Prince Rupert is at the center of an amazingly scenic area and has much to offer travelers. Ecotourism has taken off, sport fishing is excellent, and the town is a convenient hub for exploring the sights of the Pacific Northwest. There are many tours including the Museum of Northern British Columbia, Pike Island Archeological Tour, North Pacific Cannery, and a variety of harbor and other activities to keep you busy.
About Prince Rupert
Located on the beautiful North Coast of British Columbia, Prince Rupert (pop.15,000). At the west end of Trans-Canada Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Highway), Prince Rupert is approximately 150 km west of Terrace, and 725 km west of Prince George. It is situated 550 miles north of Vancouver and 40 miles south of southeast Alaska. The area is one of the oldest continuously occupied regions of the world with a vast First Nations history.
The City was incorporated in March 10, 1910. Born from the vision of Charles Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Prince Rupert was chosen as the western terminus of Canada?s second transcontinental railroad . During WWII the city served both Canada and the United States as a strategic military post. An estimated 150,000 Canadian and US troops passed through the city.
The Tsimshian Nation is the indigenous First Nations in the Prince Rupert area. The people of the Northwest Coast have developed their own unique artistic style, and you will find many fine works on display in area museums, galleries and shops. As you will see when you visit, First Nations have a proud history on the northwest coast and have retained and reclaimed their living culture.
The Port of Prince Rupert's strategic location on international trade corridors makes it an essential link in the global transportation and international trade network. Modern terminals, fast turnaround, on-time delivery capabilities, and vast industrial development properties on tidewater open new opportunities for shippers and producers. Superior road and rail connections provide easy access to the entire North American continent. With the deepest harbour in North America and year-round ice-free facilities, the Port of Prince Rupert offers safe harbour and cost-effective advantages to shippers across the globe.
Prince Rupert Attractions
What you can do while in Prince Rupert usually comes down to your preference of activities, how much energy you want to exert and how much time you have on hand.
Below are just a few of the things you can enjoy while in Rupert.
- Cow Bay
Located just 10 minutes from downtown, this area features a walkway alongside the harbor. Unique stores and intimate cafes are housed in restored buildings dating back to the1930's. Savor fresh seafood, quaff an ale or sip tea at harbor side.
Held the second weekend in June, is Prince Rupert's major community " Blow-Out". Celebrating the end of winter, there are four days of parades, dances, flyovers, competitions and general fun and enjoyment. Party on!
- Butze Rapids
Located about six km east of Prince Rupert on Highway 16. The Butze Rapids Trail is a 4.8 km easy going loop that takes hikers through old growth forests. View the Butze Rapids, Prince Rupert?s very own reversing tidal rapids, from this trail. The Grassy Bay Trail ties into the Butze Rapids trail. Interpretive signs are along the trails and there are short steep sections, so children may need assistance. Parking lot on the highway. Please note that wolves are known to frequent the area, so please do not take you dog with you.
- Oliver Lake
Oliver Lake, just outside Prince Rupert, is home to the exotic Bonsai trees reported to be over 125 years old. They have been bent and twisted into their gnarled shape by the soil and the seasons.
- Roosevelt Park
The city's Roosevelt Park was named for the US president, in honor of the 73,000 American servicemen who were stationed in Prince Rupert during the course of the Second World War.
- First Nations Carving Shed
See some of the finest carvers of northwest First Nations art working on copper, silver, gold, cedar and argillite. Argillite is carved exclusively by members of the Haida Nation.
- Sports Fishing
The north coast is legendary for producing big salmon and truly is an angler?s paradise. Ideally located at the mouth of the Skeena River and the beginning of Chatham Sound, Prince Rupert is the perfect jumping off spot to well known hotspots such as Chatham Sound and Work Channel.
- The Skeena
Between the town of Terrace and Prince Rupert, the road is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in the world. Impossible to capture with the amateur's camera, it is magnificent in scale. The Skeena River is wide and mighty, and the mountains on either side rise abruptly from its banks, dizzying in height. Layers of mist often hang in this dramatic valley, adding to the atmosphere of mystery. At the end of the drive, you plunge like the Skeena itself into Prince Rupert.
- Totem Park
Home to some, but not all, of Prince Rupert's totem poles; the city has one of the best collections of totem poles in coastal B.C.
- Sunken Gardens
Originally excavated as the foundation of Court House and used for munitions storage during World War II, has been converted to lovely gardens.
- Pacific Mariners Memorial Park
There are two focal points to this park: one being the mariner's statue and Memorial Walls, the other the Shinto Shrine which was built for the Kazu Maru, a Japanese fishing dingy that drifted across the Pacific Ocean after the disappearance of it's owner. The owner/skipper was from Prince Rupert's sister-city Owase in Japan.
Prince Rupert is the gateway to Southeast Alaska and neighboring north coast villages of Port Edward, Lax Kw?alaams (Port Simpson), Metlakatla, Oona River, Gitkxaahla (Kitkatla), Gitga?ata (Hartley Bay), Kitasoo (Klemtu) and Gingolx (Kincolith). Prince Rupert is also a common jumping-off point for trips to Queen Charlotte Islands as well as to Alaska.
