Horse Racing Dawson Creek Photo SimonSees.com
By Patricia Cashin
The gently rolling plains and golden wheat fields of the beautiful Peace River provides a very different backdrop to the stunning mountains that British Columbia is famous for. Lakes and rivers are scattered throughout the Peace River region which also offers some of the most beautiful stretches of highway in British Columbia. With its unique scenery and vast resources, the Peace River District prides itself on standing out from the rest of British Columbia.
To help you plan a trip this summer we have provided a route itinerary that will take you about three days. Starting in Dawson Creek on the Alaska Highway to Fort St. John, west to Hudson’s Hope, south to Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge and back to Dawson Creek.
Dawson Creek is home to the ‘Mile 0’ mark of the Alaska Highway 97. Grain elevators, rolling plains, and patchwork fields dot this friendly and relaxed city that in 1942 was central to the construction of the Alaska Highway which was built as a military supply route in just over eight months.
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Heading north on the Alaska Highway 97 to Fort St. John the road crosses rolling prairies and passes through farming communities. Fort St. John is the capital of the Peace River district and a vibrant city that is a commercial, shopping, and transportation hub and the largest city along the Alaska Highway 97.
Approximately 10 km north of Fort St. John is the junction of Highway 29 that takes you to Hudson’s Hope. Known as the “Land of Dinosaurs and Dams” this scenic road meanders alongside the Peace River. We recommend you stop and visit the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, one of the world’s largest earth-filled structures that holds back the water of Williston Lake, British Columbia’s largest inland body of water. The Visitor Centre offers fun and educational exhibits that showcase dam construction, wildlife in the area, how they turn water into electricity, and a First Nations Gallery.
Hudson’s Hope is also known for having the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils and footprints in North America. Sculptures of giant dinosaurs lure people into the town’s museum to learn about the local rich paleontological history.
Continuing south on Highway 29 in the foothills on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find Chetwynd, nicknamed “Little Prairie”. Chetwynd enjoys a four-season playground of forests, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, undulating fields, and crystal clear lakes and rivers. The small town’s history is rooted in its pioneering and railway heritage.
A further 100 km south is the popular outdoor enthusiast’s paradise of Tumbler Ridge. The community was originally incorporated in 1981 to house the workers and their families employed by two large coal mines. Those mines have closed, but the community continues to thrive. Its resilient residents are finding ways to capitalize on the stunning scenery and outdoor recreation on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. When snowmobiling isn’t in season, the trails are used for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Surrounding lakes are popular with swimmers, boaters, and paddlers. Even golfers have a place to unwind.
From Tumbler Ridge the circle tour heads north on Highway 52 for 97 km returning to Dawson Creek. There are however alternate routes and towns to visit depending where your final destination is. One such community is Prince George. From Chetwynd take Highway 97 south to Prince George, known as the capital of Northern BC. This lively community is home to over 100 parks with year-round recreation opportunities. Stop by Exploration Place and discover the cultural, scientific, and natural history of the region. Check out the Prince George Native Art Gallery which displays works from prominent Aboriginal artists. Also, the Railway and Forestry Museum offers a look at the north’s industrial history.
The Peace River region is a place to explore. Start planning your trip now. Read more.
For accommodation options in this area and throughout British Columbia go to travel-british-columbia.com and search on lodging, camping or RVing.
Share your BC travel photos using hashtag #travelinbc.
Published: March 5, 2020
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