In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to complete an overland journey across North America north of Mexico. Today, you can explore this legendary trail by land and water. Day trips along the historic route are accessible by gravel road from Quesnel and Prince George, near Highway 97. Or, at Burnt Bridge Creek near H Bella Coola, take the scenic two-hour loop trail at the western border of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, which traces Mackenzie’s path along the base of 1,000m (3,280ft) cliffs and glaciers. Experienced backpackers can plan ahead and hike the 350km (217-mile) outback portion of the trail in three weeks. A food supply drop at the halfway mark is essential. Shorter hiking segments are also possible. To reach Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park – the westernmost point of Mackenzie’s journey and where the explorer inscribed his famous words: “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793” – you must travel by boat, just as Mackenzie did. The main trailhead begins next to a parking lot on Blackwater Road, off Highway 97 near Quesnel and Prince George.
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