Location: Northeastern British Columbia,
16th kilometer of Mile 171 (Grassy) Road off Alaska
Highway, approximately midway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.
The waterfall, layered rock by the waterfall, meeting moose on
Mile 171 Road, fairly good road conditions on Mile 171 Road (but also
see "of note").
June 2016 Update:
Mile 171 Road is now very rutted and potholed, though still quite
passable in a high-clearance 2WD
Of note: Remote area, no
cell phone signal, steep cliffs at the waterfall viewing area, Mile 171
Road could be impassable in 2wd and/or low-clearance vehicles, unless
it's dry. Also, there are no signs on Alaska Highway directing you to
Sikanni Chief Falls, so you need to know exactly where to turn off the
Northern BC Backroad Mapbook (3rd edition) Waterfall
73 (Pink Mountain) B6.
Sikanni Chief Falls Protected Area - BC Parks.
106 - Sikanni
River Trail Hike.
Other Trips off Alaska Highway:
Christina Falls Trail Hike,
Stone's Sheep Trail
Summit Ridge Trail Hike,
Summit Peak Trail
British Columbia Waterfalls visited by
This turned out to be an interesting visit from the get
go, as we spent over an hour looking for the right road to take to the
Falls. Finally, Mile 171 Road turned out to be the correct one. Here is
how it all went down:
1. We drove North on Alaska Highway
past Fort St. John to get to Sikanni
Chief Falls. Alaska Highway in this part of British Columbia is mostly
featureless, and usually looks something like this.
Alaska Highway British Columbia Canada
2. Mile 171 Road is located between the communities of
Sikanni Chief (to the South) and Buckinghorse River (to the North).
After Sikanni Chief (there is an RV park there or something like that)
look for a small green sign for Mason Creek, seen in the photo below.
Alaska Highway Near Mile 171 Road BC Canada
3. Mile 171 Road would be on your left very shortly.
Here it is. Take note of a large white sign by the road.
57⁰19.701' W 122⁰49.240'.
Alaska Highway at Mile 171 (Grassy) Road British Columbia Canada
4. The sign says "Sikanni River Ranch Mile 171".
That's a good clue that Mile 171 Road starts here.
Sikanni River Ranch Sign at Alaska Highway BC Canada
5. Upon turning onto Mile 171 Road, another sign would
advise you that this is also known as "Grassy Road," the primary user
being Canadian Natural Resources (phone #250-785-3085). In emergency you
may call 1-888-878-3700, and, if you have a radio which can broadcast on
the frequency of 150.815 MHz, it's a good idea to call your locations as
you drive up and down this road.
Grassy (Mile 171) Road Information Sign
6. The road was in a very good shape.
Mile 171 (Grassy) Road BC Canada
7. Alas, between km 4 and 5, there was this one still
wet and muddy spot, which we did not dare crossing in our high-clearance 2wd
vehicle. So, we camped overnight on the side of the road.
Messy Road Mile 171 (Grassy) Road British Columbia Canada
8. The next day, we decided to bike to our
destination. It was sunny and rather warm.
Photo of Grassy Road (Mile 171) British Columbia Canada
9. Mile 171 (Grassy) Road is not very picturesque,
mostly going through a forest. There are a lot of hills, so cyclists are
going to get a good workout. Beware, though, as the gravel surface is
quite slippery, and there are many grooves on the roadway, which make
things even more complicated. Going fast is very tempting, especially on
a downhill like the one pictured below (located between km 8 and 9), but
we had to constantly slow down on this road.
Downhill on Mile 171 Road off Alaska Highway
10. Aside from saving gas money and exercising your
legs, another great advantage of biking on Mile 171 Road is that you are
more likely to spot moose, who would hear a car much sooner than a
bicycle. These two juveniles were very alert and shy, so it took a 12x
zoom and much cropping to make them appear close in the photo below. In
reality, they were about 150 meters away, and ran into the woods before
we could get any closer. Another, much larger moose, ran away on our way
back before we could take a photo.
Moose on Mile 171 Road British Columbia Canada
11. There is a three road split between km 14 and 15.
The road to the right goes for a short bit to a small industrial
installation (if we recall correctly). The road in the middle leads
to Sikanni River Ranch and to the
trail. And the road to the left will get you to...
Road Split Mile 171 Road
12. ...Sikanni Chief Falls.
Sign to Sikanni Chief Falls Provincial Protected Area
13. In a few minutes, the road all but ends at a huge
Large Open Area Near Sikanni Chief Falls Trailhead
14. Just beyond that, there is a much smaller parking
lot of sorts by
the Sikanni Chief Falls trailhead. There is a pit toilet there too.
Coordinates: N 57⁰15.686' W 122⁰58.893'. Elevation: 985 meters.
Parking Area by Sikanni Chief Falls Trailhead BC Canada
15. A warning message.
Sikanni Chief Falls Recreation Trail Warning Message
16. It is possible to keep biking, though there are
way too many roots on the path that follows, and, besides, the path is
quite short. Also, this steep stretch right after the sign would make
pushing a bike up on your way back fairly difficult.
Sikanni Chief Falls Trail British Columbia Canada
Our Sikanni Chief Falls Trip Report
Continues On Page 2.
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Chief Falls Visit Page 1 of 2