Prince Rupert, Canada
A month ago I had never heard of Prince Rupert and due to some unseen changes in my plans I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks there on a HelpX program. Prince Rupert is a town of around 13,000 people located on the Northern coast of British Columbia, Canada. Most visitors are passing through en-route to other destinations and spend only a day or two. If you enjoy the outdoors and friendly locals, you’ll see how Prince Rupert became one of my favourite place I’ve visited in Canada so far. Here are my top things to do in Prince Rupert and why you need to spend more than a couple of days here!
Prince Rupert and the surrounding area is full of hiking trails. You’ll find trails of all lengths, a lot are accessible even if you don’t have a car. I was averaging a trail every second day here and did my favourite hike to date. The most amazing part was you can walk a couple of hours from the downtown area and feel like you were in the middle of the wilderness. I read a perfect quote in ‘The Outsiders Guide to Prince Rupert’ by Matt J Simmons, talking about the Kiwanis Trail,
“Its starting to feel more like a mountaineering expedition than a day hike!” I laugh and then do a double take. How can it be possible to feel that way here, so close to town?
Some must do hikes when you visit are Kiwanis, Butze Rapids, Mount Blaine and Rushbrook. Due to the high annual rainfall these trails are wet. I learnt this the hard way and came back not only with black shoes but completely saturated and covered in mud. Stay tuned for more about these hikes in ‘Prince Rupert’s Best Hikes’.
If you’re a museum nut then Prince Rupert has you covered. For a small town, you can visit three great museums, two in walking distance of town.
- The Museum of Northern BC
Before you enter this building you will be awed by the giant cedar longhouse which houses the museum. Located in the heart of downtown it makes for easy access. Learn about The Northwest Coast First Nations people’s history from ancient times to the present. Friendly staff are on hand and full of knowledge for any questions you have.
- Kwinitsa Railway Museum
Down by the waterfront, you’ll have an enjoyable walk to reach this museum from The Museum of Northern BC. Only small but intriguing views into the life of a station master and his role in the early railroad history. Open only in summer.
- North Pacific Cannery
Combine a trip to Port Edward (below) with a visit to the Cannery. Built in the 1800’s and becoming one of BC’s longest running canneries you can catch a glimpse of what used to go on in the once remote village.
COFFEE AT COWPUCCINOS
A visit to Prince Rupert would not be complete without starting at least one day (or all) at Cowpuccino’s cafe. They have delicious coffee and treats you cannot say no to, even when its only 8am. Staff in this cafe were so friendly! They are more than happy to chat and were the reason I found out about so many of the great hikes in the area.
During the summer months take a tour to the Khutzeymateen Wilderness. Meaning ‘valley of the grizzly’ you’ll travel by boat up the sound among picturesque coastline and mountains to where you enter the valley which is home to the highest population of Grizzly’s in North America.
INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING
I love a good climbing wall and Prince Rupert has a really fun one. Its only small but provides a great strength workout after you’ve eaten too many of Cowpuccino’s famous sex (in a pan) desserts. Available for all levels, The Devil’s Crag Climbing Wall is located by the civic centre and provides for a great evening of fun. Also a great place to meet people.
The inside passage between Vancouver Island and Alaska is home to thousands of whales. All you need to do when on a ferry is look out the window long enough and you’ll see one. Unfortunately this is usually from a distance. Jump on a whale watching tour and the boats will get you up as close as legally possible to these incredible giants of the sea. Mostly humpback whales but sometimes you’re lucky enough to see an Orca.
One of my highlights while in Prince Rupert was going on a sunset kayak. I went through Skeena kayaking who pick you up and take you out to a protected bay in the Ocean. We got to choose how long we wanted to stay out and paddled around watching the many seals and the incredible colours as the sun went down. It was serene and peaceful with the water turning to glass in front of our eyes.
CATCH A HALIBUT
Around this part of the world everyone is raving about Halibut. Most of the charters around Prince Rupert have a ‘No fish, no pay’ policy. Although Halibut is the prize-winning fish, you can also catch Salmon, Ling Cod, Red Snapper and Rock Fish in these waters. I still claim Halibut to be the weirdest looking fish, it reminds me of that episode on The Simpsons.
Combine your trip to The Cannery with a half day in Port Edward. A small and beautiful community just south of Prince Rupert. Take a picnic lunch and make the most of the lush Skeena River parklands.
VISIT THE WHEELHOUSE BREWERY
Do you love beer? I make it one of my priorities to see all the craft breweries of the towns I visit. The Wheelhouse Brewery is different to most as its on a much smaller scale. The tasting room is open Friday and Saturday although their beers are sold mostly everywhere in town. If you’re free on Tuesday or Thursday they have opportunities to volunteer with them. Do some work and in exchange, get paid in beer and knowledge of what happens during the brewing process.
Added bonus Don’t miss out on the most delicious ice-cream at Henry’s Midway. Located on Hays Cove Road, the lady is super friendly and gives the most generous sized servings, you won’t regret it.
Have you been to Prince Rupert? What did you like about did? Did you get up to anything I missed on here?