Ancient Haida poles, Haida Gwaii
(Daryl Benson/Masterfile photo)

Northern British Columbia

Climate & Weather

Northern BC encompasses more than half the province.

Its climate is as diverse as its geography, which varies from Pacific inlets and islands in the west to mountains and plateaus in the western and central interior to prairie grasslands in the northeast.

Visitors can expect temperatures to be cooler than in the southern regions of the province in all seasons. While summer doesn't last long, the days are extremely long – at some golf courses, you can even book tee-off times as late as 7 pm.

As you can see from the charts, precipitation, as well as high and low temperatures, can vary considerably within Northern BC. These two charts are most indicative of the weather within the region. Prince Rupert is situated on the region’s coast; Prince George is located further inland.


Unlike the south coast of the province, spring takes its time getting to Northern BC. It warms up in May, with average highs of 15° C. Evenings can still get down to near freezing.


Summer temperatures average in the 20s C and stretch across long days. On the summer solstice (June 21), the sun rises in Fort Nelson – one of BC's northernmost communities – at 3:58 am and sets at 10:25 pm. Wile the long evening away with good company and good food alongside one of region's thousands of tranquil northern lakes and rivers.


Autumn is in the air by September. While days are still usually mild, evenings can drop to freezing.


Winter varies in Northern BC. Along the coast, expect rain and milder temperatures. Snow blankets interior areas from mid-November through mid-March; ski areas boast some of North America's largest snow bases. In fact, annual snowfalls of 1,200-1,500 cm are the norm in the mountains. Lows vary depending on where you are, but average about -10° C. Days are short during the winter months; on the winter solstice (December 21), the sun doesn't rise in Fort Nelson until 9:01am and sets at 3:15 pm.

What to Wear

Layer, layer, layer! Bring long and short-sleeved t-shirts, micro-fleece sweaters, shorts, pants, light down vests, wind jackets and rain gear for summer. You'll want to keep a layer between you and the pesky mosquitoes which can be a nuisance anytime except mid-winter. In the winter, you'll need a heavy coat, micro-fleece or wool sweaters, scarves, hats, warm gloves or mittens, and boots.