Located in the remote wilderness of northwestern British Columbia, this is one of the most beautiful and rewarding treks in Canada. A sacred landscape for the Tahltan First Nation, visiting this plateau was both a rite of passage and journey of purification. Accessible only by floatplane, hike for five days across the alpine tundra against the backdrop cinder cones, glaciers, and the mighty Coastal Range.

Highlights

  • A true wilderness experience, accessible only by floatplane
  • Hike past cinder cones and through otherworldly volcanic fields
  • Enjoy easy hiking across a vast plateau with spectacular views
  • Learn about the stories and history of the Tahltan First Nation

Safety & Advice

This is a remote trek through the wilderness of northern British Columbia, accessible only by floatplane. While you can do this route on your own, you should have prior experience navigating, camping, and dealing with wildlife precautions in the mountains. Only a small part of this trek is marked by trail, where otherwise you will be navigating by map and GPS. Carrying an inReach or Spot with you is essential. For increased safety (and to help enrich the experience), you can hire a local guide who knows the trail well, will handle all logistics and equipment, and prepare meals each day. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Vancouver Vancouver
Day 2 Fly from Vancouver to Terrace, Drive to Stewart (5 h 30 min) Stewart
Day 3 Stewart to Tatogga Lake (4 h 30 min) Tatogga Lake
Day 4 Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 1) Wilderness Camping
Day 5 Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 2) Wilderness Camping
Day 6 Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 3) Wilderness Camping
Day 7 Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 4) Wilderness Camping
Day 8 Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 5) Tatogga Lake
Day 9 Tatogga Lake to Vancouver (6 h 30 min) Vancouver
Day 10 Depart Vancouver  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Vancouver

Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver
Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver

Fringed by the Pacific Ocean and backed by the coastal mountains, Vancouver is one of the world's most livable cities with some of North America's best cuisine and opportunities for outdoor activities. 

It takes around 30 minutes to get from the airport to the downtown core. The city center and surrounding neighborhoods and attractions are within easy walking (or biking) distance. To get your bearings, start with a stroll along the seawall from English Bay to False Creek. Better yet, rent a bike and spend the afternoon exploring Stanley Park, Kitsilano, and the seawall to work up your appetite for dinner. 

With over 60 different cultures, pick from a variety of international restaurants serving anything from Asian cuisine to seasonal farm-to-table dishes. For dinner, choose from a selection of top-notch eateries—from downtown and the West End to the North Shore and Kitsilano. Keep in mind, Vancouverites love eating out any day of the week so be sure to make a reservation if it's a popular restaurant.

Day 2: Fly from Vancouver to Terrace, Drive to Stewart (5 h 30 min)

Salmon Glacier, Canada's fifth-largest glacier
Salmon Glacier, Canada's fifth-largest glacier

Head to the domestic terminal at Vancouver's International Airport for an early morning flight to Terrace in northern British Columbia. (Alternatively, you can fly to Smithers.) Pick up your rental car at the airport and gather any needed supplies before hitting the road.

Hitting the road, follow Highway 16 to Kitwanga where you'll turn off onto the scenic Cassiar Highway and start heading north. At Meziadan Junction (a nice provincial campground next to a large lake), turn left and follow the signs to Stewart. The scenery starts to change as you enter into the heart of the Coast Mountains, with dramatic glaciers seen from the highway. 

In the afternoon, cross the Canadian / USA border into Hyder and make your way to Salmon Glacier, where you can view Canada's fifth-largest glacier from a viewing platform (23 miles / 37 km, one way). 

Flying time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Driving time: 4 hours

Day 3: Stewart to Tatogga Lake (4 h 30 min)

Cascade Falls, accessed by canoe off Highway 37
Cascade Falls, accessed by canoe off Highway 37

Grab breakfast in Stewart before getting back on the Cassiar Highway for the drive north to Tatogga Lake. You have ample time, today, to make stops and have a picnic at the numerous lake pullouts along the highway. After arriving at Tatogga, you head out on a nearby hike up Todagin Mountain to a beautiful plateau (famous for having one of the highest density of Stone sheep in the world). Alternatively, if you have your own canoe, make the trip into Cascade Falls, a giant series of waterfalls accessible only by canoe off of the Cassiar Highway. 

