Exploring the Majesty of British Columbia Through its 6 Famous Rivers

gopikaJanhavi Ramesh Kowligi
gopika Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi Things to Know
9 Min Read
Photo by kermit nicou on Unsplash

Clothing, Accessories and Lifestyle Store

Explore the beautiful rivers of British Columbia, where nature’s wonders flow freely. From the mighty Fraser River flowing through diverse landscapes to the Columbia River finding its way through picturesque valleys, each river narrates a different story and flows in their directions. These famous waterbodies shape British Columbia’s geography and provide a vital lifeline for wildlife and several communities.

What are the Main Rivers in British Columbia, Canada?

British Columbia is drained by several major rivers, including the Fraser, Columbia, Peace, and Skeena Rivers, each draining different areas.

Additionally, several short rivers drain west to the Pacific Ocean from the Coast Mountains, and others drain Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Famous Rivers in British Columbia

The province is drained by six significant rivers, i.e., Fraser, Columbia, peace, Skeena, Stikine, and Liard. Many short rivers drain to the west of the Pacific Ocean from the coast mountains while others drain to Vancouver Island and the queen Charlotte islands. 

Top 6 Famous Rivers in British Columbia

1. Fraser River, Vancouver

Rivers in British Columbia
Image by ptra from Pixabay

Well known for the Cariboo gold rush, it is the greatest resource of Salmon in the world and the largest river in Canada, covering a vast area of 92,000 square miles or 238,000 square km in Central British Columbia.

The river’s course is the north-westward, along the Rocky Mountain trench before traversing near Prince George (south). Then, down the center and finally, to the deep Pacific Ocean, to its mouth on the Strait of Georgia, near Vancouver city.

The Thompson River is the most prominent, the largest of its many tributaries. Not only is it the longest river in British Columbia, but it also has plenty of fishing hope and scenic beauty.

This river is a must to explore, but be wary of wild animals inhabiting the region, such as bears, muskrats, wolves, and coyotes. 

2. Columbia River, British Columbia

                                                                     Columbia River, Gorge
Image by 12019 from Pixabay

The river originates at Columbia Lake in the rocky mountain trench of British Columbia.

It is the largest world hydroelectric power resource and San Francisco, USA’s first deep water harbor. For instance, only 40% of its course lies in Canada, in the middle of its headwaters in British Columbia and the United States border.

Around 85 percent of it drains in the United States. Snake River is the largest North American river to drain into the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, the other tributaries are; – Kootenay, Spokane, Pend Oreille, Okanogan, Yakima, Cowlitz, and Willamette.

Most of them originate in mountainous areas. Due to its mountain portal, the Columbian River Gorge is an important trade and shipping route.

Finally, it is proving to be a golden summer trip spot for adventure and refreshment.

3. Campbell River, British Columbia

                                                                        campbell river, park
Image by AllThingsCoastal from Pixabay

It is a river on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is known as the Salmon capital of the world. Hence, salmons can be seen from the river floats being preyed on by bears. During summer, the cruise ship lights highlight the waters.

Also, the Discovery Pier is an excellent place for sightseeing and strolling.

The Campbell River Museum showcases its diverse heritage of fine art, ceremonial items, and tribal masks. Moreover, the region has adequate natural resources. As a result, it has attracted the forestry and mining industries.

3.1 Festival

The salmon festival in August brings many people of Vancouver Island together to devour fish and participate in various events like- the Hagg Brown Festival and The Logger Sports.

The scenic beauty has attracted many filmmakers to select The Campbell River, known for its location. Hence, it is a great place to relax and explore.

4. Skeena River, British Columbia

                                                                  Skeena, River, British Columbia
  Image by ArtTower from Pexels

Skeena River originates at the southern end of the Spatsizi plateau, located between Mount Gunanoot and Mount Thule. Rising in the Northern interiors of British Columbia, it flows southwards to finally drain into the Pacific Ocean at Chatham Sound south of the town of Prince Rupert.

It is the second-longest river in Canada. Not only is it an important salmon fishing stream, but also it has several canaries at its mouth.

4.1 Major Tributaries

Babine River and Bulkley River. Salmon is the primal species of fish found. Fishing is an activity that brings people around the world together. Lastly, river rafting for Whitewater River enthusiasts is enough to get them going.

Furthermore, the wildlife in Prince Rupert is well known for its bald eagles gathering along the waterfront. It bears inhabiting the estuary of Khutzeymateen River, which is protected by the bear sanctuary.


Touring is restricted; only some trips are allowed if tour guides have a permit. Chartering a float plane trip to see the great peaks of the coast mountains is an excellent idea to get near the remote lakes.

5. Stikine River, British Columbia, Canada 

Beginning in Spatsizi wilderness park in north-western British Columbia, it traverses via the coast mountains range to find its way to finally meet the Pacific Ocean near Wrangell in Alaska.

It is the fastest-flowing river in Canada. The river was home to many stern wheelers because of its rapid flow during the gold rush days, from where they traveled to the Yukon territory.

Stikine River Grand Canyon BC Autumn
Source: Depositphotos

The largest tributary of the Stikine River is the Iskut River. The Stikine River provincial park is home to many animals for example – grizzly bears, black bears, hoary marmots, beavers, and many birds.

6. Liard River, British Columbia

The Liard River is one of the largest rivers in the country. It rises in the northwestern part of Yukon and flows southeast to finally join the Mackenzie River in British Columbia.

The major tributaries, for example, are- Hyland, Coal, Kechik, Beaver, Petitot, Fort, Nelson, and South Nahanni rivers.

Liard River BC Scenic Landscape
Source: Depositphotos

Famous for its hot spring park furthermore, one must beware of the serious rapids and also because of the grizzly bears ruling the waterways of the Yukon territory.

Besides, the river being covered in ice for nearly six months of the year does not mean that there are no fun summer activities to do.


1. Which is the longest river in British Columbia?

Fraser River – 375 kilometers – is British Columbia’s largest. It starts on the west side of the Rocky Mountains in Mount Robson Provincial Park. Then, it continues in the Georgia-bound strait of Canada.

2. Which is the major river in British Columbia?

The Fraser River has an average length of 135 km. It flows for about 1.7 km and then into the Strait of Georgia north of Vancouver.

3. What is the name of the largest tributary of the Fraser River?

Thompson river.


Besides the rivers that are mentioned above, British Columbia drains many other rivers, for example- the Capilano River, Powell River, Peace River, Adam River, Illecillewaet River, Gataga River, and so on. The list might seem never-ending! 

Moreover, make the best use of your summer vacation by planning a trip to any of these famous rivers and indulging in the activities offered by the parks. Lastly, one must remember that being in nature is the best way to rejuvenate yourself and your loved ones.

Last Updated on by Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *