British Columbia mainland coast northward

DavidGraves

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,270
Howdy

Considering an extended visit up the B.C. mainland coast. Is there any experience with the area here ?
We have spent lots of time on upper Vancouver Island and are looking for history and natural history.
May plan to trailer a small boat for lake excursions. Thinking July...are there bugs ?

Many thanks

David Graves
 
We travelled BC about 8 or 10 times, always with a rental RV, always 4 - 6 weeks. But only in the low season, not in July. Because in July it is much to crowded for us and we don't like prebooking all campsites in advance.
If you have questions, I try to answer.
Beate
 
Hi Beale

And thanks for the response. Up on Vancouver Island we have found lots of Crown forest lands/roads to explore and assorted smaller lakes to visit for a few days at a time while rambling around for maybe three weeks.

Is same to be found on the mainland side ?...We are willing to travel north...in fact sorta wanted to visit the first nations parks that are up opposite Pt Mcneii...on the mainland side.......can't remember name just now.....trying to start my day.

FWIW we live on the north Oregon coast and know all too well the summer heavy tourist season.

DG
 
Yes, there is some crownsland, but very scarce. And many of them are not reachable by car, not to speak with a boat towing.
I'm very activ in a special forum for Canada and BC. And from there I know that people in BC tent to be very angry about boondocking. So you have to be carefully with choosing a place. I once asked there a question about boondocking and was bashed!!!
Are you thinking about Ts'il?os Provincial park? We travelled there a lot of years ago and at that time the road was very bad.
 
Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) should/could be on your list. Karen and I plus 6 other friends from Bend did a guided kayak trip there in 2019, a once in a lifetime experience for sure. A couple of our group drove up (we flew into Sandspit) and took a ferry from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert then another connection to Haida Gwaii. After our kayak trip ended they stayed on the islands and camped/BnBs for a few more days to take in the amazingly creative artist and artisan's work on display. There is a must see First Nation cultural center there also.

Images from our 8 day kayak tour.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/desertdustimages/albums/72157710910400087/with/48756338316/
 
Thanks All...just starting to think about this but generally I mean in the area between Fraser River and Prince Ruppert...perhaps further north.

DG
 
Great photos. We with our daughters 12 and 15 at the time (1992)
camped on the north island for 3 nights.We had a nice campsite a few miles out of
Skidgate. We traveled up to the Agate beach and the park there.

Very nice time.We took the ferry from PR.
Frank
 
DavidGraves said:
Thanks All...just starting to think about this but generally I mean in the area between Fraser River and Prince Ruppert...perhaps further north.

DG
The Cassiar Hwy for sure and a side trip to Hyder/Stewart.
Rupert has always been nice for a night stay on several trips.
Be sure to try Smile"s restaurant if it's open.
Great seafood and prices.

Rupert has some nice walking trails around town and out to the ferry landing.

There's a lake Seely Provincial Park,east before you get to Kitwanga/Cassiar/hwy37/gas stop.
Nice quiet lake with several sites.

Enjoy the planing.
Frank
 
We travel between the NW US and our cabin in NW BC every year. Often different routes. Last year stayed at Kleanza Prov. Park near Terrace - very nice spot (we were there in early May), but may be busy midsummer. Most of the provincial parks are pretty nice and if you prefer a little more rustic, there are a number of what are called recreation sites that are smaller, less used places. Smithers is a good supply point (and a nice town) on the Yellowhead hwy. If you want to get off the main road, Ft. St. James is kind of interesting - mostly logging/paper town but lots of nice spots to explore around there on logging roads, if that's of interest.

Another interesting trip would be highway 20 west out of Williams Lake to the coast. Not highly used (though it has been 10 years since I was on it last so no guarantees), interesting scenery particularly at the western part in the higher mountains. Plan on several days minimum to do it justice.

As already mentioned, highway 37A west from Meziadin to Stewart and Hyder is beautiful. Gorgeous coastal country on the old mining roads north out of Hyder up toward Salmon Glacier and the old Granduc mine area. And the Cassiar (37) north toward Yukon is a nice drive although they just put in a huge power line up the first couple hundred miles. Quite an eyesore, in my opinion - it could have been done with more thought toward the visual effects.

Just a few things to consider.
 
Casa Escarlata Robles Too said:
Great photos. We with our daughters 12 and 15 at the time (1992)
camped on the north island for 3 nights.We had a nice campsite a few miles out of
Skidgate. We traveled up to the Agate beach and the park there.

