Kitsumkalum Lake Road
From Terrace the exceptionally scenic Kitsumkalum (Kalum) Lake Road heads north into a largely undeveloped hinterland. Viewpoint after viewpoint reveals extensive views over the valley and west to the glacial peaks. The Kitsukalum road is surfaced only as far as Rosswood (51 km / 32 mi), a small settlement at the northern end of Kitsumkalum Lake.
At Rosswood the Kalum Lake Road meets the Nass Road, a graveled logging road belonging to the Skeena Cellulose Company. The Nass Road is open to private vehicles but the big timber trucks, usually traveling at speed, always have right of way (keep headlights on and take avoiding action!). Black bear, moose, deer, Rocky Mountain goats and beaver are a common sight in this area. Look out also for the rare and seldom seen kermodei bear.
Past the Nass Camp logging station the road eventually meets (after 138 km / 86 mi) the now tarmacked Stewart Cassiar Highway (Hwy. 37), principal route from British Columbia to Alaska. - A map of the Nass River region is available from the Terrace Chamber of Commerce.From the road-end the detour can be extended by taking the Stewart Cassiar Hwy. north over Bear Pass to Stewart (147 km / 91 mi). Alternatively follow Hwy. 37 south again for 86 km / 53 mi, passing the Indian villages of Kitwancool and Kitwanga, to rejoin the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy. 16) north-east of Terrace.From Bear Pass the road follows the narrow, deeply incised valley of the Bear River to the small town of Stewart, situated at the head of a 145 km / 90 mi long fiord known as the Portland Canal down the center of which runs the Canadian-Alaskan (US) frontier. The harbor here, the most northerly on the Pacific coast of Canada, remains ice-free throughout the year and is a ferry stop for the "Alaska Marine Highway".With worthwhile deposits of gold, silver and copper in the surrounding, over 2000 m / 6550 ft high mountains, Stewart started life at the beginning of the century as a mining town, its fortunes being closely linked to raw materials prices. In its short heyday around 1910 the population grew to over 10,000, but after the Second World War fell to below 20.The town's chequered history is recorded in the old Fire Station. Quite a number of films have been made on location in Stewart, and in the exceptionally attractive country around it.
Lava Lake (Tseax Lava Beds)
64 km (40 mi.) along the Nass Road Lava Lake lies contained by the Tseax lava stream. When the volcano (8 km (5 mi.) further east) erupted sometime in the 18th c., lava poured into the Nass River Valley, diverting the river northwards. Since then there have been no more eruptions.The actual lava stream is another 14 km (81/2 mi.) beyond Lava Lake itself. This area, known as the Tseax Lava Beds, remains largely denuded of vegetation, colonized only by lichens. As the lava cooled innumerable fissures, hollows and little lakes appeared. The expert eye can identify various different kinds of lava formation.
After 94 km (58 mi.) Greenville Road branches off left to Canyon City (8 km (5 mi.)). Here the Nass River has cut deeply into the lava and the settlement can only be entered on foot across a swaying suspension bridge.The side road ends at the remote Nishga Indian village of Greenville (population 1000).Canyon city is just a little village but is set in a beautiful scenic spot on the river with the mountains in behind. The suspesion bridge adds to the atmosphere.
New Aiyansh is now the main Nishga settlement, dating back only to 1958 when the road was laid. Note the richly decorated Tribal Council Hall and ornate totem poles. Permission can be obtained from the Band office to wander down to the river bank for a glimpse of the abandoned village of Old Aiyansh on the further side. It was founded by an Anglican missionary in 1885.