Every summer RVs, motorists, motorbikes and cyclists pack up their gear and take to the highways and backcountry roads of Canada. To many living in Canada and to some visiting Canada the sunshine months screams out, “Road Trip!”
Traveling the roads of Canada is a great way to see large sections of our country. We are fortunate enough that we have enjoyed the opportunity to explore every popular road trip in the country. Some we have explored over and over again… too many to count.
The routes vary. There are driving and cycling routes which lose themselves in the mountain ranges and time warp through eco systems often visiting the wildlife neighbourhoods of Mother Nature. There are driving routes where days never end and one drives with the midnight sun. There are routes which explore forests of maple trees shedding their red, yellow and orange leaves in the late autumn months.
A road trip is like a self guided museum tour except with no commercialization, no walls and in real time. Road trips are self educational, self researched and self inflicted.
Road trips stimulate the senses. There are scents of pine forests, ocean breezes and flowering alpine meadows. There are sounds of rivers crashing, loons howling and families laughing. One can feel the sun and nature smiling. One can feel the rain and nature crying. One can feel the wind and nature’s mood swings.
There are so many out-of-this-world road trips in Canada exploring throughout the country it is hard to decide. To name a few… there is the Dempster Highway (Yukon/NWT), the Waterfall Highway (NWT), the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park (Alberta), the Cabot Trail (Nova Scotia), the Trans Canada Highway, Lighthouse Route (P.E.I) and the the Alaska Highway (BC/Yukon).
The Trans Canada Highway is the longest driving route measuring over 7800+ kilometres connecting the west with the east from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland. The Trans Canada Highway is said to be the world’s longest national highway.
The Dempster Highway is the most rough and rugged highway following mostly a 760+ kilometre gravel road (not highway) from just south of Dawson City, Yukon to the Arctic Circle to Inuvik, NWT. And… arguably, many claim that the Alaska Highway is the most recognized and popular road trip.
The Alaska Highway is a historic, scenic and globally recognized driving route in Canada traveling through Northern British Columbia and the Yukon. The Alaska Highway route follows a scenic 2,451 . kilometre (1523 mi.) paved road from Mile “0” in Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska, U.S.A. It is a famous highway recognized as the “16th Wonder of the Engineered World”.
Every road trip has a starting point and ending point. If there is one shortfall to many who plan a road trip is that they do not plan for enough time in the communities which are the designated starting and ending points.
The eastern terminus of the Alaska Highway is located in the community of Dawson Creek located in the northern section of the British Columbia, Canada. The start of the Alaska Highway is referred to as “Mile 0”.
The “Mile 0” marker is located in downtown Dawson Creek at the main intersection. It is marked by a monument topped with flags. It is hard to miss. It is often being hugged by someone – someone with their thumbs up and smiling for a photo.
Dawson Creek, BC is most famous as the “starting line” for the long-haul Alaskan road trip. However… there are some other adventure destinations and sightseeing attractions to plan for when in Dawson Creek prior to the start of your road trip.
Leoppky Park is a network of walking paths exploring a well documented demonstration forest resting on a hilltop. From the lookout there are wide ranging views of the community of Dawson Creek.
N.A.R. Park is short for Northern Alberta Railway Park. It is a cultural and historical park destination located in Dawson Creek. The park is easily identified by the metal statue pointing skyward and a towering grain elevator. It is also the site of a museum and travel info station.
Walter Wright Pioneer Village is a heritage site which explores the history of the early pioneers who settled in the area of Dawson Creek. The village is a collection of buildings and artifacts dating back to the early 1900’s providing a quick glimpse into the lives and hardships of the early pioneers.
Swan Lake Park is a popular recreation destination located south of the community of Dawson Creek. First established in 1918, the park is British Columbia’s third oldest park attracting people to the region who enjoy swimming, canoeing, camping, boating, fishing and birdwatching.
Old Alaska Highway Historic Bridge is located at “Mile 21” on the Old Alaska Highway. It is an old wooden curved bridge which crosses the Kiskatinaw River. It is only timber bridge of its kind remaining in Western Canada. Built in 1942-43 the high banked, curved bridge is an engineering wonder extending 162 metres (534 feet) across. The structure is a called a three span, timber truss bridge and extends about 30 metres (100 feet) above the Kiskatinaw River.