Very nice time.We took the ferry from PR.
Frank
We definitely want to go back with our camper as we had flown up for the kayak trip so were pretty limited as to travel on the islands. Your trip sounds like a good one. - Cheers
 
As I just read "Hyder/Seward": There is a beautiful boondocking up the road at the parking-lot and viewpoint to Salmon Glacier.
You'll have this view:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Attraction_Review-g31017-d628259-Reviews-Salmon_Glacier-Hyder_Alaska.html
As we drove it (3-times) the road was very bad, but the last time they seemed to build up the road because in the backcountry they where building a "mine", for whatever they found there, I couldn't get the information.
But this road involves a border-crossing into Alaska. As we went in there were no border-controll. But the way out the Canadians stopped us and asked all the questions as if it was a big border. We had to laugh, because one of the question was "what did you buy in America", but on the american site no shop or restaurant was open. It is a ghost town. And the customs officier for sure did know this.
 
Atlin said:
We travel between the NW US and our cabin in NW BC every year. Often different routes. Last year stayed at Kleanza Prov. Park near Terrace - very nice spot (we were there in early May), but may be busy midsummer. Most of the provincial parks are pretty nice and if you prefer a little more rustic, there are a number of what are called recreation sites that are smaller, less used places. Smithers is a good supply point (and a nice town) on the Yellowhead hwy. If you want to get off the main road, Ft. St. James is kind of interesting - mostly logging/paper town but lots of nice spots to explore around there on logging roads, if that's of interest.

Another interesting trip would be highway 20 west out of Williams Lake to the coast. Not highly used (though it has been 10 years since I was on it last so no guarantees), interesting scenery particularly at the western part in the higher mountains. Plan on several days minimum to do it justice.



Just a few things to consider.
Hwy 20 west of Williams Lake,is that the one to the coast,at Bella Bella?
A neighbor took that trip several years ago.He was hauling a large trailer with a
duel wheeled pickup. He had vehicle problems but I think he drove the road way to fast.

Many years ago I toyed with that drive ,but starting with the ferry and heading east.
The ferry schedule is very tricky so we nixed that plan.

BC is all beautiful area.
We have enjoyed the visits to Hyder/Stewart. Our first trip there was in 1990 on the now discontinued
Alaska ferry. That was a really fun trip.The ferry was one of the smallest of the system.
Frank
 
Beate said:
As I just read "Hyder/Seward": There is a beautiful boondocking up the road at the parking-lot and viewpoint to Salmon Glacier.
You'll have this view:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Attraction_Review-g31017-d628259-Reviews-Salmon_Glacier-Hyder_Alaska.html
As we drove it (3-times) the road was very bad, but the last time they seemed to build up the road because in the backcountry they where building a "mine", for whatever they found there, I couldn't get the information.
But this road involves a border-crossing into Alaska. As we went in there were no border-controll. But the way out the Canadians stopped us and asked all the questions as if it was a big border. We had to laugh, because one of the question was "what did you buy in America", but on the american site no shop or restaurant was open. It is a ghost town. And the customs officier for sure did know this.
I remember that crossing also.Some of the questions the Canadians were strange to say the least.
Hyder doesn't have anything and it's a dead end road Salmon and bears and beautiful scenery.

Thanks for sharing these photos.
Frank
 
CraggyMan said:
We definitely want to go back with our camper as we had flown up for the kayak trip so were pretty limited as to travel on the islands. Your trip sounds like a good one. - Cheers
Thanks it was fun.It was a tent camping trip.Our daughters had a great time.
They still talk about it.30 years later.
Frank
 
"As I just read "Hyder/Seward": There is a beautiful boondocking up the road at the parking-lot and viewpoint to Salmon Glacier.
You'll have this view:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Attraction_Review-g31017-d628259-Reviews-Salmon_Glacier-Hyder_Alaska.html
As we drove it (3-times) the road was very bad, but the last time they seemed to build up the road because in the backcountry they where building a "mine", for whatever they found there, I couldn't get the information.
But this road involves a border-crossing into Alaska. As we went in there were no border-controll. But the way out the Canadians stopped us and asked all the questions as if it was a big border. We had to laugh, because one of the question was "what did you buy in America", but on the american site no shop or restaurant was open. It is a ghost town. And the customs officier for sure did know this."


