The ultimate guide to vacations in British Columbia: what to do in northern British Columbia?

A trip to the north is both adventure and education

“I was born in June, when the spring salmon were just starting to come up the Nass River,” Hazelton-based revolutionary painter Roy Henry Vickers once said. And that same season is the perfect time to get inspired by the culture, cuisine, and organized adventures you’ll find in this vast region.

Covering nearly 570,000 square kilometers and including more than 60 major parks and wildlife sanctuaries, northern British Columbia is home to thousands of black bears, grizzly bears, caribou and bison. But this is only the beginning. From stunning Indigenous sites to a thriving craft beer culture, the region is full of man-made wonders to complement the natural wonders.

The Historical village of ‘Ksan, which began in 1970 on the site of a former Gitxsan village, is a Hazelton area staple. Featuring seven replica longhouses, it is open from May to September. On a guided tour, you can see and touch traditional warrior armor and intricate leather robes adorned with abalone and mother-of-pearl. Don’t miss the Frog House, which seats up to 80 people, where wolf and bear skins hang on the walls, and a huge feast bowl for serving meat and berry stews is on display.

There, in the Nisga’a homeland, the dramatically curved two-storey Nisga’a Lisims Government Building, opened in 2000, offers a more contemporary architectural interpretation of the longhouse. Nestled in the Nass Valley, the village of 1,800 Gitlaxt’aamiks is the center of power for this self-governing First Nation, established on a territory covering nearly 2,000 square kilometres. The government building’s elliptical, red-carpeted legislative hall is impressive, but the carved cedar masks and exterior totem pole with beaver, wolf and killer whale motifs help elevate the facility to the core. inside and outside.

Historic Ksan Village celebrates Indigenous culture in northern British Columbia Photo: Destination BC/@calsnape

The Nisga’a homeland also has extraordinary natural sites. Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park (Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’Asanskwhl Nisga’a) is where, approximately 300 years ago, a giant volcanic eruption extinguished nearly 2,000 lives. Today, this provincial park established in 1992 and its lichen-covered alkaline basalt carpet resemble a landscape from another planet.

Nearby, the cedars, spruces and pines of the Drowned Forest are half submerged in blue water as the Tseax River overflows. The surreal, translucent beauty of the scene is as haunting as any sci-fi movie. But if your liquid taste tends towards craft beer, a walk through Sherwood Mountain Brewery on the terrace is in order. Yes, the name of the brewery established in 2014 pays homage to the legend of Robin Hood, and its German-style lagers, like the Munich and Friar House options, are refreshing.

Another mainstay of the artisan house is the Smithers Brewery. Located just steps from the iconic Alpen Man statue, the 10-barrel brewery offers memorable specialties, like the Bootlegger Brown Ale, which features hints of caramel and chocolate. When it’s time to eat, start with a hearty breakfast consisting of a hearty vegetable omelet from Louise’s kitchen, which also serves classic Ukrainian lunches, from perogies to cabbage rolls. Or try the avocado toast at Two sisterswhich uses local organic produce, eggs and meat.

For those who crave adventure, there is of course Motorboat Tours in Northern British Columbia. On a guided expedition down the Skeena River, you might spot bald eagles soaring overhead, grizzly bear footprints in the sand, or a CN train passing over the farm spectacular and historic bridge building of the Skeena River Bridge.

But why not sum it up in one all-in-one luxury getaway? 15,000 square foot isolation Bear Claw Lodge offers real magic with eight themed rooms, each showcasing locally sourced Indigenous and contemporary art. Heli-hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and salmon snorkeling are some of the entertainment you can find here. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, tuck into corn chowder with smoked salmon, bannock with willowherb jelly or pan-seared Prince Rupert halibut.

MORE STAYCATIONS: 21 hidden places to hike, bike, paddle and relax in your own backyard

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