Just a stone’s throw away from Alaska, the Skeena Mountains are a rugged subrange of the Interior Mountains located in northern British Columbia. The Skeenas lie inland from the southern Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains and northern Kitimat Ranges.
The Skeenas encompasses several subranges, including the Atna Range, Babine Range, Bait Range, Driftwood Range, Klappan Range, Oweegee Range, Sicintine Range, Slamgeesh Range, Strata Range, and Takla Range.
The Atna Range houses the highest peak in the Skeena Mountains, 8,444-foot Shedin Peak. The second tallest summit in the Skeenas, Shelagyote Peak, is tucked within the Sicintine Range and several prominent 7,000-foot summits, including Mount Cronin and Tsatia Mountain, can be found in the Babine and Klappan Ranges.
The southern boundary of the Skeena Mountains is defined roughly by the Bulkley River, a major tributary of the Skeena River, and the upper northwestern reaches of Babine and Takla Lakes. To the northeast, the Skeenas are bounded by the Spatsizi Plateau and the Omineca Mountains.
The Skeena Mountains are a highly acclaimed destination for backcountry winter recreation. This remote set of summits receives roughly 100 feet of dry powder each winter and is considered one of the country’s best destinations for snowcat and heliskiing. From high vertical slopes to powder bowls and sweeping glades, the Skeenas have it all. Not to mention, skiers and boarders that make the trek to the Skeena Mountains have the opportunity to explore one of the largest ski areas in the world.
Several outfitters, including Luex, Total Heliski and Skeena Heliski, offer all-inclusive packages to skiers and boarders looking to explore the Skeenas. These exclusive packages grant visitors access to over 3,600 square miles of varied terrain, and generally include accommodations at a remote mountain lodge.
Located in the Skeena Mountains ecosection, Babine Mountains Provincial Park features impressive glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks, and extensive sub-alpine meadows. An abundance of snow provides skiers, snowshoers, and skiers with experiences for all skill levels. The park is also home to some of the best hiking in west-central British Columbia.
The moderately difficult Harvey Mountain trail climbs steadily to an open alpine hillside with views of Silver King Basin, Hudson Bay Mountain, and the Bulkley Valley. A short trek through the alpine also leads to the summit of Harvey Mountain.
A former railway hub at the heart of Bulkley Valley, Smithers is an alpine-style town off of Yellowhead Highway adjacent to Hudson Bay Mountain. Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, a popular alpine ski destination, towers over downtown Smithers. The city is rustic, authentic, and relatively off the grid in comparison to other B.C. towns. However, it is a popular destination for quirky festivals, fishing, hiking, skiing, and backcountry adventure. Smithers also boasts an airport that offers shuttle services to several alpine mountain resorts.
The Northern Escape Lodge is located on a remote, 50-acre, waterfront estate and offers incredible views of the surrounding snow-capped, Skeena summits. The lodge is fly in/out only during the winter and accommodates up to 10 guests. In the summer, the lodge also boasts a network of hiking and mountain biking trails and a variety of lakeside activities.
Located at 1900 feet, the Bell 2 Lodge offers remote accommodations to up to 30 guests. The Bell 2 Lodge was once a basic service station for travelers on their way to Alaska and the Yukon. However, it has since been turned into a modern heliski village. In the winter, the Bell 2 Lodge is home to the Last Frontier, one of the best heli skiing operations in the country.