Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada is a step back in time providing an opportunity to discover ancient fossils and explore along trails once covered in massive sheets of glacial ice. The canyon park includes an interpretive hiking/walking trail following the shores of Dawson Creek located north-east of Smithers, British Columbia, Canada in the Bulkley Valley.
The 21 hectare park is located just south of the Babine Mountains Provincial Park. In 1967 the park was created because of discovery of fossils embedded in the rock on the east side of Dawson Creek. The area immediately was designated a historic protected park in an effort to protect the fossil beds for further study and observation. Today, Driftwood Canyon Park is considered one of the world’s most significant fossil bed parks.
The 300 metre hard-packed gravel trail, travels over a foot bridge, to a creekside observation point where one can explore the rivers edge looking for fossil remnants. It seems the most common fossil finds embedded in the rock are redwood trees, alder leaves and insects. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE ANY FOSSILS FROM PARK.
50 million years ago, the Bulkley Valley was a wetland of swamps and shallow lakes enjoying a subtropical climate. A million years ago volcanic activity sent lava spilling through the wetlands covering lakes and catching animals and plants by surprise in the lake beds under harden layers of volcanic sediment. The most common insect and animal fossils left behind in Driftwood Canyon Park were the water strider, march fly. and the world’s oldest specimens of salmon, trout and suckers.
The entrance of the park is easy to find on the way to the Babine Mountain Provincial Park, There is a parking lot and a grassy field area with creekside picnic tables, fire pit and some interpretive signs about the fossils in the area. Nearby... are the park pit toilets.