The dramatic landscape blended with the rich native culture makes this park a special experience. The park offers visitors a chance to explore many unique and interesting features of a volcanic landscape and to learn about the culture and legends of the Nisg̱a’a people.
Just outside of the park, there are five communities, four of which are Nisg̱a’a villages. Their names are Gitlaxt'aamix (New Aiyansh), Gingolx (Kincolith), Gitwinksihlkw (Canyon City), and Laxgalts’ap (Greenville). All communities are road accessible from the park. Within the communities there are amenities like: grocery stores, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, gift shops, gas stations and health services.
Special Features: Anhluut’ukwsim Lax̱mihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisg̱a’a (Nisg̱a’a Memorial Lava Bed Park) is the first park within the Province of British Columbia established to combine interpretation of natural features and native culture. The park is included in the landmark treaty, the “Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement”, between the Government of Canada and the Nisg̱a’a Nation. Nisg̱a’a Memorial Lava Bed Park is also the first park to be jointly managed by a First Nation and BC Parks.
The Nisg̱a’a alkali basalt flow is one of the youngest and most accessible volcanic features in British Columbia. The guided volcanic tours offer the park visitor a chance to hike 3km through a scenic old growth forest and past a variety of volcanic features to a viewpoint overlooking the crater. To protect the special features of the area, unguided access to the volcanic cone is prohibited. The hike is rated as moderate with some hills and steep stairs.
Geological History: As the lava spilled from the crater an estimated 250 years ago, it followed a creek bed downslope to Lava Lake and down the Tseax Valley to the Nass River. The lava travelled at different speeds depending on the steepness of the slope. Some types of lava flow and interesting features include:
This park offers 16 vehicle-accessible campsites on a first-come, first-served basis, campsite reservations are not accepted. There are large sites, double sites and wheelchair-accessible sites available. Most sites are shaded due to the surrounding deciduous forest. Additional parking is available at the visitor information centre, which is located next to the campground. Self-registration, running water, and firewood are available. There are no sani-dump facilities.
Wilderness camping is permitted in the backcountry and alpine areas, but there are no developed trails to access these areas. Camping is not permitted in the frontcountry or on the lava beds.
Accessibility information is available for these areas of the park:
This park has several day-use/picnic areas. One is located at Vetter Falls, another at Lava Lake, and one at the Visitor Information Centre. There are fire rings available at the visitor information centre and the day-use area.
Pit toilets are available at Lava Lake, Vetter Falls, Nisg̱a’a Campground, the visitor information shelter and the Tseax River pullout. A wheelchair-accessible pit toilet is located at the Nisg̱a’a Campground.
There is a water pump located at the Nisg̱a’a Memorial Lava Bed Park Campground.
A gravel, single lane boat launch accessing the Nass River can be found at the park’s north end. A gravel, single lane boat launch accessing Lava Lake can be found at the park’s south end. Parking space is available for vehicle and boat trailers at both locations. Overnight moorage is not recommended at the Nass River boat launch location due to fluctuating river levels.
Please conserve firewood. There are fire rings available for use at the visitor centre and the campground. While campfires are allowed and campfire rings are provided at each campsite, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using campstoves instead. Firewood can be purchased in the park or you may bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary from park to park. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act ). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
The easiest way to access the Lava Beds is to take Highway 16 to Terrace, then north for 100km on the Nisg̱a’a Highway, which is paved for the first 70km. The alternate route is through Kitwanga on Highway 16. From Kitwanga, head north for 78km on paved Highway 37 to the Cranberry River. Here the unpaved Nass Forest Service Road leads west to New Aiyansh, a distance of 86km.
The visitor centre is located at the campground and offers merchandise, maps, stories, pictures, and information about attractions. Learn about Nisg̱a’a language, culture, history, feasts, and laws.
Hours of operation:
Cultural Heritage: The history of the region is tied to legends handed down from past generations. The Nisg̱a’a house system is composed of four main families: Wolf, Raven, Killer Whale, and Eagle. Each family owns stories and passes them on to the next generation.
One of the most well known stories is about the genesis of the volcano. Legend has it that children had shown disrespect to the life-giving salmon by putting stones and burning sticks into their backs and watching them swim. The elders warned the children repeatedly to stop but they did not listen. Soon the ground began to rumble. The volcano and the lava flow then covered the valley bottom, redirected the mighty Nass River and destroyed two villages. This resulted in 2000 Nisg̱a’a people perishing.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.