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Explore British Columbias North Coast: Visiting Kitimat

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As we concluded our incredible Northern BC road trip adventure, Kitimat emerged as a true gem, offering an unparalleled blend of natural splendor, industrial heritage, and outdoor excitement. This charming town is a treasure trove of experiences, awaiting discovery by anyone seeking an unforgettable vacation. From the rugged coastline to local cuisine, there’s no shortage of ways to indulge in this scenic community. My travels were made possible through the kind invitation of the Northern BC Tourism Association, who facilitated our journey along the Inside Passage Ferry and Northwest BC roads, visiting Prince Rupert, Terrace, Nass Valley, Kitimat, and Stewart. With comprehensive travel guides chronicling every step of my adventure, I invite you to follow along on this unforgettable odyssey, which took us from Prince Rupert via ferry, through Northeast British Columbia to Terrace and the Nass Valley, before finally arriving in Kitimat. The itinerary for our grand tour is yours to explore, a testament to the unbridled beauty and charm that awaits in Northern BC.

About Kitimat

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Along British Columbia’s rugged coastline lies the quaint town of Kitimat, home to approximately 8,200 residents. Situated at the head of Douglas Channel and adjacent to the Kitimat River, this charming community boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. While its natural beauty is undeniable, Kitimat’s story is deeply rooted in industry and human connection.

For centuries, the Haisla people have thrived in harmony with the land and waterways, practicing traditional activities like fishing, hunting, and gathering that remain integral to their way of life. This rich indigenous history and culture permeate every aspect of Kitimat’s identity.

The town’s industrial heritage began when Alcan planned and built it in the 1950s to accommodate workers at the local aluminum smelter. Rio Tinto later acquired the facility, drawing people from around the world. As a result, Kitimat became a vibrant melting pot of cultures. Today, the town is once again poised for significant growth with the construction of LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas facility, the largest industrial project in Canada.

How to get to Kitimat

Arriving in Kitimat is a relatively straightforward process, offering various transportation options that cater to diverse traveler preferences and styles. The most common methods for reaching this destination are outlined below.

By Car

A Canadian road trip wouldn’t be complete without a scenic drive to Kitimat. Take in the breathtaking mountain vistas as you cruise down the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) from Prince George. As you approach Terrace, take a left onto Highway 37 and let the charm of small towns and stunning landscapes unfold before your eyes. The journey is just as memorable as the destination, so be sure to take in the sights and sounds along the way.

By Air

From Vancouver and other northern BC airports, you can easily fly into the Northwest Regional Airport (YXT) that serves Kitimat and Terrace. Located 56 km from Kitimat, this airport offers multiple daily flights to and from Vancouver, making it a convenient option for travelers. Major airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Hawkair, and Central Mountain Air operate several direct daily flights, providing you with a range of travel options.

Things to do In Kitimat

Indulge in a plethora of experiences in Kitimat, where you can delve into the region’s rich history, unwind amidst stunning natural scenery, or explore the numerous hiking trails on offer. To begin, let’s focus on the many indoor pursuits that await in this charming town!

Tour The Kitimat Museum

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The Kitimat Museum is an ideal starting point to delve into the town’s rich history and culture. Upon entering, visitors are immediately immersed in a two-story experience that showcases the region’s fascinating past and wildlife. The ground floor serves as a timeline of Kitimat’s development, featuring artifacts and exhibits that transport you back in time. Meanwhile, the upper level hosts a rotating exhibit that changes every couple of months, offering something new to discover each visit. During our trip, we were thrilled to see beautifully crafted items on display by local artisans from Kitimat. Additionally, the museum proudly showcases a curated collection of Haisla heritage artifacts in its upstairs gallery, including pieces held in trust for the Haisla Nation. The museum’s commitment to preserving and sharing these cultural treasures is truly commendable. With year-round hours and donation-based admission, there’s no excuse not to stop by and explore this hidden gem.

Admire Art at Local Galleries & Artisans

Immerse yourself in Kitimat’s rich cultural heritage by exploring its vibrant art scene. The Sammy Robinson Gallery showcases stunning works crafted from wood, gold, and silver, offering a unique glimpse into the Haisa culture. Similarly, the Blackfish Gallery specializes in First Nations art, allowing you to appreciate the intricate details of each piece while gaining insight into the traditions of the region’s indigenous people. As you wander through Kitimat’s downtown area, be sure to pop into various shops featuring handmade items from local artisans and artists. These eclectic boutiques are a treasure trove of creative expression, providing further opportunities to connect with the community’s unique cultural identity.

Outdoor Activities in Kitimat

Kitimat’s breathtaking natural scenery is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of year-round adventures that cater to all skill levels. From sunrise hikes to midnight stargazing sessions, the opportunities for exploration are endless. Despite having spent ample time discovering the great outdoors in Kitimat, I still found myself eager to venture out again and again. Here’s a glimpse into some of my top picks for outdoor activities in this stunning region.

Visit the Largest Living Sitka Spruce

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In any Kitimat travel plan, the Giant Spruce Park trail should be a non-negotiable inclusion. Despite its brevity, this 0.6 km path offers an unforgettable experience for visitors and locals alike. The real pièce de résistance is the remains of BC’s largest living Sitka Spruce, which stands proudly in the Kitimat River estuary. As the largest tree of its kind, it’s a natural wonder that has captivated the hearts of many. The ancient giant, estimated to be around 600 years old, may have started showing signs of decline, but its sheer scale and age still evoke a sense of awe in those who lay eyes on it. It’s an experience that lingers long after the visit is over.

