BC-16 | Yellowhead Highway
- Distance: 615.0 Miles (989.75 km)
- Rating: 1-A, Very few technical corners, but very few straight sections as well. But its a 500 mile route and yes its paved and its in immaculate condition. Ratings Explained »
- Travel: East to West for best results
- Start: Tete Jaune Cache, BC
- End: Prince Rupert, BC
- Fuel: Every community has a gas station and most who drive the route carry extra fuel, just in case
- Along the Way: Lots of fantastic little communities, including Smithers, New Hazleton and our personal favorite, Terrace.
- Highlights: Just being here is pretty gosh darn cool. You will impress your friends.
- Advisories: This road is also known as the Highway of Tears because of the more than 32-some young women, between 14 and 25 since 1988 who have hitchhiked the route only to never be seen again. This is a pretty remote part of the world.
SummaryHow to rate over 600 miles of road in one swing. Well, its quite easy actually as the route changes very little from one end to the other. As soon as you leave Tete Jaune Cache you’ll be shrouded in thick tree’s on either side of the road as it makes its way west towards the coast. Most of the traffic comes from Prince Rupert east, so heading west, traffic is quite literally, non-existent. Expect to go up to 100 miles at a time without seeing another car!
The stretch between the tiny town of McBride (get gas here) and Prince George is the most remote places we have ever ridden. Long, lonely highways throw an endless supply of sweeping corners, in some cases you’ll be leaned into a single corner for almost a mile at a time.
Arriving in Prince George will be a welcome sigh of relief as even the most long-legged riders will start to wonder “how much further?”
Prince George will be the last big town for a while as you continue your way west. But after Prince George there are more communities to break up the monotony of long sweeping corners and endless seas of pine-trees for as far as you can see for hours at a time (rather impressive actually). You’ll pass through the towns of Vanderhoof and Frasier Lake that are popular with Canadian boat lovers who come here to play on the water, so the population seems to briefly spike as you ride through the area. But then things get pretty desolate again until you near the Ski Town of Smithers (Locals call themselves Smithereens). A towering ski mountain dominates the scenery, yet the town feels oddly out of place after all the emptiness you’ve passed through. Enjoy a Big Mac and a Carmel Macchiato if you are missing the staples of Americana (or don’t) before heading back into “the bush”.
At New Hazleton the road reaches its most northern point and begins going south again. In a few miles, at Kitwanga, you’ll have the opportunity to turn north on BC-37 and ride to Alaska (its a mere 137 miles away at this point so why not?). Continuing west you’ll ride through one of our favorite towns of all time, Terrace, which interestingly, is the oldest continuously occupied region of the world (more than 5,000 years) and at one time was the most densely populated area north of Mexico. Who knew?
Road Rating System
The first part of our rating describes how technical we feel that road is. Numbers one through five with five being the most technical and one being a more mellow road with few challenging corners. The second half of the rating is a letter grade. A rating of “A” would be a road that is in great condition and a grade-F would be a crumbly, slippery or degraded surface.