Fort St James National Historic Site Photo Kim Walker

Travel Spotlight

Fort St James

Fort St James is a small community in Northern British Columbia built around the National Historic Site of the Hudson’s Bay Company post. This site was one of the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade with the First Nations in Canada. The site has since been fully restored to commemorate that very partnership. There are numerous historic structures to be explored, as well as exhibits depicting the trade that took place there.

The region is also home to some beautiful natural landscape, that can be hiked through. Along the trails you can see some of the rich wildlife that calls Northern British Columbia home.

The community of Charlie Lake is located just 9 km (5.6 mi) north-east of Fort St James travelling along the Alaska Highway.


Located on Stuart Lake, 62 km (37 mi) north of Vanderhoof along Highway 27. It is some 120 km (75 mi) northeast of the Fraser Lake community.

A Step Back in Time

Fort St James was originally founded in 1806 as a Northwest Trading Company post by the Explorer Simon Fraser. It was only when the Northwest Trading Company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, that the site became a Hudson’s Bay Trading post. It had previously been known as the Stuarts Lake post, due to its close proximity to Stuarts Lake. The site continued to operate as a trading post up until its closure in 1952.

The site was later determined to be a National Historic Site of Canada, was rebuilt, and is maintained to this day. Many of the building there are from structures from the 1880s. The most recent reconstruction brings the number of time the Fort was rebuilt to 4.

Stuarts Lake and the Stuart river are named after Simon Frasers assistant John Stuart.

Contact Information

The District of Fort St. James

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Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989