Nechako Canyon Protected Area
About This Park
Established in July of 2000, this 1,246 hectare protected area is located about 80 km southwest of Vanderhoof. Access is via the Holy Cross forest service road on the west side of the canyon, or the Kenney Dam Road to the east (NTS map reference: 93F/10).
The Nechako Canyon Protected Area includes the 7 km long Grand Canyon of the Nechako. The canyon was created by the raging Nechako River cutting through volcanic rock, but is now a dry riverbed since the construction of the Kenny Dam diverted the water to the Pacific Coast. This impressive gorge with sheer rock walls, towering pinnacles, and overhanging cliffs is now considered a special feature, providing a rare opportunity to observe these erosional features.
The area has been utilized by the Carrier First Nations peoples for many years. More than 130 archaeological sites have been documented including a village site near Cheslatta Falls where pit depressions from dwellings and food caches can still be found.
There are no park facilities at Nechako Canyon, but just outside the protected area off the Holy Cross Road, is the Cheslatta River Recreation Site. This popular camping site is actually on land owned by Alcan, the company behind the construction of Kenney Dam and the reservoir development of the area.
The Kenney Dam, 7 km south of the recreation site, was an impressive feat of engineering when it was built in the early 1950s. With four million cubic yards of material and standing over 90 metres high, it was the largest rock-filled dam in the world. The reservoir behind the dam was filled from 1952 to 1957.
From the recreation site, a forest service trail follows the Cheslatta River to meet the the Nechako River at the 18 metre high Cheslatta Falls. The Cheslatta Falls hiking trail is 1.2 km one way. Beware of steep drop-offs to the turbulent river and slippery footing at the falls. Stay on the marked trail.
Park Size: 1,246 hectares
Location and Maps
This 1,246 hectare protected area is located about 80 km southwest of Vanderhoof. Access is via the Holy Cross forest service road on the west side of the canyon, or the Kenney Dam Road to the east (NTS map reference: 93F/10).
Nature and Culture
Activities Available at this Park
There are cross country skiing opportunities in this park; however, there are no set tracks.
There are also snowshoeing opportunities in this park. The trails to use for both these activities are the same as the summer trails.