Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park, New Aiyansh: Address, Phone Number, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park Reviews: 5/5

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park

Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park
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PookyCake
Victoria, Canada11,265 contributions
Where Geology and Culture Meet
Jul. 2019
The Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park is a unique experience. Established in 1992, this Park is the first in British Columbia to be jointly managed between First Nations and BC Parks. As such, it offers visitors an inimitable opportunity to experience rich Nisga’a culture intertwined with natural history. It is, in other words, a place where the Nisga’a culture and Canadian geologic history meet.

Indeed, the history of the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed is fascinating. When the Tseax Cone erupted circa 1700, it sent millions of pounds of basalt lava flow and rock into the Nass River and valley below, forever altering the physical landscape. Trees were burned (creating “tree casts”); the Nass River was dammed (creating beautiful Lava Lake); and two Nisga’a villages – Lax K’abit and Lax Ksiluux – were destroyed, resulting in the deaths of approximately 2,000 people. When all was said and done, the lava flow extended over a 22 kilometer area and was 3 kilometers wide. Now, over 250 years later, the landscape looks otherworldly, even being described as “moonlike” by some.

While the sheer size of the park is somewhat intimidating (clocking it at just over 178 square kilometers), the Nisga’a have performed yeoman’s duty to make sure it’s a manageable experience for visitors via the Nisga’a “Auto tour,” which is available online or at the Terrace and Nisga’a Visitor Centres. The tour is essentially self-guided; however, it sets out key geological and cultural points of interest throughout the park, allowing you to pick and choose what you’d like to see according to your own schedule. The tour sets out 18 different stops; highlights include:

Lava Lake, which formed as a direct result of the volcanic eruption and subsequent lava flow, is a picturesque area offering good fishing and swimming opportunities. There are also pit toilets and picnic tables on-site.

Crater Creek: This area of the park speaks to the sheer power and force of the eruption. As you amble along this rocky landscape, you can’t help but wonder how it got its name seeing as there’s no creek in the immediate vicinity. Reading the available information, however, you learn that the creek is apparently up to 30 meters below your feet, running below the solidified lava rock. This area also gives a good sense and idea of the type of lava you’ll be encountering throughout much of the park. The first type is “A’A,” which is and jagged; the second type of lava is “Blocky” which, as the name implies, are large chunks that were cast out by the erupting cone.

Drowned Forest: This place was the highlight for me. When the waters are high, the Txeas river flows into and over the surrounding forestscape; hence, the name “Drowned Forest.” The green-ish waters, concomitant with the turbulent and roaring falls made for a sublime experience. Absolutely stunning! I’d make the drive back just to see this again.

Vetter Falls: Only a short drive from the Drowned Forest, the Vetter Falls represent a contrast of landscapes. Arriving at the pullout, you first walk a short graveled path – surrounded by lava flow on either side – towards the green foliage of forest. From there, you witness the Vetter Falls. While these aren’t the largest Falls in the area, they are one of the easiest to access and photography. The cool waters are inviting for a swim while the general atmosphere lends itself to a sense and feeling of calm.

Hot Springs: These are natural hot springs that hold significant cultural importance for the Nisga’a. The natural sulphur smell is said to be that of the “spirit” and thus they ask that you respect the site. The nerdy types will also enjoy the geological process involved in this site, too.

Visitors Centre: This is a small building, but an absolutely crucial stop for those who want a well-rounded understanding of the Nisga’a and the Memorial Lava Bed. While here you can receive practical information about the park and its physical features; learn about the Nisga’a legends and oral histories that inform their understanding of the park; and, of course, grab a few souvenirs to take home with you.

Indeed, the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park offers a number of geological, cultural and outdoor recreational activities for everybody. Even though I did spend a day at the Park, there was still much left unseen. Visiting the Tseax Cone was probably the biggest “miss;” however, one MUST set up a guided tour to visit the cone – no visitors allowed otherwise. Maybe next time. And there will be a “next time.” The Park is just too rich, vast and complex to limit to a single visit.
Written March 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

susanaquerida
Vancouver, Canada428 contributions
Full day needed to see it all
Aug. 2019 • Couples
Spectacular scenery. It’s a long drive from one end to the other, so don’t rush it. From Terrace to Gingolx at the tip of the park, it’s 170 Km. Bring food & drink as there aren’t many places to obtain these. The lava field is immense. Shows the power of nature when a volcano flows, it takes over everything. The visitor Centre is unique in that there is a staff person only seasonally but they can answer questions & there’s a 3-dimensional model to view. Pick up the auto tour pamphlet in Terrace. There are 3 villages, a beautiful museum & hot springs to visit.
Written September 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Damien S
Adelaide, Australia4,546 contributions
Just Amazing.
May 2019 • Friends
Smooth easy drive from Terrace. I was amazed from the moment we drove into the park. So much to see and all soooooo beautiful. Waterfall, Lava Beds, hot springs, walks, amazing views. Bring food and water as there’s a lack of food outlets. The place isn’t busy so your often have areas all to yourself. It takes all day if you want to see it all. A must visit!
Written May 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Springhunter
Kamloops, Canada122 contributions
Eerie and amazing
Oct. 2018 • Couples
I have been before a couple times and was very happy to see the changes both man made and otherwise. I first visited in 1972 and at that time there was absolutely no moss or lichen nor trees growing on the lava at all. Now it is clear that mother nature is growingover given enough time. There is also a lot more signage explaining what happened and a nice campsite.
Written October 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