================================================


Same experience...Hyder and road up to Salmon Glacier is well worth the effort to get there; beautiful country...no customs going back into US / Hyder and the shack serving as customs coming back into Canada was...well we had a very distasteful event....could not see anybody at the border building, stopped, looked around, started to pull out and a VERY loud siren cranked up...stopped immediately and backed up and a full body armor, armed to the gills Valkyrie appeared and started yelling at us [our windows were down] that "in Canada, stop means stop and what does it mean in Oregon"? She said that she was ready to start in pursuit and the fine could be $2,000 for not stopping...tried to explain we stopped, but she was not listening and my wife nudged me to relent ..I am a retired LEO and she was way over the line; but she held all the cards; as the saying goes "Mess with the bull and you get the horn"...grilled us for 10mins determined to nail me, without success; I offered nothing for her to push against...honestly, it really spoiled much of that part of the trip...nothing against Canadians but some, not all, feel Americans are rich, gun loving, arrogant assholes....coming into Canada at Idaho border I had spent 25 mins trying explain to RCMP Bardal [honest that was his name] that my permit for bringing in a shotgun was valid and that we were boondocking for weeks in bear country with no way to escape our Hawk FWC if a bear wanted in badly enough; hence the shotgun...same, same, he repeated over and over that park rangers would provide for our safety and firearms were never needed; notwithstanding that we were boondocking...finally, put my requisite money on top of the permit and pushed it across the counter to him...and I stopped trying to explain my rationale...we took the shotgun in and out without any other fanfare.

No desire to belly bump with Canadians on this forum or in country; 99+% are great folks....but keep your head down and your situational awareness up...contentious contacts everywhere seem to be becoming more the norm; there and here.

Docent/manager at bear watching site/structure in Hyder was a super guy and very informative.

Phil
 
Phil,we had a similar experience after getting off the Blackball ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.
It was the last ferry of the night and we were staying right across the street at a motel.
We got the third degree even a camper search.
I think they were training some newbees.
Yes just keep your head down and don't ruffle any feathers.
That was back in 2010.
Frank
 
Here are a few photos of the Hyder area.
Smiles fish house PR
north to alaska III 309.jpeg
Downtown Hyder
north to alaska III 266.jpeg

north to alaska III 254.jpeg

north to alaska III 253.jpeg[

Bear Glacier .When we first saw this glacier it covered the small lake.
north to alaska III 251.jpeg

There are more photos of this BC trip on my blog.
Trip was made in 2009.
It was posted in 2014 "Southeast Alaska and BC"
Frank
 
Frank,

Yes, Highway 20 goes out to the coast to Bella Coola (Bella Bella is actually further west on an island, only access is ferry). Partway out the road from the Fraser, it turns to gravel and can be slow going. The top of the road is about where it goes into the east side of Tweedsmuir park. Going downhill toward Hagensborg and Bella Coola is a pretty hair-raising downgrade with nasty switchbacks in places. Not a big deal for a truck with camper and decent brakes, but could be nerve-racking if one is not used to driving such roads. When we were there it was not heavily traveled but big trucks do go in and out, and in some places it is definitely a one-lane road, so traveler be aware.

A note on Salmon glacier at Hyder: every year since maybe the 1970s, the creek under the glacier has frozen in winter and backs up a lake in springtime. Eventually, some time in the summer, the ice plug melts and the lake drains very dramatically. It would be something to witness.
 
Atlin said:
Frank,

Yes, Highway 20 goes out to the coast to Bella Coola (Bella Bella is actually further west on an island, only access is ferry). Partway out the road from the Fraser, it turns to gravel and can be slow going. The top of the road is about where it goes into the east side of Tweedsmuir park. Going downhill toward Hagensborg and Bella Coola is a pretty hair-raising downgrade with nasty switchbacks in places. Not a big deal for a truck with camper and decent brakes, but could be nerve-racking if one is not used to driving such roads. When we were there it was not heavily traveled but big trucks do go in and out, and in some places it is definitely a one-lane road, so traveler be aware.

A note on Salmon glacier at Hyder: every year since maybe the 1970s, the creek under the glacier has frozen in winter and backs up a lake in springtime. Eventually, some time in the summer, the ice plug melts and the lake drains very dramatically. It would be something to witness.
Thanks. I always get the 2 villages reversed.Don't know why we have ferried past them many,many times.
Your road description is what I have read.Another road that you need to be careful and take your time.
Frank
 
Back
Top Bottom