Marvel at Moore Creek Falls

Moore Creek Waterfall offers a brief yet breathtaking experience. With its proximity to the parking lot – just a 2-minute stroll away – this natural wonder is easily accessible to everyone. Although it’s no longer possible to descend to the waterfall’s base due to the installation of a perimeter fence, visitors can still appreciate its beauty from a safe distance.

Minette Bay West Park

Nestled amidst the picturesque coastal mountains, Minette Bay West Park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The park’s trails along the water’s edge are a treat for nature lovers, with remnants of old boats serving as a poignant reminder of the area’s rich history. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the recreational area provides a covered space right by the water’s edge, complete with modern amenities like bathrooms and fire pits. As the sun sets, gather ’round one of these cozy fire pits to enjoy an evening under the stars.

Take a Hike!

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Kitimat and its surrounding areas boast an impressive array of hiking trails, catering to varying levels of experience and appetite for adventure. From leisurely strolls to more challenging treks, there’s a trail waiting to be explored.The Maggie’s Point Trail, also known as the Gazebo Trail, is a short but sweet 15-minute jaunt that culminates in a stunning gazebo overlooking the Douglas Channel. Be prepared for a muddy journey, even on warm days, and don’t forget to take in the serene surroundings at the gazebo – perfect for a snack or quiet wildlife viewing.For those seeking a moderate hiking experience, the Pine Creek Trail is an excellent choice. This 3.5 km trail meanders through Kitimat’s enchanting mossy forests, though be warned that some sections may not be well-maintained.The Coho Flats Trail, located just 1.4 km outside of town, offers a scenic lookout over the water and is an easy hike suitable for dog owners who’ll appreciate the opportunity to let their furry friends swim in the river.Lastly, the Robinson Lake Trail is a longer but highly rewarding option at 7.7 km. After a short climb, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking lake, ideal for a mid-hike dip. As always, it’s essential to exercise caution and be bear-aware when venturing into Kitimat’s great outdoors.

Take a Hot Springs Tour

Nothing beats unwinding in natural hot springs amidst the breathtaking scenery of northern British Columbia. If you’re ever in Kitimat, consider joining Rob from Northern BC Jet Boat Tours for a rejuvenating hot springs tour. His expertise is second to none, as we experienced firsthand during our previous adventure in Prince Rupert.

This unique experience takes you on a journey to four stunning coastal hot springs – Bishop Bay Hot Springs, Shearwater Hot Springs, and Weewanie Hot Springs – each offering a one-of-a-kind relaxation experience.

Go Fishing!

For me, one of the most enticing experiences was unfortunately cut short – a fishing charter with Blue Heron Charters in their 24-foot vessel, navigating the Douglas Channel in pursuit of halibut, salmon, rockfish, cod, Dungeness Crabs, or spot prawns. The trip offers a unique chance to reel in some prized catches. Meanwhile, the Kitimat Lodge presents an array of water-based activities for visitors, providing options between guided freshwater, saltwater, and fly-fishing excursions.

Where to Stay in Kitimat

In the small town of approximately 8,000 residents, the selection of accommodations may appear restricted at first glance. Nevertheless, with advance planning, travelers can discover a range of inviting bed and breakfast establishments, cozy lodges, modern hotels, and scenic campgrounds to suit their needs.

M Star Hotel

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As we continued on our journey, we chose to base ourselves at a comfortable hotel. The M Star Hotel proved to be an excellent choice, offering a central location and all the amenities we required. One of its greatest advantages was the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, which allowed us to complete some essential tasks while still taking in the breathtaking mountain vistas from our room’s window.

Where to Eat in Kitimat

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In this charming small town, I discovered a delightful array of restaurants, each offering its own unique culinary experience. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick coffee fix or a leisurely evening out, there’s something to suit every taste. My personal favorites include…


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The quaint Rosario’s restaurant proved to be an ideal spot for unwinding after a day spent exploring the great outdoors. Amidst its cozy atmosphere, patrons can indulge in a variety of gluten-free options such as wraps and chicken strips, as well as fresh fish and chips, served with a side of local beer on tap.

Two Peaks Brewing

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Step into Two Peak Brewing and you’ll discover a haven that serves up not only an impressive lineup of craft beers from local breweries, but also a satisfying array of classic pub fare to accompany your pint. Unwind on one of the two cozy indoor levels or bask in the sun on the spacious outdoor patio, perfect for socializing with friends or simply enjoying some well-deserved me-time.

FAQs About Kitimat, BC

Kitimat’s rugged charm and abundance of outdoor activities make it an attractive destination for adventure seekers and those seeking a tranquil retreat. As I wrapped up my northwestern British Columbia road trip, Kitimat proved to be the perfect finale. The town offers a plethora of opportunities to connect with nature, from thrilling fishing excursions to soothing dips in coastal hot springs and wildlife viewing in its natural habitats. If you’re looking for a mix of adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a chance to unwind in an unforgettable setting, Kitimat’s unique blend is sure to captivate. So why delay? Begin planning your trip today and uncover the many wonders this one-of-a-kind destination has in store.