caperstwo
Edmonton, Canada127 contributions
Worth the drive to see
Jul. 2018 • Couples
I am almost embarrassed to admit that I did not know this park existed until this summer. It is such a great place to visit. Geographically, historically, and culturally of great interest. If you have the opportunity to visit this - do so!
Written September 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

RamblinTam
Smithers, Canada39 contributions
Fascinating and unique part of northern BC
Aug. 2018 • Family
Take the auto tour to numerous sights and activities throughout the lavabeds area. The walks are short, but each is a little different. We had fun taking photos of the sights, different forms of lava, water falls and the beautiful mountain scenery. This area has few tourists considering its unique landscape and stunning scenery.
Written August 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cheryl A
Coquitlam, Canada91 contributions
Drive of a lifetime!
Aug. 2018 • Couples
This is an unbelievably interesting drive along the Nisga’a highway. So many memorable stops along the way. (Get the auto guide map)
The eruption was about 250 years ago. The landscape is lava rock covered with lichen. If you can't do the (Ksi Wil Ksi-Bax Mihl / Crater Creek) hike in to take a look, it’s ok because you’ll see the same scenery along the drive.
Memorable stops were:
>>Lava Lake was pristine and I had a great little swim.
>>The hot springs: Three rustic tubs among the trees. They get progressively hotter - the third one is so hot I could barely stand it on my hands. But the other two were good temperatures. It’s worth the walk in and there are a couple of wooden huts that allow for some modesty if you are changing into a swimsuit
>>Suspension bridge: Terrifying in the high winds but fun nonetheless
>>Fish wheel: Based on a photograph from the 1800s, someone in Fisheries built this fish wheel. It sits in the Nass River and collects specimens so the Fisheries folks can check stock, harvest eggs, and generally keep an eye on the ecosystem. The hike down and beach is covered with black sand from volcanic rock. Luckily we didn’t see the grizzly tracks until the end of our hike!
>>Gingolx: The farthest town on the Nisga’s highway. By the time we got there, it was a bit late to take the waterfront walk mentioned in the brochure. Instead we drove to the end of the road and turned right, following the road over a rickety bridge to the marina. It felt like the end of the earth and although sometimes you can see whales, we didn't see any.
Vetter Falls: We were told it was a top 10 in BC must-see. I don’t know I’d go that far, but it was definitely pretty. The water in this area is a blue like you’ve never seen before and it’s delicious.
Museum: Pretty impressive. I’d recommend it. Lots of artifacts that had been sold or lost have found their way back to this area. Lovingly put together and informative. If you’re lucky there will be some Nisga’a art lessons or displays in the lobby and the friendly people will enhance your visit with the stories they share with you. We got to meet the guys who helped build the facility and carve the raven in the foyer.
>>Government house: The 2000 Nisga'a Treaty is the first modern-day treaty in B.C. The Nisga’a government built impressive government buildings. We appreciated going on a tour to hear more about the history of the people. It’s shameful how they were treated by the BC government but inspiring to see where they are going.
Written August 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lucia M
10 contributions
Locals and Out of Country visitors enjoyed alike!
Aug. 2018 • Family
My family and I spent the day exploring the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Beds. It was such an excellent experience, we followed the auto tour. The short hikes along the route break up the driving and are quick and accessible. We visited the museum and enjoyed it, however much of the artifacts in the museum are not labeled. So doing booking a tour would have been beneficial. The hot springs are wonderfully upgraded and are a treasure in the North. The whole tour can be done in 5-6 hours and end with the hot springs to complete your visit to the Nisga'a! They have done an amazing job communicating their beautiful culture!
Written August 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

chadbester22
British Columbia, Canada36 contributions
Fantastic day drive with world class nature views and ocean front drives.
Jul. 2018 • Family
This drive is exceptional for its wild wilderness experience from its high mountains, ocean front drive, lava bed experience, water falls, and a small hot spring about half way. We seen porcupine, black bear and may eagles right from the car.
Written July 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kim M
Kenora, Canada246 contributions
Very beautiful place
Jul. 2018 • Couples
Lovely and informative visitors centre although the visitor centre location halfway through the auto self tour means having to back track (would be helpful to have the pamphlets at the beginning of the auto route). Interesting stops to appreciate the affects of the lava field.

Campground was a bit pricey for a provincial park given that it was pump water and pit toilets that had run out of toilet paper.
Written July 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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