Discover the unique Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Skiing Recreation Area in the Bulkley Valley, just north of Smithers, BC.
This area began development in 2008 and was created solely as a backcountry getaway for anyone who loves to engage in winter activities. Brian Hall, a long time Smithers local, envisioned an area that was fairly close to town and could be transformed into a recreational area accessible to many who enjoy self-propelled sports. With ongoing support over the years it has evolved to this and much more.
Eleven runs have been cut for below-tree-line skiing but for those who prefer a longer traverse into the Evelyn Backcountry Area, they can access it via the Ridge Trail. Two new runs, one gladed and one with 10 per cent retention, have been cut courtesy of sponsors and a federal grant combo.
A warming shelter offers a break from the weather. This day-use only shelter is located at the top of the treeline, only 90 minutes or so via ski touring from the parking lot. Alpine bowls beyond this shelter beckon. For overnighters, stay at the recently refurbished two-story cabin, Hankin Lookout, a converted fire lookout on the backside of Hankin.
The recreation area boasts good trail and avalanche signage. This is rare in backcountry areas. There is a permanent beacon checker near the parking lot entrance to ensure that your transceiver is working, outhouses at the parking lot as well as snowshoe and cross-country loops. Future plans include the installation of a weather station that would provide real-time climate data accessible via their website.
What you won’t find are any resort lifts or crowds. All trails are accessible from the parking lot, which is accessed by maintained road.
Cabin: The Hankin Lookout costs $5, payable in advance at Outdoor Essentials in Smithers. The lookout contains a fully equipped kitchen, stove, fridge and propane heater. Bunks sleep eight to 10 people and include some foam mattresses.
The hut boasts amazing views over the mountain ranges of the area including the rugged peaks of the Seven Sisters with its many glaciers, to the West. To the west the rugged peaks of the Seven Sisters Park are seen with many glaciers
Getting There: From Smithers to the recreation area, it’s a 40-minute drive. Drive north for approximately 20 minutes on Highway 16. Turn left onto Kitseguecla Lake Road and follow it for eight kilometres. Then turn left onto the 608 Road. Stay on 608 Road for six kilometres until you arrive at the recreation parking area.