As the gateway to BC's Northwest Coast, Prince Rupert is where all great adventures begin.
Perched along the northwestern shore of Kaien Island just south of the Alaskan border, Prince Rupert may be a bustling Pacific fishing and shipping hub but it’s also the definition of remote. Reached via a short bridge from the mainland, a ferry from Vancouver Island’s Port Hardy, or an airport on the neighbouring island, you can’t get up much further if you’re looking for the ultimate wild coast getaway. There is an abundance of wildlife here—from grizzly bears and spawning salmon to bald eagles and humpback whales—so be prepared to pull out your binoculars and take it in.
When exploring a new place, gaining a deeper understanding of the people who shaped it, and how it shaped its people, is always worth the price of admission. The Museum of Northern BC showcases the oral traditions, key artifacts and contemporary artworks of the Tsimshian First Nations, who have lived in this area for ten thousand years. It also cracks open the volatile histories of the fur trade, railway and fishing industries in Prince Rupert.
As Canada’s first grizzly bear protected habit, this provincial park is very special. Jointly run by BC Parks and the Tsimshian First Nation, the main goal is to keep this undisturbed river estuary safe from human development of any kind so the bears—and all the other creatures—can thrive. Catch a limited summer boat tour out to Khutzeymateen Inlet to watch grizzlies feast along the shoreline amongst the tall sedge grass without disturbing them.
Up here the wild, rugged landscapes are huge, untouched and oftentimes inaccessible…unless you have wings. Once you climb into one of these tiny flightseeing floatplanes, exploring the expansive wilderness and rain-battered coastline that surrounds Prince Rupert doesn’t seem so implausible. There are several local companies with a variety of tours that include visits to tiny, remote coastal communities, dense cedar-covered archipelagos, and wildlife spotting (think orca whales). From the air, you can see it all.
Thanks to its oceanic climate and the fact that it’s located in a temperate rainforest, Prince Rupert is Canada’s wettest city. Known as the "City of Rainbows," it only gets 1,230 hours of sunshine per year, but the seasons are mild (temperatures rarely dip below 0°C). When planning a trip, aim for the driest month (August) and try to avoid the wettest (October)—temperatures don’t fluctuate much, so it’s mainly about staying dry.