Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Smith River Falls - Fort Halkett Provincial Park

  • The park is closed due to a large wildfire that burned through the entire park. Road access from the Alaska Highway to the falls is closed until clean up is complete. For a list of provincial parks with park closures and campfire bans in effect or for more information about campfire bans click here.

About This Park

This park contains the spectacular Smith River Falls. The 35 m high and 10 m wide falls plunge into a deep pool below with a thunderous roar, especially in early summer. The falls viewpoint is readily accessible by vehicle. The area also contains the old site of Fort Halkett, a former Hudson's Bay Company post.

Park Size: 254 hectares

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Location and Maps

Smith Falls/Fort Halkett Park is located at the confluence of Smith River and Liard River, near Kilometer 820 of the Alaska Highway and about 30 km west of Liard Hot Springs Park. A viewpoint to observe the Smith River falls can be reached by vehicle.

The largest community nearby is Fort Nelson, approximately 350 km southeast. The road is very narrow and may not be suitable for larger vehicles; passing oncoming traffic can be extremely difficult.

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Nature and Culture

  • History - Fort Halkett was a Hudsons Bay Company trading post established in 1829 on the Liard River near the Fort Nelson River, then moved farther west on the Liard to its confluence with the Smith River in 1832. The post traded furs with the Kaska, Sekani, and Dene-Thah nations. It closed in 1875. A recreation reserve was established in 1966 over the area from the highway upstream for 3-4 km on both sides of the river. A series of river terraces extend from the highway to the falls, a distance of about 3 km. The Area was identified in the Fort Nelson Land and Resource Management Plan (1997) as a Goal 2 Protected Area.
  • Cultural Heritage - Smith River / Fort Halkett Park overlaps with the traditional use areas of the Kaska Dena culture of the Lower Post First Nations.
  • Conservation - The Park represents features of the Liard Plain ecosection. It is located in the boreal white and black spruce biogeoclimatic zone.
  • Wildlife - Moose are abundant in the area and are readily observed in the park. Wood bison can occasionally be seen in the area along the highway corridor. The Smith River contains good populations of bull trout and arctic grayling. Longnose sucker and slimy sculpins are also found in the river.
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Access to the river from the day use area is not very good and not worth the short trip on the river. Most paddlers access the waterway via Liard River. For a great day trip, you can canoe about 34 km down the Smith River to the Liard River. At the Hwy 97 bridge over the Smith River, paddle a short distance down the Smith River to the Liard River and then down the Liard River highway bridge at Liard River Hot Springs. The trip is rated a Class 1 with easy access to the rivers from the highway with no portages. Take time to explore the interesting side drainages and fishing for Artic Grayling and Bull trout where smaller tributaries flow in the Liard. Ask the Park Operator or staff at Liard River Hot Springs Lodge about the possibility of arranging a shuttle for a nominal fee.

Park visitors should be aware that the Grand Canyon on the Liard River contains sections of severe rapids (Class IV and higher). River travel in that area is only recommended for experienced paddlers.
Cycling

Cycling

Visitors can cycle down the Smith River Falls viewpoint access road. This gravel road is used by vehicles and all cyclists should use protective gear and be aware of road traffic. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

Arctic Grayling, Bull Trout, Burbot, Finescale Dace, Lake Chub, Lake Whitefish, Longnose Dace, Longnose Sucker, Mountain Whitefish, Northern Pike, Round Whitefish, Slimy Sculpin, White Sucker, and Whitefish (General) have all been recorded as resident in the Smith River. All anglers should refer to the BC Fishing Regulations for current information.

Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

A short trail meanders down from the day-use area to the base of the river. It is an easy walk and provides visitors with a different perspective of the falls.
Hunting

Hunting

Please refer to the BC Hunting Regulations for current hunting information.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash and under control at all times. You are responsible for their behavior and must dispose of their excrement.

Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

This park contains the spectacular Smith River Falls. The 35 m high and 10 m wide falls plunge into a deep pool below with a thunderous roar, especially in early summer. The falls viewpoint is readily accessible by vehicle. The area also contains the old site of Fort Halkett, a former Hudson's Bay Company post.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

Jet boats can access Smith River Falls via the Liard River.
Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

The Smith River Falls parking area has a picnic table and a rustic fire ring. Visitors must bring their own wood as no firewood is provided.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

This park only has pit toilets - no flush toilets.