5 Must-see tourist attractions in Northern British Columbia

1. Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark

In the summer of 2000, two Tumbler Ridge kids were floating down Flatbed Creek when they fell off their innertubes and stumbled on a trail of dinosaur footprints. None of the adults in town believed them, but the boys persisted until a visiting palaeontologist confirmed their find.

It was one of the most significant dinosaur discoveries in BC in 100 years.

Visit the museum to learn all about dinosaurs and the fascinating geology of the region, then head out on the trails for a hike or ski to see some jaw-dropping landscapes. You may even find the next fascinating fossil at this Northern BC tourist attraction!

READ MORE: Discover BC’s UNESCO Global Geopark this winter

Tumbler Ridge GeoPark is a four-season playground with rugged scenery and a rich dinosaur history.

Tumbler Ridge GeoPark is a four-season playground with rugged scenery and a rich dinosaur history.

2. Barkerville

If you like historic sites where costumed interpreters immerse you in a different time, you’ll love Barkerville. If you’ve hated historic towns in the past, you’ll still love Barkerville.

The Northern BC gold rush town east of Wells, BC is huge (over 125 heritage buildings), with a wide range of hands-on activities, restaurants, entertainment and displays to engage visitors of all ages. Try your luck at gold panning, practice calligraphy at the Chinese school house, or watch infamous Judge Begbie lay down harsh verdicts in court.

Time your visit with the first weekend in August to catch the ArtsWells festival, or combine it with a canoe trip in Bowron Lake Provincial Park.

Barkerville has over 125 heritage buildings from BC’s gold rush, and North America’s most extensive collection of Chinese buildings, photographs and artifacts. (Photo: Amy Attas)

Barkerville has over 125 heritage buildings from BC’s gold rush, and North America’s most extensive collection of Chinese buildings, photographs and artifacts. (Photo: Amy Attas)

3. Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park

For an other-worldly moonscape, visit Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisga’a (Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park), one of the youngest and most accessible volcanic features in the province. See vast, sparse fields of volcanic rock, and something called a tree cast — when tree trunks vaporize in the lava flow, leaving bark-engraved holes in the basalt.

Make sure to stay on marked paths, since a single footprint can set back hundreds of years of delicate lichen growth.

Along with geology, on the Nisga’a Nation Auto Tour you’ll learn about Nisga’a’s culture and visit a Nisga’a village which was destroyed by the volcano.

Canada’s last volcanic eruption occurred on Nisga’a land approximately 270 years ago. (Nisga’a Lisims Government / Gary Fiegehen)

Canada’s last volcanic eruption occurred on Nisga’a land approximately 270 years ago. (Nisga’a Lisims Government / Gary Fiegehen)

4. Liard River Hot Springs

Here’s why Liard is the best hot spring in BC: it’s natural, surrounded by forest and much more than a concrete hot tub at an expensive resort. It’s big and remote, so you’ll never be competing for space.

The hot springs are a welcome respite for roadtrippers making their way to the Yukon, and there’s even a campground if you’d like to take an extra long soak.

The lower pool of the Liard River Hot Springs in Northern British Columbia. (photo: Amy Attas)

The lower pool of the Liard River Hot Springs in Northern British Columbia. (photo: Amy Attas)

5. SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site

On the southern tip of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, aged cedar mortuary poles rise from the grass, standing watch over a sparkling ocean bay. The carving on these poles is world class, and so is the scenery — the Haida definitely know how to pick a village site.

If you visit you’ll be shown around by a Haida Watchman, who live on the site all summer long to protect their traditional territory and share their culture. Sgang Gwaay is part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, which has the nickname ‘Galapagos of the North,’ meaning there’s amazing wildlife as well as historical sites. You’ll see trees as wide as trucks, whales, sea lions and rare birds, and connect with an ancient culture that continues to thrive.

A Haida Watchman shows visitors around the Sgang Gwaay village site in 2017. (Photo: Amy Attas)

A Haida Watchman shows visitors around the Sgang Gwaay village site in 2017. (Photo: Amy Attas)

<a href="https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1LtKeaTbZ6aUq-V7BsI3W9OEFduvnfjWW&usp=sharing" target="_blank">Click here for an interactive map.</a>

Click here for an interactive map.

Plan your future adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!

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