Skip to Content

Guide To Visiting Terrace And The Nass Valley In Northern Bc

image source

image source

image source

Northwest British Columbia’s hidden gem, the Territory of Nass Valley, beckons travelers seeking a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural richness. This enchanting region, nestled in the heart of Northern BC, is an absolute must-visit destination for any road trip enthusiast. With its breathtaking landscapes and deep-rooted cultural heritage, the Territory of Nass Valley offers an unparalleled experience that will leave you with lifelong memories. From exhilarating outdoor adventures to immersive explorations of First Nations traditions, this captivating region has something for everyone. Here, I’ll share my top recommendations for exploring this off-the-beaten-path destination, so grab your bags and get ready for the journey of a lifetime! The Territory of Nass Valley is a treasure trove of diverse activities and experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re an avid hiker, angler, or cultural enthusiast, you’ll find yourself creating a personalized itinerary that showcases the region’s natural beauty and rich history. The possibilities are endless in this charming area, where outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, fishing, and sightseeing, while those seeking a deeper connection with local culture can embark on guided tours and immersions. Special thanks to my fellow travelers, Geoff Heith and Kimberley Kufaas, for capturing the region’s breathtaking vistas through their lenses. I’m also grateful to the Northern BC Tourism Association for inviting us on this unforgettable Inside Passage Ferry and Northwest BC road trip adventure to explore Prince Rupert, Territory of Nass Valley, Kitimat, and Stewart.

About Terrace

image source

Nestled amidst the Hazelton Mountains to the east and the Kitimat Ranges to the west, surrounded by an abundance of lakes and the majestic Skeena River – the second-largest river in British Columbia – lies the charming town of Terrace. This outdoor enthusiast’s paradise serves as the gateway to some of Northern BC’s most breathtaking natural landscapes.Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region’s First Nations communities, whose traditions stretch back millennia. Authentic experiences await discovery in traditional Tsimshian lifestyles, while nearby Kitselas and Kitsumkalum communities offer a glimpse into the past. For a truly unforgettable adventure, venture to the Nass Valley to explore ancient Lava Beds and uncover the secrets of the four Nisga’a villages.Terrace’s storied history is marked by its bountiful natural resources, which once made it a thriving hub for fur trading and gold prospecting. As European influence expanded in the late 1800s, a steamboat route was established along the Skeena River, shaping the town’s development. George Little, known as the founder of Terrace, arrived on the scene in the early 1900s, partnering with a railroad company to bring his vision of a thriving community to life.

How to Get to Terrace

Accessing the picturesque town of Terrace is a breeze, with convenient travel options available from various modes of transportation. Whether you’re driving from afar, flying in on a commercial airliner, or arriving by train, getting to this charming destination has never been easier.

By Car

As many travelers discover, Terrace is often a pit stop on a larger Canadian adventure, with the scenic Yellowhead Highway 16 serving as the primary route. This highway stretches 144 kilometers from Prince Rupert and 62 kilometers from Kitimat, two destinations we explored during our Northern BC road trip. The drive along this picturesque route rewards passengers with breathtaking views of untouched forests, awe-inspiring mountain scenery, and the majestic Skeena River.

By Air

From Vancouver and northern British Columbia airports, you can easily fly into the Northwest Regional Airport (YXT), situated just 11 kilometers from downtown Terrace’s bustling city center. The airport is a major transportation hub, with multiple daily flights to and from Vancouver offered by reputable airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Hawkair, and Central Mountain Air.

By Rail

For those who want to take in the breathtaking views without the hassle of driving, Via Rail Trains offer a convenient solution. Several times a week, these trains stop in Terrace as part of their route between Prince George and Prince Rupert. This mode of transportation allows you to focus on observing wildlife, rather than navigating the road, making for a relaxing and stress-free experience.

Things To Do in Terrace

While often associated with outdoor pursuits, Terrace offers more than just wilderness adventures. In fact, there are plenty of engaging activities to explore beyond the great outdoors. As we delve into the town’s rich cultural and historical heritage, you’ll discover a multitude of experiences that showcase its unique character.

