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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns >  Yellowhead Hwy > Topley

Topley is located 30 km (19 miles) east of Houston and 51 km (32 miles) west of Burns Lake on Yellowhead Hwy 16.

A businessman named W.C. Lett founded the small settlement just after the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway completed the route through Topley on the way to the Pacific Ocean at Prince Rupert in 1914. W.C. Lett named the community after his father-in-law, W.F. Topley, a famous Canadian photographer from Ottawa, Ontario. Unfortunately, W.F. Topley passed away in 1930 and was unable to photograph and visit the settlement.

Hwy 16
Most of the businesses and local activity found in Topley is located on Hwy 16 going through town. Here you can find a popular place to eat at the Country Grill. There is also a small store on Hwy 16 called Grizzly Jim's General Store which also serves pizza, soft ice-cream cones, subs, free coffee, fishing tackle and bait. There is also an elementary school in Topley with the surrounding area having a population of around five hundred people.

Outdoor Recreation
The area is well-known for fantastic outdoor recreational activities focussed on fishing, hunting and enjoying the wilderness which surrounds the community. The region is full of wildlife with vast tracks of land situated in forested valleys.

Babine Lake
Located just north of Topley on Hwy 118 (Topley Landing Road) is Babine Lake, the longest natural lake in British Columbia. Babine Lake is very remote, clean and offers endless angling opportunities throughout the entire length of about 117 km (110 miles) for Sockeye salmon, Kokanee, Char and Rainbow trout. Places to visit include Topley Landing Provincial Park where you can find a nice sandy beach along the water's edge.

Also located on the shores of Babine Lake is the small retirement community of Granisle, only 49 km (31 miles) from Topley. Granisle offers some services including accommodation at the Granisle Resort, some lodges, a small museum at the Tourist Info Centre and where you can find local information especially regarding fishing hot spots on Babine Lake.

Red Bluff Provincial Park
Just east of Granisle, about 44 km (27.5 miles) from Topley is Red Bluff Provincial Park where there is a boat launch for entering Babine Lake. Red Bluff Provincial Park offers 27 vehicle-accessible campsites in a very private setting on a first-come, first-served basis. The park also features beautiful picnic sites next to Babine Lake plus the 5 km (3 miles) loop circuit called the Red Bluff Trail that features some wildlife viewing opportunities especially along the marshes next to the lake.

Sunset Lake
Another local favourite recreation area close to Topley is popular Sunset Lake located just to the south-west with easy access from Hwy 16. Here you can find a rustic campground that features 10 campsites. Sunset Lake also has swimming, beach area, boat launch, dock, wheelchair-accessible toilets plus some wildlife viewing opportunities.

Swans, Elwin and Day Lakes
Three other lakes Swans, Elwin and Day are situated just south of Sunset Lake on the forest service road. All three can offer you more fishing opportunities for Char, Cutthroat and small- to medium-sized Rainbow trout with fewer crowds going after the fish. Only car-top style boats can be used as there are no boat launches available.

China Nose Mountain
China Nose Mountain, elevation 1,439 metres (4,721 feet) visually stands out travelling along Hwy 16 and is located directly south of Topley. There is a rough forestry road up China Nose that travels past Day Lake to the Maxan Creek Road. You then take the Maxan Creek Road to near Crow Creek where there is a rough switchback road.

Steep Hiking Trail
There is also a steep hiking trail that follows the ridge along China Nose Mountain with an incredible panoramic vista overlooking Old Man Lake to the west. The trail will take about two hours or more depending on each individual's fitness level and hiking ability. The trail is very remote so let someone know where you are and watch out for bears.

Heading Creek Forest Service Road
To get to another trailhead for going up China Nose Mountain, take Mckilligan Road off Hwy 16 just 10 km (6 miles) east of Houston; you then travel past the landfill site on the Heading Creek FSR to the 12 km (7.5 miles) yellow marker. From here take the immediate left down a hill, over a wooden bridge, up a hill and look for a blue trailhead marker on a post past an old clear-cut that is now overgrown.

Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
For people who love wildlife viewing, the Topley area offers great potential especially for bald eagles, black bears and mountain goats. Please remember though to practice safely when experiencing bear and other wildlife encounters in the outdoors around Topley and the rest of British Columbia.

Information on Topley



Map of Topley
click map for larger image


Country Grill in Topley
Country Grill in Topley


Grizzly Jim's General Store
Grizzly Jim's General Store


Farmhouse Country Gifts
Farmhouse Country Gifts


Babine Lake
Babine Lake


Whispering Pines Motel
Whispering Pines Motel

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