Seeking Route Ideas - Peace Arch to Prince Rupert (July, 2019)

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Jedi

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Advocate I

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Hello my OB family to the North,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Prince of Wales Island via the Prince Rupert ferry to Ketchikan. I am seeking information on the trek between the Peace Arch border crossing and Prince Rupert. Specifically some "must see" attractions, grand trails, and great camping spots.

Thanks!
 

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Traveler I

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Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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I suppose it depends on how direct a route you want and what sort of attractions you want to see. Vancouver is a beautiful city with lots of interesting things to do and see, but if you're interested more in wild, outdoor, natural type stuff, you're maybe better off going east through the fraser valley. Let me know what sort of things you're interested in seeing and I'll probably be able to give you some great routes and sites.
 

Jedi

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Advocate I

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Ferndale, WA USA
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Brian
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McClory
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I am looking for more outdoors/natural/ghost town type locations as well as interesting roadside stops that highlight the culture and traditions of BC.
 

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All right then. I would suggest driving on HWY 1 up the Fraser valley to Chilliwack. There are a ton of old FSR's up in there, as well as two gorgeous lakes, if you don't mind a side trip. Then if you go on to Hope, you can visit the Othello Tunnels, which is an absolutely spectacular hike through some old train tunnels. Then I would recommend traveling up the famous Fraser Canyon - it's centuries of history piled on top of itself. You could visit a lot of the spots I did on my day trip like The Lady Franklin, Old Alexandra Bridge, The Alexandra Lodge and graveyard, the old sections of highway and the old Hell's Gate tunnel, Spuzzum, North Bend, etc. Some really spectacular scenery up there. If you keep to the right highway fork at Spences Bridge and look out for the first dirt road on your left after you cross the river, there's a track that goes way further up the canyon and leads to an old ghost town with an abandoned church called St. Aidan of Pokhaist. It's really cool. I tried to go there on our last trip but we got diverted by a flat. The road looks like it doesn't go anywhere on google, but it does clearly, if you check the satelite. Unfortunately I can't tell you whether there are gates or anything. I've seen pics of people at the church in their 4x4s, so it's probably open.

There's also the most iconic of all BC 4x4 tracks, the famous Whipsaw Trail. That's off of Hwy 3, the Hope Princeton, so that's the other direction from Hwy 1 and the Fraser Canyon. Perhaps do a loop and hit it on the way back, or on the way in. Whipsaw is rated as a moderate trail that takes about 2-3 days to complete. It has some abandoned buildings and a lot of history, as well as a gorgeous camp spot about midway at a lake. That one is on my bucket list for sure.

If you have time for a lengthy detour, the incredible modern ghost town of Kitsault is not super far from the road to prince rupert. I believe it's about 3h on a dirt road out of Terrace. It's a mining town that was abruptly shut down in 1982 when the price of molybdenum (the ore they were mining nearby) bottomed out and the US company that owned it shut the town and kicked everyone out. The thing was, they left the power on, and the town ended up being bought in 2005 by a millionare who wanted to make it into first a retreat for intellectuals, and then an LNG hub, but none of that panned out. Word on the street is that if you ask the caretakers nicely and they don't think you're hooligans, they'll give you a tour. The ghost town of Alice Arm is right across the bay from Kitsault.

If you have time, you may also want to pay a visit to Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. It's about a 5 hour ferry ride out of Prince Rupert, I believe.

If I think of any other spots, I'll post more. Good luck to you! :)
 
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Oh! Another potential route I was going to suggest, and one which is very historical as well is the old Douglas Road, known as West Harrison FSR for a time. It shows up part of the way as Morris Valley Rd on google maps. It runs along the west side of Harrison Lake, and can take you all the way to Pemberton from Harrison Mills at the south end.

The Douglas Road was a patchwork of steamers, wagon roads and little ferries that was originally envisioned as a safer alternative to the then treacherous Fraser Canyon route. There once was a town, now a ghost town site with barely anything left, called Port Douglas at the north tip of Harrison Lake, and steamers brought gold seekers all the way up the Fraser River from Vancouver to dock there. Along the route there are some nice hot springs called Sloquet Hot Springs. At this moment, there are two major washouts blocking the route, however they can be bypassed with water crossings at certain times of the year, and they are being repaired. Word on the street is they'll be fixed by spring so hopefully you'll be good to go.

From Pemberton, you would have the option of either going north on the 99 or you could take the famous Hurley Pass to Bralorne and Gold Bridge, then skirt the north edge of Carpenter Lake and see the Terzaghi Dam at the eastern end before connecting back down through Lillooet to 99. That would be a long detour through a LOT of back country.
 
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Traveler I

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If you take the Fraser canyon route you gotta hit the hells gate tram, there’s a little museum on the other side that gives history about the canyon. Highway 99 from Vancouver takes you up through Squamish, whistler and pemberton, all three have a ton of outdoor activity’s to partake in, the Hurley fsr from pemberton or the highline road, both take you to carpenter lake. If you have time, and a capable rig, the Alexander Mackenzie trail from Quesnel to Anaheim lake, then through to burns lake, or to Bella coola and take the ferry to Rupert.
 
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