Rivers in British Columbia
Photo by kermit nicou on Unsplash

6 Famous Rivers in British Columbia

Top rivers in bc, canada

British Columbia is a province in the western part of Canada. Its diverse topography includes rocky coastlines, rivers, lakes, mountains, and grassy plains. About 50% of the population resides in the southern part of British Columbia which is home to most of Canada’s bird species. Let us get to know about the famous rivers in British Columbia.

What are the Main Rivers in British Columbia, Canada?

Vancouver drains the River Fraser from Columbia to Peace to the Skeena River. Furthermore, many short rivers from the Coast Mountains drain west towards the Pacific Ocean. Some more drain Victoria Island and Queen Charlotte Islands in addition to these main rivers.

Famous Rivers In British Columbia

The province is drained by six major 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, British Columbia, Canada

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. With 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 as it is the largest of its many tributaries. Not only is it the longest river in British Columbia but also with plenty of fishing hope and scenic beauty.

The River is surely a must to explore but while being alert of wild animals that inhabit the region, for example- bears, muskrats, wolves, and coyotes. 

2. Columbia River, British Columbia, Canada

                                                                     Columbia River, Gorge
Image by 12019 from Pixabay

The river originates at Columbia Lake located in the rocky mountain trench of British Columbia. It is the largest resource of world hydroelectric power and also the first deep water harbor of San Francisco, USA. 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. The Columbian River gorge is an important trade and shipping route due to its portal through the mountains.

Columbia River is famous for the following activities offered-

i. Canoeing

ii. Kayaking

iii. Fishing

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

3. Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada

                                                                        campbell river, park
Image by AllThingsCoastal from Pixabay

It is a river on the east coast of Vancouver Island of 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 location is favorable for adventure activities like-

i. mountain biking

ii. hiking

iii. go carting

iv. scuba diving

v. kayaking

vi. golfing

vii. canoeing

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, has attracted the forestry and mining industries.


The salmon festival in August brings many people of Vancouver Island together to devour fish and participate in various events like- Hagg Brown Festival and The Logger Sports. The scenic beauty has attracted many filmmakers to select The Campbell River, which is known for its location. Hence it is a great place to relax and explore.

4. Skeena River, British Columbia, Canada 

                                                                  Skeena, River, British Columbia
  Image by ArtTower from Pexels

Originating at the southern end of the Spatsizi plateau, located between Mount Gunanoot and Mount Thule. Rising in the Northern interiors of British Columbia and 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.

Some of the major tributaries are-

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 and bears inhabiting the estuary of Khutzeymateen River which is protected by the bear sanctuary.


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

5. Stikine River, British Columbia, Canada 

Stikine River, Grand Canyon, Source: unlimphotos
Image by Pictureguy from unlimphotos

Beginning in Spatsizi wilderness park in north-western British Columbia 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.

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.

Adventure activities Offered are-

Canoeing, Tubing, and Kayaking are restricted as a result it is only allowed on the upper Stikine.

6. Liard River, British Columbia, Canada 

                                                                liard river, source: unlimphotos
Image by Pictureguy from unlimphotos

The Liard River is one of the largest rivers in the country 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.

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.

The Liard River Corridor offers many activities –

Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, river rafting, wildlife viewing, and photography The Grand Canyon contains severe rapids. Hence, tourists must be aware as river paddling is only for experienced paddlers.

Questions About Rivers In British Columbia

1. Which is the longest river in British Columbia?

Ans: 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 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 keep in mind that being in nature is the best way to rejuvenate yourself and your loved ones.

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