Admire the Art at Terrace Art Gallery

At the heart of the city lies the esteemed Terrace Art Gallery, a treasure trove of local artistry that invites visitors to immerse themselves in its ever-changing exhibits. Each month, new works from talented artists take center stage, ensuring a unique experience with every visit. Furthermore, the gallery periodically hosts interactive workshops where patrons can collaborate with the artists to craft their own masterpieces! Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., this cultural gem welcomes all comers, with donations gratefully accepted.

Stop by the George Little House

Over the past century, The George Little House has witnessed the evolution of its original purpose – serving as the residence of George Little, the founder of Terrace. Fast-forward to today, this historic gem has undergone meticulous restoration and relocation, now housing the VIA Rail Station. While you may not be boarding a train, this stop is still well worth your time, offering an immersive experience into the town’s rich history. As you explore, you’ll discover a treasure trove of historical and cultural artifacts, as well as a charming gift shop stocked with unique souvenirs.

Tour the Terrace Heritage Park Museum

Nestled on the outskirts of town, the Heritage Park Museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history and culture of Terrace. Spanning two acres of open-air space, this museum is a treasure trove of historical log buildings, each meticulously preserved with artifacts that transport visitors back to the pioneer era. While the museum’s regular operating hours are limited to the summer months from June 2 to August 31, guided tours and winter visits can be arranged upon request for those eager to explore beyond the peak season.

Outdoor Activities in Terrace

In our time at Terrace, we devoted most of our days to exploring the surrounding great outdoors. The experience was nothing short of thrilling as we took to the skies on a heart-pumping helicopter ride and marveled at the breathtaking power of rushing waterfalls, just two of the many exhilarating outdoor activities that await in this incredible destination.

Flight Seeing Tour to Anderson Cabin

image source

image source

As we touched down on the helipad at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace, the breathtaking alpine landscape unfolded before us like a canvas of snow-capped peaks and dense forests. The Anderson cabin, nestled deep within this stunning setting, is a secluded haven maintained by the Mount Remo Backcountry Society. Whether your passion lies in winter sports or summer adventures, the surrounding terrain beckons you to explore its uncharted trails on skis or hiking boots. With generous snowfall each year, the ski season lingers longer than most, offering ample opportunity for backcountry excursions.As we embarked on a 1.5-hour flightseeing tour with Quantum Helicopters, the cabin’s remote location became even more alluring. We had the option to rent this off-the-grid retreat for an immersive wilderness experience – although our day trip was a tantalizing introduction. The chance to spend a night in the cabin is now firmly on my bucket list! Regardless of which helicopter tour you select, prepare to be awestruck by the majestic views of Mount Remo and the surrounding area, as if gazing upon a canvas of unparalleled beauty.

Walk Through the Kitselas Canyon

Embark on an unforgettable adventure by combining history and nature at the Kitzelas Canyon, a must-visit attraction on any Terrace itinerary! From May to October, take a self-guided tour of this National Historic Site and explore the rich cultural heritage of the Ts’msyen people. As you stroll along the scenic Canyon Trail, you’ll reach the iconic Ts’msyen Clan Poles, representing the four clans of the Ts’msyen people. For over 6,000 years, Kitzelas Canyon has been a sacred site for the Ts’msyen people, serving as a strategic location to control trade between the coast and the interior. Declared a National Historic Site in October 1972, today’s archaeological remains tell the story of the villages that once stood here.

Take an Eco Tour with Mandi McDougal from Westcoast Charters

image source

When you’re not hooked on fishing, West Coast Fishing offers an array of eco-friendly experiences that cater to non-anglers. You can opt for hiking excursions to breathtaking waterfalls, soak in secluded hot springs, paddleboard through serene waters, bike along scenic trails or embark on a bear-viewing adventure! During my trip to Terrace, I had the pleasure of joining Mandi McDougal, co-owner, on a half-day tour that took us to several stunning waterfalls. With her expertise as our guide, we were able to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to pack your swimsuit – some of these waterfalls are perfect for a refreshing dip!

Swim at Extew Falls

image source

When planning your trip to Terrace, be sure to prioritize a visit to Extew Falls, an absolute must-see. If you’re fortunate enough to own a high-clearance vehicle, you can drive right up to the falls and then take a leisurely 15-minute stroll down to the plunge pool. Alternatively, park 2 kilometers away and embark on a scenic hike into the area. This stunning waterfall offers the perfect setting for a refreshing swim, a relaxing picnic, or an invigorating hike around its picturesque surroundings.