Prince Rupert Tours
Prince Rupert exudes a hard-working, good-natured vigor, and the population is a well-integrated mix of First Nations, Asian, and European-heritage Canadians. You'll experience the palpable sense of being on the northern edge of the world, which gives the city--situated on a series of rock ledges above the broad expanse of the Pacific--a sense of purpose and vitality.
There is float plane, helicopter, ferry and water taxi service between Prince Rupert and most of the smaller communities throughout the region.
- Museum of Northern British Columbia
View exhibits in the Great Hall of the Museum of Northern British Columbia; displays that portray Northwest Coast history and culture dating back to the last ice age. Witness the legacy of oral history, archaeological discoveries and unique artifacts that depict ten thousand years of ancient lifeways. Located on the oceanfront overlooking Prince Rupert Harbor, the museum also reveals the dramatic history of the more recent period, including the power of the fur trade and the heyday of railway construction.
- North Pacific Cannery
Step back in time and enjoy the color and flavor of life at British Columbia's oldest surviving salmon cannery. Visit the old canning lines, then stroll the cedar boardwalks and docks along the river's edge to the messhouse, bunkhouses, cannery store, net loft and offices of the historical North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward. Built in 1889, it was a functioning cannery until 1968, and was declared a National Historic Site in 1985.
- Kwinitsa Station
Built in 1911, Kwinitsa Station was one of 400 identical rail stations along the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert. Today, this fascinating structure is one of only four surviving stations, and serves as the Kwinitsa Station Railway Museum, telling the story of early Prince Rupert and the role of the railway in its development. The Firehall Museum also awaits those wanting to learn about the past.
- Archeological Harbour Tour
Sail through time on an Archaeological Harbour Tour and discover why Prince Rupert has the highest concentration of archaeological sites anywhere in North America. The voyage begins at the Museum for an introduction before setting sail for the First Nations village of Metlakatla, on the Tsimpsean Peninsula. Returning through Venn Passage to Dodge Cove, visitors will hear the incredible 10,000 year history of this engaging cove, from the earliest Tsimshian village to the establishment of a quarantine hospital.
- Heritage Walking Tour
Explore the colorful history of BC's first planned city on a Heritage Walking Tour led by a personality from Prince Rupert's past. This walk, operated by the Museum of Northern BC, includes the telling of local tales and stops at historic points. Escorted bus tours and totem pole tours to see the wonderful examples of aboriginal art are also available.
- Khutzeymateen Valley
Head out to the rugged beauty of the Khutzeymateen Valley, home to one of the largest concentration of Grizzly Bears on the north coast of British Columbia. The Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary is the only park in the world expressly preserved for the protection of grizzly bears. Eco-tours are available to the Khutzeymateen Valley, fifty miles by boat up a long inland fjord, which can truly be an experience of a lifetime. Visit Palmerville Adventures for more information.
- Ocean Fishing/Tours
Ocean sport fishing is available most months of the year in the Prince Rupert area, with the season generally running from late April to late September. Anglers hook chinook salmon averaging 25 to 30 lbs, and some at 40 to 60 lbs, from mid-April to early August. Coho salmon, smaller than chinook but great fighters, come through from mid-July to mid-October. Pink salmon are caught from mid-July to late August and provide excellent angling in years of good returns. The world record chum salmon of 35 lbs was caught in the area in 1995. Halibut fishing is at its peak from May to September, with a complete closure in January. Rockfish are generally available year round, and crabbing for dungeoness crabs is also very popular.
Aerial 'flight seeing' tours are available to Prince Rupert's coastal Ice fields, to the Khutzeymateen Valley of the great Grizzly Bear, to the Alaskan Great Cambria and Salmon Ice fields, and around Kaien Island.
Prince Rupert is establishing itself as a premier sea kayaking destination. Paddling spots include Porcher Island, the Mystery Islands, Melville Islands, Work Channel (paddle with whales), and Khutzeymateen Inlet for grizzly bear viewing. Special spring trips run to the Nass River to paddle with the Oolichan and eagles. Kayaks are a snap to learn and easy to paddle. Guided trips out of Prince Rupert last anywhere from 3 hours to 7 days. Rent a kayak from Cow Bay and explore nearby islands and the inner harbor. Experienced and novice paddlers are welcome, and lessons are available.
- Pike Island
First Nations guides will lead you on the five-hour Pike Island/Laxspa?aws Archaeology Tour of the 1,800-year-old sites. The scenic, secluded, and forested Pike Island features three village sites and a petroglyph site on the beach.
- Nature Walks
Nature walks and hiking trails are found through the area and within the city limits. City trails are one to two kilometers long, and range from gentle wooded strolls to vigorous hikes. The Butze Rapids Trail near the city features a view of reversing tidal rapids, and Kinsmen's Linear Park offers a system of 10 nature trails in and around the city. Hiking maps are available at the Visitor Info Center and the Forest Service office.
Weather in Prince Rupert
The average temperature is about 70F (20C) in July and 28F (-2.2C) in January. The area gets around 93.3 inches (236.9 cm) of rain annually.
Free Prince Rupert Travel Guide
The official, seasonal guide will help you plan your Prince Rupert visit. You can also contact the Prince Rupert tourism office at 1-800-667-1994 for the latest events and offers.