Driving time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Day 4: Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 1)

First camp above tree line, northern flank of Edziza
First camp above tree line, northern flank of Edziza

Catch your floatplane flight with Alpine Lakes Air from their dock at Tatogga Lake. It's a short, incredibly scenic flight to Buckley Lake just below treeline on the northern flank of the Mount Edziza Plateau. En route, catch a glimpse from above of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. With cliff walls rising as much as 300 m above the turbulent river, this is K2 of whitewater kayaking that draws expert kayakers from all over the world. 

From Buckley Lake, begin your first day of hiking as you follow the trail to treeline (about 8 miles / 13 km). As you emerge, from the trees, you'll be hiking through a dried lava field of twisted rock formations and sharp rock; luckily, you'll be on a smooth path that winds around the field. Once you're in the alpine, pick a scenic place to camp near water, and enjoy the views of Eve Cone in the distance. 

Flying time:
20 minutes
Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 5: Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 2)

Sunset views of the tundra near Mount Edziza
Sunset views of the tundra near Mount Edziza

Follow the trail and continue hiking toward Eve Cone, where you'll see a sign that marks the side trail to get closer to the cone. Please be mindful to follow the trail and not to climb the cone or through the lava field, as the volcanic terrain is highly sensitive and can easily be damaged. After Eve Cone, continue hiking to your next camping spot, likely near Tsekone Ridge where you can find water.

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 6: Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 3)

Cooking breakfast above Taweh Creek
Cooking breakfast above Taweh Creek

It's a beautiful hike, today, as you walk along the western flank of Mount Edziza. It's a relatively flat journey with a number of creek crossings. On the horizon, enjoy the views of the rugged, glacier-capped Coastal Range rising up in the distance. Plan to camp near Taweh Creek, just before you round the corner to the southern flank of Edziza. 

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 7: Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 4)

Volcanic field on the southern flank of Edziza
Volcanic field on the southern flank of Edziza

Get ready for the most spectacular day of the trek. It's a short climb before rounding the southwestern edge of Mt Edziza and entering up onto the southern flank, which opens up into a vast volcanic plateau with numerous craters and covered almost entirely in sand and pumice. This is your last day of camping before leaving the alpine.

* The dried lava flows and surrounding terrain is extremely sensitive to damage. Please stay on the trails, be mindful, and help preserve these incredible places for future visitors. 

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 8: Mount Edziza Traverse (Day 5)

Following the creek to Mowdade Lake
Following the creek to Mowdade Lake

On the last day of the trek, you'll have your last views of Mount Edziza before crossing over a ridge and descending down the Chakira Creek valley. It's a long descent on a rough trail, crossing back and forth over the creek (expect to get your boots wet) before arriving at Mowdade Lake at the scheduled time for your flight back to Tatogga Lake Resort. 

Hiking time: 6-8 hours
Flying time: 20 minutes

Day 9: Tatogga Lake to Vancouver (6 h 30 min)

Vancouver's skyline as seen from the North Shore
Vancouver's skyline as seen from the North Shore

Follow the Cassiar Highway south to Terrace, where you'll catch your flight to Vancouver. Be sure to fill up on gas either at Tatogga Lake Resort or Bell 2 given there are no more gas stations until you reach the junction with Highway 16. It's a beautiful drive with a number of places to stop to picnic next to lakes and rivers along the way. 

Driving time: 5-6 hours
Flying time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Day 10: Depart Vancouver

Sunset over Vancouver from Kits Beach
Sunset over Vancouver from Kits Beach

Grab an early breakfast at one of Vancouver's popular cafes before making your way to the airport. If you're feeling indulgent, splurge on a seaplane harbor tour to take in the magnificent scenery of the mountain-and-sea-dominated city from a new perspective. Alternatively, head to Stanley Park for a bike ride around the seawall or a run through the forested trails. 

It usually takes 30 minutes to travel from downtown Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport but allow extra time in case of traffic. Best to arrive at least two hours prior to your international departure while allowing extra time to drop off your rental car.

Map

Map of Mount Edziza Traverse in Northern BC - 10 Days
Map of Mount Edziza Traverse in Northern BC - 10 Days