British Columbia Highway 16

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Highway 16 shieldYellowhead shield
Highway 16
Yellowhead Highway
Trans-Canada Highway
Highway 16 highlighted in red.
Route information
Length1,173 km (729 mi)
Haida Gwaii segment
Length101 km[1] (63 mi)
North endMasset
South end BC Ferries dock in Skidegate
Mainland segment
Length1,072 km[1] (666 mi)
West end BC Ferries dock in Prince Rupert
Hwy 113 in Terrace
Hwy 37 south in Terrace
Hwy 37 north in Kitwanga
Hwy 118 in Topley
Hwy 35 in Burns Lake
Hwy 27 near Vanderhoof
Hwy 97 in Prince George
Hwy 5 near Tête Jaune Cache
East endAlberta border
continues as Hwy 16 (TCH)
Highway system
British Columbia provincial highways
BC-15.svg Hwy 15BC-17.svg Hwy 17

Highway 16 is a highway in British Columbia, Canada. It is an important section of the Yellowhead Highway, a part of the Trans-Canada Highway that runs across Western Canada. The highway closely follows the path of the northern B.C. alignment of the Canadian National Railway. The number "16" was first given to the highway in 1942, and originally, the route that the highway took was more to the north of today's highway, and it was not as long as it is now. Highway 16 originally ran from New Hazelton east to an obscure location known as Aleza Lake. In 1947, Highway 16's western end was moved from New Hazelton to the coastal city of Prince Rupert, and in 1953, the highway was re-aligned to end at Prince George. In 1969, further alignment east into Yellowhead Pass was opened to traffic after being constructed up through 1968 and raised to all-weather standards in 1969. Highway 16's alignment on the Haida Gwaii was commissioned in 1984, with BC Ferries beginning service along Highway 16 to the Haida Gwaii the following year.

A series of murders and disappearances has given the stretch between Prince Rupert and Prince George the name Highway of Tears.

Route description[edit]

Haida Gwaii section[edit]

The 101 km (63 mi) segment of the 1,347 km (837 mi)-long B.C. Highway begins in the west in the village of Masset, on the northern coast of Graham Island. Proceeding south, the highway goes 38 km (24 mi) to the inlet town of Port Clements. Winding its way along the boundary of Naikoon Provincial Park, Highway 16 goes south for 27 km (17 mi) before reaching the community of Tlell. 36 km (22 mi) south of Tlell, Highway 16 reaches Skidegate, where its Haida Gwaii section terminates.

Mainland section[edit]

BC Ferries then takes Highway 16 across the Hecate Strait for 172 km (107 mi) due northeast to its landing at Prince Rupert.

Highway 16 heading west towards Prince Rupert from Terrace

From Prince Rupert, Highway 16 begins its winding route east through the Coast Mountain Ranges. Following the Skeena River, the highway travels for 151 km (94 mi) to the city of Terrace. Highway 37 merges onto Highway 16 from north of Highway 16, at the Kitwanga junction.[2] Another 43 km (27 mi) northeast, Highway 16 reaches New Hazelton, where it then veers southeast along the Bulkley River. 68 km (42 mi) later, the highway reaches the town of Smithers, proceeding southeast another 64 km (40 mi) to the village of Houston.

Along the Skeena River, near Kitwanga

At Houston, Highway 16 begins a parallel course along the upper course of the Bulkley River, proceeding 81 km (50 mi) east to its junction with Highway 35, south of Burns Lake. 128 km (80 mi) east, after passing through the hamlet of Fraser Lake, Highway 16 reaches its junction with Highway 27 in the town of Vanderhoof. 97 km (60 mi) east of Vanderhoof, Highway 16 reaches its B.C. midpoint as it enters the city of Prince George at its junction with Highway 97. Highway 16 leaves Prince George after coursing through the city for 9 km (5.6 mi).

Passing through Mt. Robson Provincial Park.

120 km (75 mi) east of Prince George, Highway 16 reaches the community of Dome Creek, where it converges with the Fraser River and turns southeast. It follows the Fraser River upstream for 82 km (51 mi) to McBride, then continues upstream for another 64 km (40 mi) to its junction with Highway 5 at Tête Jaune Cache. 14 km (8.7 mi) east of Tête Jaune Cache, Highway 16 enters Mount Robson Provincial Park, coursing through the park for 63 km (39 mi) to the boundary between British Columbia and Alberta within Yellowhead Pass.

The Highway of Tears[edit]

