Route:Prince Rupert-Prince George-Mount Robson PP-Jasper-Edmonton-Saskatoon-WinnipegThe modern Yellowhead Highway (TransCanada Highway 16), the most northerly road link to Canada's Pacific coast, extends for almost 3000 km (1864 mi.) from Prince Rupert on the west coast of British Columbia to Winnipeg. For the most part the well-surfaced road follows the traditional routes taken by fur trappers, prospectors and the early settlers.
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Mount Robson Provincial Park
The Yellowhead Highway makes its way along the upper course of the Fraser River and deep into the Rocky Mountains, crossing as it does so the Mt Robson Provincial Park (2200 sq. km (850 sq. mi.); west entrance, information center and campground 10 km (6 mi.) east of Tête Jaune Cache), another area of breathtaking scenery close to the border with Alberta and a favorite with hikers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts generally.Adjoined by the Jasper National Park to the east of Yellowhead Pass (77 km (48 mi.)), Mount Robson Provincial Park takes its name from the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mt Robson (3954 m (12977 ft)). This magnificent mountain landscape with its waterfalls, lonely tarns and glacier-capped peaks (including one of the few still advancing glaciers in the Canadian Rockies) was designated a provincial park as long ago as 1913. Even in those days mountaineers and tourists were drawn to the area undeterred by the distances involved.One of the most popular hikes here is the 25 km (16 mi.) trail through the "Valley of the Thousand Falls" (Robson River Valley) to the lovely turquoise lake which nestles at the foot of the glacier-clad Mt Robson.Other beauty spots along the Highway before it begins its climb to Yellowhead Pass are the Overlander Falls, Moose Lake (moose can often be seen on the swampy east shore) and Yellowhead Lake.
Yellowhead Pass was an old Indian trade route that had been used for hundreds of years to cross the Rocky Mountains. It eventually became the Yellowhead Highway.
The small town of Kitimat (altitude 35 m / 115 ft); population 10,000, has been in existence only since the 1950s. In 1951 Alcan (the Aluminium Company of Canada) began constructing a huge aluminum smelter, now the second largest in the western world. The project came just at the right moment to exploit the area's enormous hydro-electric potential.Extending 100 km / 62 mi inland the deep Douglas Channel gives giant ocean-going freighters access to Kitimat's ice-free harbor.Other companies besides Alcan have located here to take advantage of the cheap energy.It is possible to see round the Alcan plant by joining one of the company's 90 minute "Alcan Smelter Tours".The Eurocan Pulp and Paper Complex, which came into operation in 1967, and the chemical firm Ocelot (1981; petro-chemicals, natural gas conversion to methanol and ammonia) provide interesting guided tours as well.Also worth seeing in and around Kitimat are the Moore Creek Falls, the massive 500-year-old Sitka spruce (diameter of trunk: 3.5 m / 12 ft) in Radley Park, the Kitimat Centennial Museum (town history, pioneer period, Haisla Indian culture), the Moore Creek Falls, and Kitimat Village (on the east bank of the Douglas, 13 km / 8 mi south of Kitimat; traditional Haisla community, Indian crafts).
Fraser Lake, Canada
For many years Fraser Lake (altitude 786 m (2580 ft)) consisted of just a railway halt and sawmill. Today most of the inhabitants are employed at the Endako Mine, 22 km (14 mi.) to the south-west.The Fraser Lake Museum is located at the Visitor Information Center. The museum offers displays on the history of the Fraser Lake area.The town also has a numer of beaches. On the north side of Fraser Lake are pictographs and there is also hiking in the area. Check at the visitor center for a list of activities in the area.
At Moricetown Canyon the Bulkley River suddenly narrows from almost 500 m (1640 ft) to a mere 15 m (49 ft), becoming a seething rapids in the process. During the salmon season Carrier Indians can be seen fishing at Moricetown Canyon in their traditional way.At the Moricetown Interpretive Centre visitors can learn about the history of the area through historical photographs and artifacts. There is also a campground and RV Park for people wanting to stay in the area for a while.
A short distance beyond Tête Jaune Cache on the Yellowhead Highway, the Rearguard Falls can be seen from a vantage point barely fifteen minutes walk from the Highway. Although some 1200 km (745 mi.) from the river mouth near Vancouver, these upper reaches of the Fraser nevertheless carry a considerable volume of water which here cascades down a low escarpment. In August leaping salmon can be seen tackling this final obstacle on the long journey to their spawning grounds.The area around here is very scenic and worth a stop to see the Rearguard Falls.
At Tête Jaune Cache Hwy. 5 - also known (confusingly) as the Yellowhead South Highway - branches south off Hwy. 16 and makes a good route through to Kamloops and the TransCanada Highway from the Yellowhead Highway.