Inside Passage and Skeena Train
I love this itinerary! Travel is by coach, train and ferries making the transportation as varied as the terrain. The scenery will change dramatically as you move from the interior of BC’s grasslands to the wet coastal regions and the spectacular Inside Passage.
Starting in the interior, you will travel north on Highway 97 to Ashcroft Manor for lunch. The Manor, part of the historic Ashcroft Ranch, was built in 1862 as a roadhouse to serve travellers on the Cariboo Wagon Road and is still serving home style eats to travellers today.
We will make a short photo stop at Painted Chasm Provincial Park. Here the walls of Chasm Creek Valley display tones of red, brown and yellow from successive lava flows that form the steep lava layered canyon walls.
After a restful night, we continue our drive north through the beautiful ranchlands of the Cariboo to the historic town of Barkerville. This well preserved historic town is named after Billy Barker, one of the first to discover gold here. We have included a performance in the Theatre Royal.
In Fort Fraser we will board the Skeena Train and travel across the Interior Plateau to Prince Rupert on the Coast. The Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary is sure to be a highlight on your visit to this area. We will spend a day cruising the shoreline and learning about the Grizzly and marine life that inhabit the area.
Next stop, the Inside Passage. In 1993, I had the opportunity to live and work with the crew on the MV Queen of the North for 7 days as she travelled daily back and forth from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert in the summer months. The “Queen” had an information centre on board that I manned for a few hours each day to help travellers finalize their plans once they reached the mainland. What fun I had living on board, enjoying delicious food and travelling the Inside Passage every day. There is always something interesting to see as you travel through this passage. The coastal mountains and glacier cut fjords provide a beautiful backdrop for the waterway. Eagles soaring and diving was an everyday occurrence, and most days we saw dolphins or whales. Next to the beautiful scenery and marine life, the highlight for me was the interaction with the passengers. They were from all over the world and their questions about BC ran the full spectrum.
Here are some examples of the more humorous ones:
Are there paved roads in the interior of BC?
How deep will the snow be in Prince Rupert?
Where on the ship could they buy the food to feed the whales?
What time would I be calling the whales?
Could they feed the eagles?
What time did the dolphins show up?
I have sailed up and down the Inside Passage numerous times since my week working on the MV Queen of the North and would never hesitate to go again. This is one journey that you don’t want to miss.
Written by: Joan Niemeier