The Highway of Tears is a stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert.[3] Since 1970, numerous women have gone missing or have been murdered along the 720 km (450 mi) section of highway.[4] Aboriginal organizations speculate that number ranges above forty.[5] In 2006, RCMP launched Project E-Pana; a special task force that, with the exception of Shelley-Ann Bascue, originally focused on the Highway of Tears disappearances and murders.[6] The unit was originally given nine cases in 2006, expanded its scope away from Highway of Tears victims in 2007, and doubled to eighteen cases in 2007.[6] Due to budget cutbacks in the past few years, E-Pana's officers and budget have been dramatically cut. RCMP claimed that these cuts significantly hindered investigations into the Highway of Tears.[7] While the number of missing persons along the stretch is reported at eighteen, Medium reports that the criteria used to come up with this number is often too harsh for it to be a full overview and First Nations groups report the number to be closer to forty [1]. Cody Legebokoff and Bobby Jack Fowler are named responsible for four and ten of the murders [2]. The original nine victims recognized by the RCMP are as follows: Alisha Germaine, Roxanne Thiara, Ramona Wilson, Aielah Saric-Auger, Tamara Chipman, Nicole Hoar, Lana Derrick, Delphine Nikal and Alberta Williams. The additional nine added later are Shelley Bascu, Maureen Mosie, Monica Jack, Monica Ignas, Colleen MacMillen, Pamela Darlington, Gale Weys, Micheline Pare and Gloria Moody. These woman are reported as missing or murdered and many of the cases remain unsolved. [3]

In 2016, the Canadian government launched the “National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls” after communicating with victim families. This was done to find methods of slowing the violence against their indigenous population.

Major intersections[edit]

From west to east, the following intersections are observed along Highway 16.[8] Distances exclude the 172 km (93 nmi) ferry between Skidegate and Prince Rupert.

Regional DistrictLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
North CoastMasset0.000.00Hodges Avenue / Towhill RoadWestern terminus of the Yellowhead Highway
Skidegate100.9062.70Oceanview Drive (Road 33) (Hwy 951:1502) – Queen CharlotteHwy 951:1502 is unsigned
101.1962.88 Skidegate Ferry Terminal
Hecate StraitBC Ferries from Skidegate to Prince Rupert
North CoastPrince Rupert0.000.00 Prince Rupert Ferry Terminal
15.189.43Galloway Rapids Bridge from Kaien Island to the mainland
15.369.54Skeena Drive (Port Edward Road) (Hwy 951:1504) – Port EdwardHwy 951:1504 is unsigned
Kitimat-StikineTerrace145.9190.66 Hwy 113 north (Nisga'a Highway) – Nisga'a Nation
Dudley Little West Bridge and Dudley Little Main Bridge crosses the Skeena River
150.5093.52 Hwy 37 south – KitimatWest end of Hwy 37 concurrency; former Hwy 25
Kitwanga241.10149.81 Hwy 37 north (Stewart-Cassiar Highway) – Stewart, Watson LakeEast end of Hwy 37 concurrency
New Hazelton284.17176.58Churchill Street (Hwy 62 west) – HazeltonHwy 62 is unofficial and unsigned
Passes through Smithers
Telkwa366.39227.66Passes through Telkwa
Houston414.19257.37Passes through Houston
Topley445.08276.56 Hwy 118 north – Granisle
Burns Lake496.39308.44 Hwy 35 south – Francois Lake
Fraser Lake565.47351.37Passes through Fraser Lake
616.66383.17 Hwy 27 north – Fort St. James
Passes through Vanderhoof
Fraser-Fort GeorgePrince George716.66445.31Southridge AvenueInterchange; no westbound entrance
717.08445.57Tyner Boulevard, Domano BoulevardProvides access to the University of Northern British Columbia
720.55447.73 Hwy 97 – Dawson Creek, Quesnel, Kamloops, VancouverHwy 97 north is the John Hart Highway;
Hwy 97 south is the Cariboo Highway
722.03448.65Victoria Street / 20th Avenue
723.74449.711st AvenueFormer Hwy 97A
725.70450.93Yellowhead Bridge over the Fraser River
729.86453.51 Old Cariboo Highway (Hwy 941:1156 south) to Hwy 97 – Airport, QuesnelHwy 941:1156 is unsigned; former Hwy 97A
742.31461.25Upper Fraser Road (Hwy 941:1577) – Willow River, Giscome, Upper FraserHwy 941:1157 is unsigned
McBride933.97580.34McBride Bridge over the Fraser River
Tête Jaune Cache995.60618.64 Hwy 5 south (South Yellowhead Highway) – Valemount, Kamloops, VancouverTête Jaune Interchange
Mount Robson
Provincial Park
1,009.70627.40West end of Mount Robson Provincial Park
1,072.37666.34Yellowhead Pass – 1,131 m (3,711 ft)
Hwy 16 (TCH) – Jasper National Park, Jasper, EdmontonContinues into Alberta
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2016. pp. 224–271. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-11. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  2. ^ Infrastructure, Ministry of Transportation and. "Highway 37 Map - Province of British Columbia". Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  3. ^ Gerson, Jen. "Four things to know about Highway of Tears scandal, and the documents B.C. government allegedly deleted". National Post. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  4. ^ Ferreras, Jesse. "Highway Of Tears: BC's Missing And Murdered Women". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Those Who Take Us Away" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Project E-PANA". BC RCMP.
  7. ^ Culbert, Lori. "Police budget, officers cut in Highway of Tears probe". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  8. ^ British Columbia Road Atlas (2007 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 16–23, 26–30, 36–37. ISBN 1-55368-018-9.

9. “Highway of Tears.” The Canadian Encyclopedia,

10. Hall, L. “The Highway of Tears.” Medium, Medium, 30 Mar. 2020,

11. Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “The RCMP Seeks Your Help in Solving Cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 19 Nov. 2020,

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
Yellowhead Highway
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