Rupert and Prince George on Yellowhead Highway 16, 192 miles (307 km) west of Prince George, 51 miles (82 km) west of Burns Lake, 40 miles (64 km) east of Smithers, and 260 miles (416 km) east of Prince Rupert.
The World’s Largest Fly Rod was the brainchild of local resident and avid fly fisherman, Warner Jarvis, and was installed on May 5, 1990. The 60 foot long rod is constructed entirely of aluminium and is anodized bronze to simulate graphite. At 800 lbs, with a reel diameter of 36 inches, the rod was machined in six local machine shops, with material and labour contributed by 41 local companies. Fund-raising for the project involved selling shares of the rod, which conferred ownership of one centimetre of the rod to the shareholder. The shares are still available at the Houston Visitor Centre, which displays the rod in Steelhead Park.
Murals: Look for the murals which adorn the walls of Houstons downtown core, depicting local outdoor recreation and the history of the area.
Walking Trails around Houston include the trail to the Bulkley River/Buck Creek Junction through untouched woodlands, Alexandra Park’s trail along buck Creek, the Old Pines Trail around Silverthorne Lake, and the trail that encircles the small man-made Irrigation Lake.
Hiking: Hike the wonderful trails around Houston, to the summit of China Nose Mountain, home to mountain goats, black bears, and bald eagles, or challenge the strenuous hike up Nadina Mountain, one of the many mountains surrounding Owens Lake.
Fishing: Fish for salmon and steelhead on the world famous Morice and Bulkley Rivers. Local anglers are the best source of day-to-day information on where the fish are biting, and can usually be ambushed having coffee at the A & W Restaurant early in the morning. The Houston Centre produces a pamphlet outlining more than two dozen steelhead fishing spots in the area, including Morice Lake and Collins Lake.
The Houston/Granisle Circle Tour starts at Houston and follows Highway 16 west to Telkwa, where you turn off the main highway onto the back roads to Granisle, on beautiful Babine Lake, before winding your way back to Houston. There are breathtaking views of the Telkwa Range, Tyhee Lake, and Hudson Bay Mountain, with many places to stop and take pictures. Travellers can go for a swim or relax at one of the beaches, picnic areas and rest areas, including one on the Bulkley River. Maps and directions of the circle tour are available from the Visitor Centre.
Francois Lake Circle Tour is a loop tour starting in Houston. Turn off Highway 16 on to the Morice River FSR (to the sawmills). Follow the road along the Morice River, passing Owen Lake and enjoying beautiful views at Nadina Mountain. Turn left at kilometre 53 onto the Owen East FSR. At the junction, follow Colleymount Road along the north shore of Francois Lake through Colleymount to Northbank. Turn left onto Highway 35 to Burns Lake, from where you travel west on Highway 16 to return to Houston, or east toward Prince George. The Francois Lake Circle Tour time is approximately 3-1/2 hours. Stay overnight in a cabin, or camp or park your RV at one of many recreation sites along the route: Aspen Rec Site, Owen Flats Rec Sites (2), Owen Lake Rec Site, West Francois Rec Site, Noralee West Rec site, Colleymount Rec Site, and McLure Pit Rec site. Francois Lake is gorgeous, with a wonderful view of the mountains of Tweedsmuir Park.
Golf: Houston offers the choice of two golf courses; Houston Golf Course and the public 9-hole Willow Grove Golf and Country Club, located 4 miles east of Houston.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Rock Climbing: Climbers can test their rock climbing skills at Owen Hat, accessed via Morice River Road and Owen North Road.
Winter Activities: Winter recreational activities include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. The Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club maintains 25 kilometres of cross-country trails in the winter, which double as hiking and nature walks in the summer. North of Houston in Smithers is the Hudson Bay Mountain Resort. Snowmobile beautiful areas in the Telkwa Mountain Range, Dungate Meadows, Tableland Mountain and the Rhine Ridge Sabola Mountain.
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.