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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Alaska Highway > Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson
Fort Nelson is located 379 km (236 miles) north of Fort St. John and 531 km (330 miles) south-east of Watson Lake, Yukon on Hwy 97, the Alaska Highway.

Hudson's Bay Company
Fort Nelson started out being a fur trading post in 1805 by the Northwest Company and then, later in 1865, by the Hudson's Bay Company. With the use of the Fort Nelson River and other nearby rivers such as the Liard, Muskwa and Prophet, fur pelts were easily gathered and transported back by the Hudson's Bay Company to the markets in Europe.

Fort Nelson Heritage Museum
To understand the development and history of Fort Nelson, especially transportation interests, you'll have to visit the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum. To find the museum travel just west of the Mile 300 mile post on Hwy 97 to find the entrance point.

Transportation Centre
Today Fort Nelson serves as a major transportation centre for vehicle and transport truck movement along Hwy 97. During the year both tourists and industry use Fort Nelson as a service and rest point on the way to Alaska. If you require any mechanical, service or parts help, Fort Nelson has a number of outlets to serve you, including a Husky Station on Hwy 97 which sells diesel and propane. For other supplies there is an Overwaitea Foods, BC Liquor Store, Tim Hortons and for food Dan's Neighbourhood Pub all located in town. There is also a large, clean, well equipped sani-station situated across from the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum.

Fort Nelson River
The Fort Nelson River also served as a major contributing factor in the development of aboriginal settlements before the European arrivals. By being close to the Fort Nelson River, the First Nations used the Fort Nelson River as a major transportation route during the summer and winter, travelling up the Muskwa River and north to Fort Liard and beyond.

Oil and Natural Gas
Other businesses in Fort Nelson include a large component in the oil and natural gas development and exploration sectors. Fort Nelson houses a lot of these workers and is used as a focal point for deployment. There is also a large number of other business and people in building the infrastructure to support the oil and natural gas industries and jobs.

The geography around Fort Nelson is fairly flat with some agriculture due to good soil and a very long, growing day during the summer time. This makes growing certain crops very substantial with a good quality. During the summer time, look for the farmers' market where you can pick up some quality products.

Fort Nelson Recreational Forest
If you happen to want to go for a walk or cross-country ski, try visiting the Fort Nelson Recreational Forest which is located in the community. During the winter time on the Saturday before, or on the full moon, the monthly Moonlight Cross-Country Ski event is a lot of fun.

Poplar Hills Golf Course
For golfers Fort Nelson has a 9-hole course called Poplar Hills Golf Course. Located high above the Muskwa River at 1377 Radar Road the course offers some background views of the distant Northern Rocky Mountains, telephone: (250) 774-3862.

Tuchodi River
Areas to visit around Fort Nelson include taking jet boats up the Muskwa River in the Tuchodi River into the Northern Rocky Mountains Provincial Park. Guides and hunters especially enjoy this recreational area for the fantastic hunting and fishing that can be found.

Liard Highway
When you're travelling, 27 km (17 miles) north-west from Fort Nelson on the Alaska Highway, Hwy 97 is the turnoff for the gravel highway, Hwy 77. Mostly referred to and called the Liard Highway, Hwy 77 has opened up vast areas of Northern British Columbia for oil and natural gas jobs in exploration.

Northwest Territories
This highway will take you to and across the Fort Nelson River into the Northwest Territories changing the name to Hwy 7. Going north into the NWT, Hwy 7 follows the Liard Trail north to the turnoff to Fort Liard and the Liard River. Hwy 7 eventually takes you to Checkpoint where it junctions with the Mackenzie Highway or Hwy 1.

Northern Rocky Mountains
If instead you are travelling north on the Alaska Highway, just near the junction for Hwy 77 you'll start entering the eastern foothills of the Northern Rocky Mountains. As you climb just outside the Muskwa River you'll start entering the mountains, eventually coming into the Northern Rocky Mountain Provincial Park, a very wonderful place then to Muncho Lake.

Liard River Hot Springs
Travelling farther north on the Alaska Highway located at mile post 496, about 322 km (200 miles) north of Fort Nelson, is Liard River the site of British Columbia's largest outdoor hot springs called the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park. A campground is available and, if you're travelling on the Alaska Highway, the therapeutic hot springs will provide a nice relaxing break.

Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road
Another vast area of north-eastern British Columbia near Fort Nelson that is opening up is by using the 173 km (108 miles) long, all-weather, multi-user resource, Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road. Access is off the Alaska Highway about 10 km (6 miles) south of Fort Nelson on the Clarke Lake Road.

Fort Nelson River Bridge
Starting after travelling 15 km (9 miles) to the end of Clarke Lake Road the Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road will take you across a new two-lane bridge over the Fort Nelson River. This new bridge replaces travelling across a one-lane railway bridge to the other side and was completed by Ledcor Projects Inc. of Vancouver.

Kotcho Lake Village Site
Along the Sierra Yoyo Desan Road you can visit the Kotcho Lake Village Site. The heritage site of the local Fort Nelson aboriginal band, the Dene Tha First Nations is around 100 km (62 miles) east of Fort Nelson past the small oil field airstrips of Sierra and Yoyo.

Wilderness Camping
There is no road access into Kotcho Lake, so only by walking in, using a boat or plane can you reach some wilderness camping plus some areas for fishing and swimming. The Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road gets you to within 3 km (2 miles) of Kotcho Lake.

The Sierra-Yoyo-Desan Road eventually ends at Helmet, one of the largest oil and natural gas finds in Western Canada, part of the Greater Sierra Oil Field Basin.

Information on Fort Nelson




Map of Fort Nelson
click map for larger image


Fort Nelson Heritage Museum
Fort Nelson Heritage Museum


Sani-Station in Fort Nelson
Sani-Station in Fort Nelson


Trappers Den
Trappers Den


Fort Nelson Hotel
Fort Nelson Hotel


Triple G Hideaway Camp Ground
Triple G Hideaway Campground


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