The small town of Iskut, situated in Northern British Columbia, has historically been populated by the Tahltan First Nations People. The Tahltan People have lived on the banks of the Stikine River for centuries, surviving from their hunting and trapping skills. In 1958, when a lighting fire struck Iskut causing great devastation, many locals appropriately nicknamed the town ‘Barrage Burn'. Today Iskut residents claim the huckleberry bushes which cover the burn constitute the largest patch in the province. These days Iskut is known for its superb outdoor recreation opportunities and its breathtaking location, situated between Mount Edizza Park and Spatsizi Plateau Park.
Iskut is located on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway 37, 65 km (40 mi) south of Dease Lake.
This nearby vast park is the second largest in the province and is extremely popular amongst hikers, paddlers and wilderness campers. To access the park, turn east off Highway 37 onto the Ealue Lake Road at Tatogga Lake, follow the road for 22 km, crossing over the Klappan River. Continue down the gravel road for 112km, the road is rough but accessible for most vehicles. From here the only way to continue into the park is on foot, horseback or canoe. While walk-in camping is permitted the park provides limited facilities so visitors must come prepared. At Cold Fish Lake, in the park, there are 6 cabins for use, which are on a first come basis. Spatsizi Plateau Provincial Park has over 160 km (99 mi) of trails for hikers to explore and boasts a wide variety of wildlife including moose, grizzly and black bears, beavers and more than 140 species of birds.
Mount Edizia Provincial Park is incredibly remote and inaccessible. This magnificent park has vast volcanic landscapes and an elevation of over 2,790 meters. The scenery is stunning and awe inspiring for those who make the adventurous journey into the park. The park has no vehicle access and is typically accessed by horseback, floatplane or helicopter. Anyone wishing to enter the park by these means must obtain a letter of authority from the district office in Smithers. There are overland hikes into the park, however unless you are an experienced backcountry hiker, most people will go accompanied with an experienced guide. Wilderness camping is allowed although no facilities are provided, those who camp must be prepared to be self sufficient.
The Stikine River has historically provided the Tahltan First Nations People with their livelihood, centred on the rich ecosystem of the river. This narrow park hugs the Stikine River and has over 80 km (50 mi) of steep-walled canyon, which has formed after years of river erosion. While kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on the upper Stikine River, it is not permitted in the Grand Canyon of the Stikine unless you are with an experienced guide as this area is extremely dangerous. Many of the Iskut aboriginal people use their wilderness skills as guides for raft trips down the Stikine River. Fishing and wildlife viewing are also popular; visitors can often see wolves, bears, hoary marmots and mountain goats.
Situated about 100km (62 mi) south of Iskut is the Iskut River Hot Springs Provincial Park. This protected park, with several hot springs, is only accessible by boat or helicopter; the trails are limited which makes foot access challenging.
Iskut is proud to have the largest huckleberry patch in British Columbia as a result of a huge fire, which devastated the region almost fifty years ago. The local bears can frequently be spotted digging into a huckleberry feast, preparing for their winter hibernation.
Iskut is well known for its many rivers and lakes, which provide excellent paddling conditions for both whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking. There are a number of river rafting companies who offer treks through Iskut's vast wilderness. Experienced paddlers enjoy the challenge of the Stikine River, although some parts do require a local guide. Spatsizi Provincial Park also has a number of lakes, which are perfect for canoeing or kayaking.
There are many hiking opportunities in the area surrounding Iskut. The Spatsizi Provincial Park has over 160 km (99 mi) of hiking trails and the Stikine River Provincial Park is also popular amongst hiking enthusiasts. However foot access to the Mount Edizia Provincial Park is limited and requires the expertise of a local wilderness guide.
Iskut and the surrounding area are known for their abundance of magnificent wildlife. Visitors have the opportunity to view many animals in their natural habitats, such as grizzly and black bears, moose, caribou, wolves, beavers and over 140 species of birds.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia