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Kitimat, British Columbia

Kitimat, located just south of the Yellowhead Highway#16  in west-central  British Columbia, and has about 8,000 residents, The town is surrounded by  natural beauty, surrounded by mountains, forests, and waterways that offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism.

Kitimat has a rich and fascinating history shaped by indigenous peoples. Kitimat is  a hub of industrial activity, with the aluminum smelter still a major employer in the region, made possible by nearby hydro power facilities.

Kitimat History

The region around Kitimat has been inhabited for thousands of years by Indigenous peoples, primarily the Haisla Nation, who have harvested the rich natural resources of the land and sea for both sustenance and cultural practices. The First Nations are located at Kitamaat Village about 10 km from the main community on the east side of Kitimat Arm (now across the waters from the smelter and harbour)

Spanish and British European navies came to the area in the late 1700s to explore the area’s navigable waterways. Not until the late 1800s was there any significant European settlement in the region, primarily to extract forestry and fishing resources.

In the 1940s, the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN) chose Kitimat for a massive industrial complex, drawn by its deep, ice-free harbor and proximity to hydroelectric power from the Nechako River. The construction of the smelter and associated infrastructure led to a rapid influx of workers and the establishment of the town of Kitimat to house them.

The smelters were located on the west side of the Kitimat River, closer to the waterfront, while the townsite of Kitimat was on the east side of the Riverbank, and higher up from the water. The Kitimat airport (CBW2) was located about 15 km north of to community, adjacent to  Highway 37

Kitimat was planned and constructed as a company town, with homes, schools, and other amenities built to support the growing workforce. The town’s layout and infrastructure were designed with the aluminum industry in mind, reflecting the dominant role of ALCAN in shaping the community.

Environmental concerns have led to improvements in technology and environmental regulations, as well as increased awareness of sustainability issues within the community.  The community has worked to attract other industries to diversify the local economy, including tourism  and natural resource-based industries like forestry and fishing.

Kitimat Attractions

Centennial Park

across from upper City Centre Mall

This park  was built in 1971 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British Columbia’s entry into Confederation. A totem pole stands next to the water fountain, carved by First Nations artists. The park is a wonderful place to sit, enjoy the scenery and have a picnic.

Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club

2000 Kingfisher Rd Kitimat, BC V8C 2G6

This golf club offers a challenging 9-hole course set against the backdrop of the Coast Mountains. In the winter months, the club also provides opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Hospital Beach  Boat Launch

Alcan Rd, Kitimat, BC V8C 2R7
The Kitimat Boat Launch provides access to Douglas Channel, offering opportunities for boating, kayaking, and fishing. It’s a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the waterways and enjoy recreational activities.

Kitimat Interpretive Centre

109 Forest Ave, Kitimat, BC V8C 2G7

The Interpretive Centre offers exhibits and programs focused on the natural environment and wildlife of the Kitimat area. Visitors can learn about local ecosystems, conservation efforts, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Kitimat Modernization Project Visitor Centre

402-528 Mountainview Square, Kitimat, BC V8C 2N2

This visitor center provides information about the modernization project of the Kitimat aluminum smelter, offering insights into the industry’s latest technologies, environmental initiatives, and community involvement.

Kitimat Museum & Archives

293 City Centre, Kitimat, BC V8C 1T6

The museum showcases exhibits on the history, culture, and natural environment of Kitimat and the surrounding area. Visitors can learn about the indigenous peoples, early settlers, and industrial development that have shaped the region.

Kitimat River Park

6 km north of Kitimat and is on the west side of Highway 37, between the power transmission lines to the north and the Snowflake Community Fairgrounds to the south. Access into the park is by foot.
250 632-6294

Kitimat River Park offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. The park is situated along the scenic Kitimat River, which is known for its salmon fishing. Kitimat River Park protects two parcels of small but highly productive old-growth Sitka spruce and red cedar forest on the natural floodplain and fluvial terraces of the Kitimat River. It also protects grizzly bear habitat and culturally modified trees.
There is wilderness camping, winter camping, and pets must be leashed in the park.

Kitimat Viewing Platform

Alcan Road, Kitimat, BC V8C 1T6

Located near the Aluminum Smelter, this viewing platform offers panoramic views of the industrial facilities and Douglas Channel. It provides insight into the region’s industrial heritage and the scale of operations in Kitimat.

Minette Bay Lodge Beach

Kitamaat Village Rd, Kitimat, BC V8C 2P4

Minette Bay Lodge Beach is a picturesque spot along the shores of Douglas Channel. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll, beachcombing, or simply relax and take in the scenic views of the surrounding mountains and water.

Minette Bay West

A short drive from Kitimat’s City Centre down Loganberry Street.

Visit Kitimat’s only waterfront nature park. Enjoy a spacious green field, an easy nature trail, plentiful firepits and a covered seating area looking straight down the scenic Douglas Channel.

Mount Elizabeth

N on Highway 37 for 7.5km, then turn right (just south of where the transmission lines cross Hwy 37). Follow the gravel logging road for 13.5km. From there, a narrow 4WD road runs 2.5km to the trail head.

This is a steep and difficult trail about 6 km up to both alpine and panoramic views from what’s called Little Elizabeth.

You can continue to the peak of Mount Elizabeth, to the northwest, this advanced route[  traverses an exposed ridge that is at points extremely narrow and hazardous. . This final segment should be attempted only with proper equipment and good clear weather.

Mount Elizabeth Theatre

1479 Columbia Ave, Kitimat, BC V8C 1M7

The Mount Elizabeth Theatre is a community-owned cinema that screens the latest movies for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Pine Creek Trail

From the highway, turn down Kitamaat Village Road. At the bottom of the first hill, turn right onto a gravel road.

The trail begins 700m from Kitamaat Village Road. Park at the creek and cross on foot until you see the trail sign. The whole family will enjoy this hour long there-and-back scenic trail. Hikers will see big cedars, streams, and maybe some beaver activity.

Radley Park

On the west bank of the Kitimat River. (across from town)

Radley Park is a community park with walking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds for families to enjoy. It’s a great place to spend a sunny afternoon outdoors and is often frequented by locals for recreation and relaxation.

The park has short or long term camping and is a great base for fishing or exploring the area trails. The park has public washroom and shower facilities, smoker, boat launch, electrical sites, free sani-dump and firewood.

Radley Park has a total of 50 campsites on the west bank of the Kitimat River, a river well known for great fishing. Regular park season is from May 15 to September 15 (weather dependent).