There has been some debate over the years as to the Origin of the name Telkwa; however it is commonly accepted that Telkwa is a native term meaning the "meeting of the waters" and describes the picturesque joining of the Bulkley and Telkwa Rivers in the heart of the town. The history of Telkwa has also ebbed and flowed with the dramatic changes of the community with the Telegraph Trail, the rush of settlers at the turn of the Century, and the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
In 1914 Telkwa suffered a major fire and many of the downtown buildings were destroyed. Although the efforts to rebuild started immediately, many businesses were expanding and moved to the new Grand Trunk Pacific town site of Smithers.
Today a number of buildings remain as a tribute to Telkwa's heritage and tell the stories of pioneering in the Bulkley Valley. Located on Highway 16 in downtown Telkwa stands the first pioneer church, St. Stephen's Anglican Church, which was built in 1910 and serviced by the "traveling parson". The first main Telkwa school house, built in 1920, also remains and today houses the Telkwa Museum where memories and stories of the past come together. Many other residential and commercial buildings also remain as testaments of Telkwa's past and can be toured with a self-guided walking tour of the downtown core.
Telkwa is located in North Central British Columbia, 11 km (7 mi) south of Smithers on Yellowhead Highway 16, halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert.
For those with an interest in history, the Telkwa Museum, which is housed in the original 1920 school building, is an excellent place to learn about the town's heritage. Visitors can take a walking tour of Telkwa's 26 restored heritage buildings including the 1910 St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Hong Chong's Laundry and Bath House and the Interior Creamery.
Tyee Lake is situated in a beautiful aspen forest, adjacent to Telkwa, and is a popular recreation, camping, swimming and sunbathing spot. Showers and a group campsite are some of the facilities provided by the park. The sandy beaches are popular with young and old alike and there are open and covered picnic areas to enjoy.
The Hazelton Mountains form a beautiful backdrop for the well maintained campsites at Seeley Lake Provincial Park. After dinner, fish for cutthroat or rainbow trout or simply canoe through the marsh. Picnickers will enjoy the lakeside tables and large variety of birds.
Driftwood Canyon is recognized as one of the world's most significant fossil beds and provides park users with a fascinating opportunity to understand the evolutionary processes of the areas geology and biology. Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park is day use only.
Within the Skeena Mountains eco-system, this area offers some of the finest hiking opportunities in west-central British Columbia. Glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks and extensive sub-alpine meadows provide day and overnight hiking opportunities. Area habitat supports healthy populations of mountain goat, moose, marmot and many species of birds. Watch for black and grizzly bears that also call this area home.
Narnia Farms is a certified organic herb farm with plantings of common herbs for harvesting plus gorgeous herb display gardens. There is a dye garden, culinary herb garden and a tea garden that displays medicinal tea herbs and their uses. Some of the products include; jams, jellies, teas, honey, candles, soaps, mustards, and seasonings.
Approximately 27 km (17 mi) west of Telkwa follow the large blue tourist signs marked Twin Falls/Glacier Gulch to a magnificent set of waterfalls and spectacular 2 km (1 mi) wide gorge. From the parking lot, follow a rocky path to a platform approximately 200 meters away. This platform is a great viewing area where you can see and hear the force of the waterfalls as they plunge 150 meters from Kathlyn Glacier into the rocky bed below. For the adventurous, hike past the platform to the base of the falls where you will experience the force of the pounding white water and the cool spray. The force of the air at the base of the falls will take your breath away, be prepared to get wet, and allow an additional hour (return time) to hike from the platform to the base of the falls.
There are 68 major rivers that flow through this vast area, each offering excellent fishing. All the Steelhead and salmon must pass through the mighty Skeena. Salmon over 41 kilograms (90 pounds) have been taken in the Skeena. If you prefer lake fishing, the Telkwa area provides tranquil lakes that are sources of endless pleasures. Nearby lakes provide magnificent opportunities to catch fish like char, kokanee, cutthroat and rainbow trout.
A short drive from Telkwa is the Riverside Recreation Centre and an 18-hole, par 3 golf course with a full service club house, driving range and well-equipped rental shop. Other features of the Riverside golf course include, a driving range, nature trails, and river fishing. For those seeking more challenging golf, check out the Smithers Golf and Country Club, just 13 km (8 mi) west of Telkwa. Established over 65 years ago, this Club is one of the 18-hole championship courses located between Prince Rupert and Prince George and features a driving range, full service club house and pro-shop.
On and around Tyhee Mountain, just east of the village are the Tyhee Mountain hiking trails. Over 30 km (18.5 mi) of rolling trails through some of the most beautiful countryside and peaceful McDowell Lake.
With over 30 rapids, the Bulkley River Canyon offers one of the most exciting and scenic white water rafting experiences in British Columbia. During this challenging 33 km (20.5 mi) of river, you will experience the thrill of the roller coaster waves of the "Hagwiligit Canyon" and the thundering roar of "Feather-Bed".
The Bulkley Valley and north to the Yukon border support an abundant and diverse population of wildlife. Certified guides offer world class wilderness adventures suited to virtually every taste from; hunting, trail rides, and angling excursions, to horseback expeditions, wildlife viewing and photo safaris. Moose inhabit willow-rich river valleys, and sub-boreal timber areas. Grizzly and black bear are numerous throughout this area. In fall, they are found feeding in salmon streams. Stone Sheep are common north of Telkwa in the mountainous terrain of the Stikine and Cassiar Mountains. Mountain Caribou are also found in the high alpine tundra and plateau country from Tweedsmuir Park to north of the 56 parallel.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia