Departing from Smithers in northern British Columbia, hop on a floatplane flight to access a number of wilderness adventures in the nearby mountains and backcountry. You'll find cabins, lake camping, and beautiful alpine basins to explore on foot with friends or family. Most of these places can be reached by a 20-60-minute flight.

Burnie Glacier Chalet

Burnie Chalet with the Howson Range in the background
Burnie Chalet with the Howson Range in the background

Nestled in the alpine meadows of the dramatic Howson Range southwest of Smithers, this mountain chalet can be rented on a nightly basis or booked as part of a multi-day guided stay that includes meals. With the blessing of local Wet'suwet'en chiefs, the chalet was built by a professional mountain guide who leads hiking trips in the summer and backcountry ski trips in the winter on the slopes and glaciers of the surrounding mountains. The chalet sleeps up to ten people and has a fully-equipped kitchen, wood heat, running water, a cedar sauna, and hydro-powered electricity. Surrounding the lodge, you'll find well-maintained trails that access spectacular high mountains: you can stick to easier alpine meadow paths or tackle more challenging routes across the glaciated peaks. 

Camping on Nanika Lake

The sandy shores of Nanika Lake
The sandy shores of Nanika Lake

Nanika is a large, turquoise lake in the backcountry south of Smithers reached by a 30-minute flight. Its sandy shores make for convenient camping for those looking for a multi-day canoe trip around the lake or simply to relax, enjoy being out in nature, and go fishing while exploring the shores by canoe. 

Sandifer Lake Cabin

A well-constructed log cabin on shore of Sandifer Lake
A well-constructed log cabin on the shore of Sandifer Lake

Just south of Nanika Lake, Sandifer Lake is another pretty spot to spend a few days with friends or family fishing and relaxing on a lake surrounded by wilderness. You'll find a well-stocked cabin built along the shore of the lake that sleeps 4-5 people, has wood heat and propane stoves, and a rowboat for getting out on the lake (you could also bring an electric motor). The lake stretches 2.5 miles (4 km) and is surrounded by the Coast Mountains and glaciers. The cabin was built 25 years ago by the Sandifer Lake Society (a group of local residents of the small settlement of Kemano who were caretakers of the nearby hydro-power station). It's now maintained by a local caretaker who cleans and stocks the cabin each season. Staying here is free of charge but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of maintenance and supplies. 

Island Lake Cabin

Cabin on Island Lake, east of Babine Lake
Cabin on Island Lake, east of Babine Lake

For another experience on a secluded lake, take a 30-minute flight east of Smithers to Island Lake where you can rent a lakeside cabin for a few days. The cabin sleeps four adults and is available from June to the end of September and is a good place to fish, swim, go canoeing, and explore the surrounding nature. The cabin is fully equipped, but you'll need to bring food and sleeping gear.