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Where
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Hazelton, British Columbia

Hazelton is a small  village (population 300) located at the junction of the Bulkley and Skeena Rivers in northwestern British Columbia. The town lies on the main CN Rail line to Prince Rupert and on the Yellowhead Route #16 of the Trans-Canada Highway about 70 km west of Smithers.

The “Hazeltons” (Hazelton, New Hazelton and South Hazelton)  were named after the hazel bushes covering the region’s river-carved terraces. Nearby Mount Rocher DeBoule dominates the landscape with cliffs that tower 1,000m (3,300ft) over the Hazelton communities. New Hazelton lies right on the #16 Yellowhead Highway.

Hazelton celebrates its rich cultural and historical heritage. The Gitxsan and Wetsuweten First Nations peoples continue to play an important role in the community, and their rich cultural heritage is celebrated throughout the year. The town is home to a number of museums and cultural centres that showcase the history of the area, including the Hazelton Pioneer Museum, the ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum, and the Gitanmaax Band Council Museum and Gallery.  The area has four First Nations’ Villages (Gitanmaax, Hagwilget, Glen Vowell and Kispiox).

New Hazelton-Bulkley RIver valley-photo credit Vince Rajchel

New Hazelton-Bulkley RIver valley-photo credit Vince Rajchel

Hazelton History

The town has a rich and diverse history dating back over 5,000 years with the presence of the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten First Nations peoples. European settlement in the area began in the 1860s with the discovery of gold in the nearby area.

From 1886 to 1913, Hazelton was the upriver terminus for a fleet of sternwheelers that plied the wild rapids of the Skeena.  When the people and supplies reaching Hazelton, they dispersed inland to mines, farms, and far-flung settlements.

The construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the early 1900s (announced in 1905 and completed in 1912) brought growth to the community and better market access for the area’s mines. In anticipation of a boom from the railroad, New Hazelton and South Hazelton were established. The railway settled on South Hazelton, though Hazelton (sometimes called “Old Hazelton”) on the Skeena River was the established community at that time.

During the early 1900s, Hazelton was a booming hub for transportation and agriculture, and played an important role in the development of the region. The town was a regional  trading hub. Local entrepreneurs built businesses that catered to the needs of the miners, loggers, and farmers who lived in the area.

During World War I (:”The Great War” at the time), Hazelton was home to the Hazelton Internment Camp during World War I, for detaining German prisoners of war. In the 1920s, Hazelton became a regional centre for education with the opening of a high school that served students from surrounding communities.

Hazelton-Ksaan Historical Village-photo credit Vince Rajchel
Hazelton-Ksaan Historical Village-photo credit Vince Rajchel

Hazelton Attractions

‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum

86 River Road, Hazelton, BC
(250) 842-5544
Website

This living museum showcases the traditional culture and customs of the Gitxsan First Nation. Visitors can tour reconstructed longhouses, view cultural displays and demonstrations, and shop for locally-made crafts.  ‘Ksan’s houses form a single line with each building facing the river thus making the large decorated house fronts and totem poles of the village visible from the water.

Hagwilget Suspension Bridge

Hagwilget Suspension Bridge, Hazelton, BC

This suspension bridge spans the Bulkley River and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The  bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in North America,  81 m (265 ft) over the scenic waters of the Bulkley River flowing through the  steep Hagwilget Canyon. This is a popular spot for photography and is especially beautiful during the fall season

Hazelton Pioneer Cemetery

13th Avenue, Hazelton, BC

This historic cemetery dates back to the early days of European settlement in the area and features a number of interesting gravestones and markers

‘Ksan Campground

(250) 842-5297 36 E Highway, Hazelton, BC

(250) 842-5297

Website

This well-maintained campground is situated on the banks of the Skeena River and offers a peaceful and scenic setting for camping, fishing, and outdoor activities

The Hazeltons Farmers Market

2725 Highway 62, Hazelton, BC
Website

This weekly market offers a variety of fresh local produce, artisanal foods, and handmade crafts. It is a great place to meet local farmers and artisans and learn more about the community

Ksan Historical Village and Museum

2323 Kuldo Boulevard, Hazelton, BC
(250) 842-5544
Website 

A re-created traditional Gitxsan village and museum showcasing the indigenous culture and history of the area.

Hagwilget Canyon Bridge

Hagwilget Canyon, Hazelton, BC
Website 

A suspension bridge spanning the Bulkley River and offering scenic views of the canyon and surrounding mountains

Skeena River

Skeena River, Hazelton, BC.

A popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and rafting, with scenic views of the surrounding mountains and wildlife

Moricetown Canyon

Moricetown Canyon Road, Hazelton, BC.

a canyon on the Bulkley River that is home to the Wet’suwet’en people, and is a popular spot for fishing, hiking, and sightseeing

Ksan Campground

3055 Bowser Street, Hazelton, BC
(250) 842-5800
Website 

a scenic campground located on the banks of the Bulkley River, offering camping and RV sites, as well as cabins and a restaurant.

New Hazelton-Sealey Lake totems-photo credit Vince Rajchel (15)

New Hazelton-Sealey Lake totems-photo credit Vince Rajchel (15)

‘Ksan Totem Poles

Various locations throughout Hazelton, BC.

A collection of totem poles located throughout Hazelton, representing the indigenous history and culture of the area

Hazelton, British Columbia Area Map