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City of Smithers

Airport View

Sking

Seaton Ridge

Seven Sister

 

bulletPopulation – 6 145; regional service center for approximately 20,000;
bulletLatitude – N 54* 49’ 29” Longitude - W127* 10’ 58”
bulletSituated in northwestern British Columbia 370 km (222 miles) west of Prince George; and, 350 km (218 miles) east of Prince Rupert on the Pacific Ocean. Smithers is 1150 km (690 miles) north of Vancouver BC;
bulletLocated directly on the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway (Route 16);
bulletElevation 494 meters/1 621 ft;
bulletRelatively warmer and drier than mountainous areas to the west; July average temperature is 14 C/59 F; January is –10 C/14 F; average annual precipitation 325 mm/13 inches;
bulletSmithers sits in the Bulkley River valley between the Hudson Bay Mountain range to the west and the Babine Mountain range to the east;
bulletBecause of its alpine environment, the town has adopted an ‘alpine theme’. Main Street was reconstructed in 1979 with red brick sidewalks and alpine style rooflines on buildings and shops;
 
bulletThe surrounding mountains and valleys are heavily forested and timber extraction is a major economic resource of the area. The coniferous forests are dominated by lodgepole pine, spruce and sub-arctic balsam fir. Deciduous trees include aspen, birch and cottonwood.
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Smithers Main Street Camera

 

History

Europeans didn't arrive in the area until lured by the fur trade in the early 1800's. The gold rush brought the next influx of treasure-hunters to the valley, and in an attempt to connect the northern gold fields with Seattle and San Francisco, a telegraph was constructed through the region in mid-century.

Although construction was abandoned in Hazelton in 1866, the telegraph remained  in use here until the 1930's. The Bulkley Valley takes its name from the superintendent of the construction project, Charles S. Bulkley.

The city of Smithers was created by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad in an attempt to thwart land speculators. Realizing the company needed to build  a stop midway between Prince George and Prince Rupert, speculators purchased property around Telkwa and Hazelton, and the railway retaliated by building  the city of Smithers in the meadows below Hudson Bay Mountain.

It wasn't until the arrival of the railroad that the farming, ranching, and  logging potential of the valley could be realized.

Things To Do

bullet Bulkley Valley Museum has some fascinating railroad paraphernalia, including a hand-operated vehicle designed for carrying one person. The museum has also preserved historic area newspapers on microfiche. Open Mon. to Fri. - 10 to 5.
bulletCommunity Forest. Offers an Interpretive Nature Trail that is approximately 3.5 km long. The trail is on Hudson Bay Mountain adjacent to the ski area.
bulletDriftwood Canyon Provincial Park is a treasure hunters delight. But  don't bother looking for gold, silver or gems. Striking it rich along Driftwood Creek means uncovering Glytostrobus, Metasequoia or Cercopidae—the fossilized  remains of plants, animals and insects that died 48 million years ago. Driftwood  Creek fossil beds attract many enthusiastic visitors each year. The site has  a viewing platform, interpretive information, picnic area and a large talus  pile where visitors can hunt for fossils. Although visitors are encouraged  to enjoy the site, it is illegal to remove fossils from a provincial park.  Visitors who find fossils are encouraged to bring them to the parks office  for identification. Collectors will be allowed to keep common fossils. Rarer ones will be sent to the Royal Provincial Museum in Victoria. Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park - day use only - is located 13.5 km/8.3 miles northeast of Smithers. There is an easy 300 meter trail to the fossil beds.
bulletKathlyn Glacier, a remnant from the ice age. A steep climb which takes about 3 hours will bring you fairly close to the glacier.
bulletPerimeter Trail. A multipurpose public trail system around the perimeter of Smithers connects with Riverside Park, the Bull-dey River, the Smithers  Golf Course, residential area, neighborhood parks, and the commercial core.
bulletTwin Falls - Glacier Gulch. Many years ago, a mighty glacier crunched out a mile wide gulch into the mountains where Smithers lies today. It left a spectacular canyon graced with two beautiful waterfalls cascading down its walls.

Allow 30 min. to drive the 10 km from town and about 45 min. for hiking. Follow the 1/4 mile rocky path and you will reach a lookout platform where  you will view both falls as they descend from the glacier.

Check at Smithers Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Main St. and Hwy 16 for more information.