Paddle or Relax at Kitsumkalum Provincial Park

image source

Located approximately 37 kilometers outside of town lies the stunning Kitsumkalum Provincial Park, boasting an expansive 40-hectare landscape that seamlessly blends breathtaking vistas with abundant wildlife opportunities. This natural haven is also perfectly suited for a wide range of recreational activities, from tranquil paddling excursions to leisurely picnics and sun-kissed relaxation.For those who bring their own canoe or kayak, the beach offers an effortless launch point into the serene waters of Kalum Lake, allowing for a peaceful day-long exploration. Alternatively, if you prefer to simply soak up the sunshine, the sandy shoreline is ideal for a refreshing swim, relaxing picnic, or a leisurely afternoon spent basking in the warm rays.In addition to its picturesque charm, the park also features several free camping sites and pit toilets, making it an all-around idyllic getaway.

Hike at Kleanza Creek Provincial Park

image source

Nestled 19 km northeast of downtown Terrace lies the picturesque Kleanza Creek Provincial Park, situated directly on the Skeena River. This serene oasis invites locals and visitors alike to unwind amidst nature’s splendor. We spent a leisurely afternoon strolling along the easy 1-mile Kleanza Creek Trail, followed by a relaxing reprieve at the riverbanks, where we marveled at the towering trees that surround us. The trail itself is meticulously maintained, although there are a few sections that feature moderate inclines; it’s essential to don suitable footwear for a comfortable experience.

Shop at Skeena Valley Farmers Market

A summer or fall visit to Terrace would be incomplete without a stop at the Skeena Valley Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday from May to October. This bustling marketplace boasts an impressive 70 vendors selling an array of fresh produce and local goods. Whether you’re looking to stock up on picnic essentials or simply want to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of rural British Columbia, this market is a must-visit destination.

Nass Valley and Lava Beds

image source

image source

The Nisg̱a’a Lands in British Columbia’s Nass Valley are an otherworldly destination that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. The unique landscape is characterized by lava rock formations and crystal-clear blue water, unlike anywhere else on the planet. This natural wonder was created as a result of the Tseax volcano’s eruption around 1780, which left behind a vast expanse of lava beds.What sets this destination apart is its significance in Nisga’a culture. Anhluut’ukwsim Lax̱mihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisg̱a’a (Nisg̱a’a Memorial Lava Bed Park) is the first park in BC to combine the interpretation of natural features with Indigenous cultural heritage. The land holds deep spiritual and historical importance for the Nisga’a people, who have called this area home since time immemorial. In fact, the lava beds are a memorial to the 2,000 Nisga’a people who lost their lives in the devastating eruption.Visitors can learn more about the Nisg̱a’a culture and the history of Nisg̱a’ Lands by exploring the park’s amenities, including a campground, picnic areas, boat launches, and short hiking trails. Be sure to stop by the Visitor Centre when you arrive to gain a deeper understanding of this unique place, book a guided tour, or pick up a copy of the self-guided Auto Tour of Nisga’a Lands.

Take the Self-Guided Nisga’a Nation Auto Tour

image source

image source

My trip highlight was the self-guided Nisga’a Nation Auto Tour, which allowed me to drive from Terrace to the Nisga’a Village with 18 points of interest along the route. While it would take approximately 2.5 hours to complete the tour without stopping, I highly recommend dedicating an entire day to exploring all the sights at a leisurely pace. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at a range of attractions including the Drowned Forest, the Nass Lava Beds, picturesque waterfalls, a Visitor Centre, and even a carving shed. If hot springs are on your agenda, be sure to book a reservation online in advance for access to the Higu Isgwit Hot Springs.

The Nisg̱a’a Museum

Every day of the week, except for Sundays, a museum in Laxgalts’ap remains open to the public. This cultural institution serves as a treasure trove, housing hundreds of artifacts that collectively narrate the rich history and enduring traditions of the Nisga’a people. The very architecture of the museum is deeply rooted in traditional Nisg’a longhouses, feast dishes, and canoes, evoking a sense of timelessness. Inside, visitors can marvel at exquisitely carved masks, intricately crafted bentwood boxes, majestic headdresses, and regalia acquired from Nisga’ Lands, all testifying to the community’s deep cultural heritage.

