Pine Pass

Length: 302 km (3 hours 45 minutes)
Overall Rating:
07 - Recommended
08 - Beautiful
06 - Mixed
08 - Quiet, occasional traffic in peak season

Highway 97′s Pine Pass is British Columbia’s most northern highway pass through the Rockies. It’s also the lowest, and is an easy drive with sweeping corners and generally gentle grades (something to appreciate in the long northern winters!).

The highway is a good introduction to northern driving, with the defining characteristic being the distances involved – it's a long, long drive. The boreal forests start not too far out of Prince George, and there are no towns until the end of the drive; you’ll want to make sure you plan your fuel stops accordingly.

At MacKenze Junction the scenery changes greatly as you enter the mountains. It’s quite lush and green on the western side (perhaps surprising given the latitude) and seems to hit a wall once you reach the main ranges of the Rockies – but you're relatively quickly through the mountains and on to the eastern, drier foothills and rolling highlands. The drive follows the aspens and grasslands of the meandering Pine River and ends in the pleasant town of Chetwynd.

Given the drive's length you'll probably want to stop and stretch your legs a few times. A few good places include Bijoux Falls Provincial Park, Bear Lake (Crooked River Provincial Park) and the Powder King Mountain Resort.

  • Pine River

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