The Fraser Plateau area is a 230-mile (370-km) stretch of Highway 16 that runs across the Fraser Plateau west of Prince George and links the Central Interior with Smithers and the Northwest, including Babine Mountain and Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
Like most Canadian provinces, British Columbia is bottom-heavy, with much of its population tucked away into its southwest corner.
Vanderhoof, about 60 miles (100 km) west of Prince George on Highway 16, is the geographic centre of British Columbia, and yet is considered to be well ensconced in the northern half of the province. But then, for many people in the Lower Mainland, anything north of Whistler is the far north.
This is land steeped in history. Alexander Mackenzie walked this way in 1793, becoming the first European to cross North America by land. The Alexander Mackenzie Historical Trail weaves its way through the vast wilderness between Highways 16 and 20 to the south, and is one of the longest hiking trails in the province. Fort St. James, north of Vanderhoof, is one of the oldest white settlements in British Columbia. Every campground you visit, every trail you walk, every canoe route you travel likely has some history attached to it, from prehistoric fossils at Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park to century-old Native grease trails, to turn-of-the-century gold-rush and telegraph trails.
In the past, people had to walk, ride horses, or take canoes. Now, Highway 16 runs west from Prince George, carrying you through the north end of the Interior Plateau, a land rife with lakes of all sizes. Is it any wonder that this is fishing country, and that water sports are one of the most popular forms of summer recreation?
This is also a land of long, cold winters and short, hot summers. In winter, the temperature can drop to below -22 degrees F/-30 degrees C for weeks on end. In the summer, clouds of insects, most of them out for blood, swarm about in early evening. If you are planning on travelling in this area, know your enemies and come prepared.
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 Tour and The Native Heritage Tour follow the same route, from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island north by ferry to Prince Rupert. Catch another ferry to Haida Gwaii, the former 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.
Location: The Fraser Plateau is located west of Prince George in Northern British Columbia. Highway 97 links Prince George with Cache Creek to the south and Dawson Creek to the north. Highway 16 connects Prince George and points west with eastern British Columbia at Tete Jaune Cache, as part of its four-province course between Portage La Prairie in Manitoba and Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) on the west coast. Highway 27 leads north from Highway 16 at Vanderhoof and connects with Fort St. James on the shores of Stuart Lake, a distance of almost 38.5 miles (62 km). Highway 35 leads south from Highway 16 at the town of Burns Lake and connects with the town of Francois Lake, a distance of about 10 miles (16 km).
The following towns are located on or near the Fraser Plateau (from east to west):
Fort St. James,