Perhaps one of the most desirable road trips in all of North America, the Alaska Highway has always been synonymous with adventure, all things wild, and venturing into the unknown. With massive swaths of unhindered wilderness, an unrivaled abundance of wildlife, and raw beauty around every corner, it is no wonder so many heed its call each and every year.
When it comes to the British Columbia stretch of the historic Alaska Highway, the Northern Rockies are quickly becoming a favorite destination for those with adventure in mind.
On your way north, swing into the Visitor Information Centre in Fort Nelson and pick up a Northern Rockies hiking and trail guide. This would also be a good time to get the latest updates as to what is going on in the mountains or along the highway. The hiking and trail guide is a thorough resource that will have all the information you might need during your time in the Northern Rockies.
Leaving Fort Nelson, the highway will clamber its way into the Northern Rockies before eventually reaching Stone Mountain Provincial Park about an hour and a half later. Grab a camping spot at beautiful Summit Lake Campground. There are many great hiking trails available at your disposal from the campground on the shores of Summit Lake, so take your pick. With that said, Summit Ridge Trail is great option that rewards users with panoramic views of Stone Mountain Provincial Park and the Northern Rockies beyond.
After what is sure to be a serene night at Summit Lake, head for the Baba Canyon Trail to get your day started right. Baba Canyon Trail is a photographer's paradise with many small waterfalls, mountain vistas, and the potential to spot stone sheep grazing on the slopes above.
Once back on the road, the highway will sway through the MacDonald River Valley, which is a hot bed for wildlife activity, before it enters Muncho Lake Provincial Park by way of the Toad River valley. Muncho Lake has two beautiful lakeside campgrounds available that are among the most popular along the entire Alaska Highway. Arriving earlier in the afternoon will ensure you secure a camping spot; neither campground accepts reservations, and both have a tendency to fill up most nights.
It would be easy to spend a couple of days at Muncho Lake. Hiking trails such as Red Rock Canyon, Stone Sheep Trail, and Peterson Canyon Trail are just a few of the adventure options in the area. Or, if a bit of a reset is in order, simply enjoy the lake by stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or by the seat of your camping chair.
It will be tough, but if you must leave Muncho Lake behind. Worry not, there are still some gems to be found as you work your way out of the Northern Rockies.
Heading north, the highway descends out of the Rocky Mountain trench and down into the Liard River valley. Perhaps the most well known attraction in the area would be the Liard River Hot Springs, and a stop here would be a highlight for any traveler. Other attractions of note in this area include Smith River Falls and Whirlpool Canyon. Smith River is located to the north of the Liard River Hot Springs and features one the area's largest and most impressive waterfalls.
Whirlpool Canyon is a nice and leisurely option for those looking to witness the mighty Liard River at its best. One of the largest bodies of water in the north, the Liard slams into Whirlpool Canyon with all its force, and it is a great option for those looking for something a little more laid back before heading out of the Northern Rockies and venturing further north.
Special notes: The Tourism Northern Rockies Hiking and Trail Guide will be an invaluable resource during your time in the Northern Rockies. There are over 25 trails within its pages, so your options are excellent depending on skill level, fitness, or experience in the wild. Also, keep an eye out for wildlife when traveling on the Alaska Highway. The Northern Rockies feature some of the largest populations of large game, and they can often be found grazing along the highway corridor. Finally, it should be noted that there is no cellular service once travelers leave Fort Nelson and head into the Northern Rockies. However, most service stations along the highway do have Wi-Fi available, so plan accordingly.
Welcome to the Northern Rockies, the bountiful northeast corner of British Columbia that sprawls with some of the wildest lands in Canada. Here the mountain air is crisp, the land untouched, and the opportunities for outdoor exploration truly endless. With vibrant communities and welcoming folks, the Northern Rockies are a great place to stop and stay awhile.