Hlgu Isgwit Hot Springs

For centuries, Nisg̱a’a people have revered the Hlgu Isgwit Hot Springs as a sacred heritage site, utilizing its therapeutic properties for ceremonial, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. This natural wonder has been a cornerstone of their cultural identity, with visitors now able to reserve time to soak in the two large cedar tubs – a privilege only available during the week.

Where to Stay in Terrace

For weary travelers, finding the perfect place to unwind after a day of discovery is a top priority. Luckily, the tranquil terrain surrounding the Terrace offers an array of accommodations to suit every taste and style. From snug cabins that evoke a sense of rustic charm, to secluded campsites that immerse you in nature’s splendor, to charming bed-and-breakfast establishments nestled along the river’s gentle flow – the options are as varied as they are inviting.

Hidden Acres Farm

image source

Nestled within a sprawling 36-hectare farmland, Hidden Acres Farm boasts an impressive selection of accommodations, comprising five treehouse cabins and two charming tiny homes. Our stay was marked by a tranquil retreat in one of these elevated abodes, where the serenity of the surroundings was only slightly tempered by its proximity to town – a mere five-minute drive away. The pièce de résistance was undoubtedly the thoughtful amenities that came with each cabin, including fully equipped kitchens and inviting outdoor spaces featuring fire pits and BBQs.

Vetter Creek Campground

image source

For those seeking an authentic off-grid adventure, Vetter Creek Campground offers a unique experience within Nigsa’a Memorial Lava Bed Park. This campground features 16 vehicle-accessible campsites on a first-come-first-served basis, providing ample opportunities for nature enthusiasts to unplug and reconnect with the great outdoors. While backcountry camping is also permitted, please note that there are no developed trails, allowing adventurers to forge their own paths and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the park.

Where to Eat in Terrace

Savoring a satisfying dinner is often the perfect way to cap off a busy day of discovery. For those seeking a culinary treat, here’s a curated selection of top-notch eateries in the charming town of Terrace.

Ninja Sushi

image source

For a satisfying meal on-the-go, Ninja Sushi is an excellent choice, boasting a range of gluten-free options that cater to diverse tastes. Peruse their extensive menu, featuring an assortment of delectable rolls, sushi, sashimi, and cutlets – it’s little wonder why this eatery has earned its reputation as a local favorite.

The Fix Café

Perched on the south side of town, The Fix Cafe is a unique coffee shop that offers more than just a cup of joe. This multi-purpose haven not only serves up a great brew and breakfast option, but also provides bike maintenance services for those looking to get their ride checked or repaired. Whether you’re an avid mountain biker or just visiting the area, make sure The Fix Cafe is on your list of places to check out – especially if you’re planning to hit the trails!

Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse

image source

In the heart of Terrace lies a beer lover’s paradise: the Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse. This family-run microbrewery boasts an impressive selection of handcrafted beers, each one carefully brewed on premises. Step inside and you’ll be enveloped by the warm atmosphere and welcoming staff, making it the ideal spot to unwind (indoors or out on the patio) as you sip on their signature German-style lagers and delectable ciders.

Chef Abhi’s Classic Indian Cuisine

image source

For any lover of authentic Indian cuisine, a visit to Chef Abhi’s Classic Indian Cuisine is an absolute must. What sets this eatery apart from the rest is the evident passion that Chef Abhi brings to every dish they prepare. Not only do they share their culinary creations with gusto, but they also have a special knack for accommodating diverse dietary needs. Our own experience was proof of this, as we enjoyed a meal that was both gluten-free and dairy-free – and utterly scrumptious!

FAQ’s about Visiting Terrace, BC

If you’re planning a trip to northwestern British Columbia, make sure to include a stop in the vibrant mountain town of Terrace. This hidden gem is surrounded by stunning landscapes, from the majestic Skeena River to breathtaking mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the variety of activities on offer, including fishing, hiking, skiing, and more. But what really sets Terrace apart is its rich cultural heritage, particularly its strong ties to First Nations culture. Visit nearby Tsimshian communities or take a day trip to the Nass Valley to discover ancient Lava Beds and four Nisga’a villages. The area offers endless opportunities for adventure, exploration, and immersion in local traditions. Whether you’re seeking thrill-seeking activities or cultural experiences, Terrace is a must-visit destination in British Columbia. With its natural beauty and rich heritage, it’s an unforgettable addition to your travel bucket list.