Summertime means road trip time! Whether you are coming to Canada from abroad or taking the time to get to know your home country, it is well-known that one of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking views of British Columbia is by taking a drive down a country, mountain, or lakeside road. BC is a huge province, and we know it can be overwhelming, but don’t worry! Here’s your guide to the ultimate Northern BC summer road trip!
Northern British Columbia
PRINCE GEORGE – SMITHERS – PRINCE RUPERT
Welcome to where the wild things are. Northern British Columbia is a vast, untamed paradise that beckons you with its rugged wilderness, captivating coastal beauty, and unforgettable experiences. Here nature reigns supreme, inviting adventurers to explore its pristine landscape. From the untamed wilderness of the inland forests to the breathtaking allure of the coastal regions, Northern BC is a land of diversity and contrasts. Adventure awaits!
There are more trails than we could ever list, more local dining gems than we could ever recommend, and so many unique experiences that we couldn’t even cover half of it. That being said, we did our best. Here’s the ultimate Northern BC road trip. Prepare for a road trip that combines cultural richness, outdoor adventures, and good old northern hospitality!
Ultimate Northern BC Summer Road Trip Day One: Prince George
Begin your exploration by delving into history at the Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre. Discover fascinating exhibits that showcase the region’s Indigenous cultures, natural history, and modern achievements, all providing insight into Prince George. The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre takes great pride in promoting education on Indigenous cultures, including the Lheidli T’enneh community that has called the Prince George area home since time immemorial. Through its exhibits and programs, the museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the rich heritage and traditions of local Indigenous communities. Visitors can delve into the First Nations people’s history, art, language, and spiritual beliefs. Interactive displays, storytelling sessions, and artifacts provide a comprehensive understanding of Indigenous cultures, fostering respect and appreciation for their contribution to the region.
Outdoor enthusiasts may opt to spend the whole day deep in the woods. Prince George has an abundance of that! Immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of nearby parks and trails, where hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing await. Explore the tranquil waters of Nechako and Fraser Rivers, perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing amidst the serene surroundings.
Lunch is the first opportunity you have to indulge in the rich flavours of the north! Savour locally sourced delicacies, wild game dishes, and crafter brews that reflect the essence of the region’s bountiful options. When it comes to savouring not just exceptional beer but also mouthwatering meals, Crossroads Brewing Company is the ultimate destination. With its exceptional range of brews and delectable menu, this renowned establishment is sure to satisfy your cravings for both incredible beer and delectable cuisine.
The afternoon is for the arts! Two Rivers Gallery is a vibrant center of the arts that has been serving the community for nearly 20 years. The gallery not only encourages artistic expression but also promotes diversity and cultural understanding. With thought-provoking exhibits, Two Rivers Gallery often features Indigenous art as a part of its collection. Visitors can expect to encounter a range of Indigenous works, including traditional and contemporary pieces that highlight the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous communities in the region.
Locals at Prestige is the hot new restaurant in Prince George, a sophisticated eatery emphasizing fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients. You’re sure to be impressed. Did you know Prestige Treasure Cove Resort is directly connected to Treasure Cove Casino? You’re in for a fun evening! Treasure Cove Casino has over 37,000 square feet of gaming fun. Try your hand at one of the table games, bingo, or one of the 500 slot machines. Yes, we said 500!
Ultimate Northern BC Summer Road Trip Day Two: Smithers
The drive from Prince George to Smithers offers a picturesque journey through the stunning wild world of Northern BC. The drive takes approximately four and a half hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Stock up on your favourite road snacks and drinks and prepare to soak it all in. You’ll start by heading west on Highway 16, also known as the Yellowhead Highway. This highway is well known for seeing all sorts of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled! You never know when you may see a mother bear and her cubs crossing the road. Along the way, you’ll pass throwing charming small towns, dense forests, rolling hills, curving rivers, notable lakes, and breathtaking mountain vistas.
Smithers is where an outdoor adventure and angler’s dreams come to life. Set against a breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped mountains and pristine rivers, Smithers is a haven for fishing enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable angling experience. Head out with Steelhead Excursion and cast your line into the bountiful waters of the Bulkley River, renowned for their abundance of salmon and steelhead. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman, you will have a thrilling day on the water!
You’ve had a long day of outdoor adventure! Time for a satiating dinner and some evening entertainment. Noir Kitchen and Bar, located at Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge Smithers, has a host of European-inspired meals offering a Mediterranean dining experience in Smithers. After your delectable meal, you’ll head to a little timber-framed brewery known as Smithers Brewing Co. With a total of ten taps; there’s plenty of variety. They also have cider and in-house brewed non-alcoholic Kombucha. There’s something for everyone! On some nights, the brewery has amazing live local talent performances. Enjoy the northern melodies of local artists while you sip some locally inspired brews!
Ultimate Northern BC Summer Road Trip Day Three: Prince Rupert
Your journey resumes back on the Yellowhead Highway. Smithers to Prince Rupert is roughly three hours and fifty minutes of winding roads through stunning landscapes. The drive will take you through lush forests, where towering trees create a dense canopy of green. Majestic mountains stand guard proudly in the distance, with their peaks reaching into the clouds. The Yellowhead Highway meanders alongside pristine rivers and crystal-clear lakes, reflecting the vibrant colours of the surrounding wilderness. As you approach Prince Rupert, the scenery transforms into a coastal wonderland with rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and panoramic ocean views.
When you arrive in Prince Rupert, head to Cow Bay to get a feel for the community along with some delightful ocean scenes. You’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era with its historic buildings and coastal cobblestone streets. This quaint district is a haven for art enthusiasts, offering a plethora of galleries, studios, and boutiques showcasing local talent. Indulge your taste buds with some delicious seafood for lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Cow Bay is a must-visit destination that will leave you with lasting memories.
Get ready to step into a journey through time at the North Pacific Cannery, where history comes alive amidst the rugged beauty of the North Coast. As you enter, a sense of historical anticipation fills the air as you imagine an era when salmon canning was the heartbeat of this community. Firstly, immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the cannery through a guided tour. Step by step, your knowledgeable guide will unveil the secrets of this once-thriving industry, weaving together tales of hardworking fishermen, bustling canning lines, and the resilience of the people who called this place home.
Next, weave your way through the meticulously preserved buildings, each a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of a bygone era. Wander the boardwalks, tracing the footsteps of fishermen past and let the echoes of the past whisper stories in your ears. The scent of saltwater mingles with the tang of freshly cut timber, a reminder of the relationship between the cannery and the surrounding coastal wilderness.
We totally understand if you want seafood for dinner. After all you’re in the best place for the freshest selection, and you should take advantage of that! If you’re looking for something else check out OV Burger Bar: no fuss here, just high-quality ingredients and big flavours. It’s a quick drive or an enjoyable walking distance from Prestige Prince Rupert Hotel. In the summer months, Prince Rupert has a very late sunset. Let’s make the most of it! Rent a kayak and head out along the coast, getting a special view of the rugged coastline. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you navigate through hidden coves and explore secluded beaches. Encounter diverse marine life, from playful seals to majestic eagles soaring overhead. With each stroke of your paddle, you’ll forge a deeper connection with the untamed wilderness that Northern BC is known for.