Stories & Features

150 B.C. places: Cariboo-Chilcotin & north

Street and boardwalk, Barkerville, B.C.
The wild west has never died in Barkerville, No. 6 on our list of great places in B.C.

Numbers 1 to 20 on our list of 150 great places in B.C.

What's this list about? Celebrating Canada's 150th by exploring B.C.

1. B.C.'s largest sand dune, Farwell Canyon Park

If you think a giant sand dune might most likely be found in the desert landscape of the south Okanagan, you'd be wrong. You need to get to Williams Lake and head west along the Freedom Highway to reach Farwell Canyon Park and B.C.'s largest sand dune.

2-4. Chasm Provincial Park

The drive north of Cache Creek is not one of the more picturesque in B.C., so the temptation is to get where you want to be – perhaps trophy trout fishing at Sheridan Lake or attending the Williams Lake Stampede – as soon as possible. Treat yourself to a surprising break, the "mini Grand Canyon" of Chasm Provincial Park, just a few minutes off the highway.  

5. Take a float plane to Nimpo Lake

So many planes take off from and land at Nimpo Lake that it's often referred to as the Float Plane Capital of B.C. What's all the fuss? The town of 120 doubles its population in the summer as visitors arrive to take advantage of world-class fishing, hiking, canoeing and flight-seeing. It's also a popular  float plane refueling stop for pilots headed to the Yukon and Alaska.

6. Barkerville, near Quesnel

This National Historic Site affords a step back in time to the gold mining days of the 1860s, with  over 100 heritage structures still standing on the spot they were built. Stroll the streets of Barkerville, take a stagecoach ride, attend a show in the old theatre, or do some gold panning.  

7. Grizzlies & more at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, Bella Coola

You can plan for an African safari, or you can embark on a made-in-B.C. equivalent at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, where options include watching grizzlies feast on spawning salmon in the falll, or fly fishing and heli-skiing on the same day.

Man at Liard River Hot Springs, B.C.
Liard River Hot Springs.

8. Liard River Hot Springs

The next time you're on your way to the Yukon... OK, so Liard River Hot Springs is so far north in B.C. that's it's not a short drive from anywhere. But in summer months, its campground fills up early each day because it's the second largest hot spring in Canada,  and it's mind-blowing.

9. Northern lights viewing, Muncho Lake Provincial Park

Muncho Lake Provincial Park is big, beautiful and teeming with wildlife. And then there's the northern lights viewing, which can make it among the best places in the province to view Aurora Borealis.

10. Salmon Glacier, north of Stewart

Way up in the northwest corner of B.C., 37 km from Stewart, B.C./Hyder, Alaska, is the Salmon Glacier, the fifth biggest in the world. Put this on your list and maybe you'll get there someday.

11. Dinosaur hunting in Tumbler Ridge

And you thought the dinosaurs only hung out in Alberta. The Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark not only features great hiking and fabulous waterfalls, but an assortment of dinosaur footprints first discovered by two boys who fell off their tube while running the rapids on Flatbed Creek.

12. The Lido Theatre, Fort St. John

How can you not like a place that holds acoustic open mic night on a stage with a Stanley Cup playoff game running behind the musicians? Or a “take your requests” piano duo named Burn N Mahn? Check out The Lido's events here.

View of W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir
A view of W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir from the BC Hydro visitor centre.

13. W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre, Hudson's Hope

Upgraded just a few years ago, this visitor centre now boasts a wide range of exhibits around dam construction, wildlife in the area and a First Nations gallery. There's also a new cafe, and don't miss the guided underground bus tour. Get details on the visitor centre here.

14. Grain elevator art gallery in Dawson Creek

Housed in a renovated annex of a prairie elevator, this unique gallery won the Architecture Foundation of B.C.'s best building contest in 2015. The building's a knockout, but the Dawson Creek Art Gallery features an intriguing blend of local, regional and touring exhibitions.

15. Kiskatinaw wooden bridge, Old Alaska Highway

Just outside Dawson Creek is the oldest curved wooden bridge in Canada. It was closed for a few months in the spring of 2017 after a pickup truck slid off the road and damaged the guard rail, but the Kiskatinaw bridge is open again.

16. Ed Bird-Estella Lakes Provincial Park

OK. Start with an image of these crazily-blue lakes. Now you know why some people just have to make the trek, and it's a long one, to this remote spot in northern B.C. A trip to Ed-Bird Estella Lakes Provincial Park, which few in B.C. have even heard of, will provide you with images and bragging rights that should trump the travels of just about everyone you meet.

17-18. Kleanza Creek & Lakelse Lake provincial parks, Terrace

If either of these campgrounds were within a four-hour drive of Vancouver, you’d be lucky to reserve a spot on any summer weekend. As of today, you can book sites at Kleanza Creek or Lakelse Lake for even the Canada Day long weekend.

grizzly bear family at Khutzeymateen park
A grizzly bear family at Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary north of Prince Rupert.

19. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, Prince Rupert area

Tour boats take you into remote country northeast of Prince Rupert for an unforgettable tour, where the protected bears thrive. You may see a single bear, or you may see many. But the multi-hour trip to Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary is so scenic, it won’t really matter.

20. Mount Edziza Provincial Park

A remote park that showcases a spectacular volcanic landscape including lava flows, basalt plateaus, cinder fields and cinder cones. Mount Edziza Provincial Park is an extreme experience, far from anywhere, at the extreme end of your bucket list.