Dawson Creek is a small town in British Columbia, Canada that is best known as being “Mile 0” of the Alaska Highway. For those adventuring by road to Alaska, the Alaska Highway (or AlCan) is the only road to Alaska, crossing through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory before entering Alaska.
If you are traveling from the lower 48, getting to the START of the Alaska Highway can be an adventure, and the community of Dawson Creek is a place to pause and celebrate.
Located at the confluence of the Dawson Creek and the Pouce Coupe River, Dawson Creek was initially a farming community, but quickly became a hub of BC transportation.
In the early 1930s, the Northern Alberta Railroad had a terminus at Dawson Creek to support the construction of the Alaska Highway. The town quickly became a hub for road and rail travel through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Oil and gas reserves discovered in the surrounding area and the wind farm south of town have brought an energy economy to the area in recent years.
Dawson Creek is also a good place to gear up for the less populated miles ahead on the Alaska Highway. Amenities such as grocery stores, medical services, and mechanics may not be readily available further down the Alaska Highway. While in town, there are some fantastic attractions that offer a look into the the area’s history, natural beauty, and resources.
- Waterfowl Refuge at McQueen’s Slough. For birders and photographers, this area offers abundant opportunity to view birds and waterfowl nesting and migrating through the area. The slough is northeast of Dawson Creek and includes boardwalks around the perimeter to allow visitor access.
- Radar Lake Community Forest and Bear Mountain. Winter and summer recreational opportunities including snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, small craft boating, and hiking are available at Radar Lake and Bear Mountain. It’s also a great place to birdwatch—spotted hermit thrushes, western tanagers, and many other species have been spotted.
- Alaska Highway House Museum. Learn about the history and engineering challenges of building the Alaska Highway at this little museum. Plan to spend some time to watch the film and give yourself a greater appreciation of the road miles that lie ahead.
- Fishing at nearby waterways. Dawson Creek is surrounded by many lakes, rivers, and streams that are fishable throughout the year. Whether you prefer fishing from a lake shore or river bank, Dolly Varden, Burbot, Grayling, Trout, Perch, and Northern Pike are just a few of the fish species that might grab your hook. Some of the more popular fishing locals include Dawson Creek, Dinosaur Lake, Moose Lake, and the Wolverine River. Ice fishing is popular during the winter months as well.
- Explore Tumbler Ridge Geopark. About an hour south of Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge offers abundant trails for exploring the wilderness of British Columbia. Several new trails have been added to allow hikers to explore the wilderness. Waterfalls, fossils, and over 3,000 years of anthropological resources give a wide variety of things to discover. The Tumbler Ridge Geopark is recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Annual events like the Pioneer Village Jamboree (late June), the Mile 0 Cruisers Cruise & Shine (mid-July), and the Dawson Creek Rodeo & Parade (August) will add extra local flavor to your visit.
There are several established campgrounds in the Dawson Creek area that are RV-friendly and include various amenities. Since the summer months bring many travelers through the Alaska Highway, calling ahead for reservations is recommended.
Gilbert Parker says
We spent several days here on our way to Alaska and on our way back. It was very enjoyable.
Pete Ballantyne says
The NAR was built to transport grain from the wheat farms of the Peace River Bloc (no K) AKA the Peace River Region of British Columbia and the Grand Prairie area of Alberta. The, reason that the Alaska Highway started at Dawson Creek was because the NAR was all ready there. How do I know that? I spent the better part of the 1960s in YDQ as manager of the airline that serviced that area. Great city and and area which my wife and I will be visiting this summer as we will be doing “The Highway” as it was known as when I lived there. One big change will be PAVEMENT. When I last drove it it was mud, which was an improvement over Dust, dust that never seemed to settle.
Kevin Andrews says
Im a new Rver … buying my first ine this month may 2019 im 72 dont weter to go with a bounder or HR Vacationer.
Small world I qas a manger for Borek in yrb 1n 1980
My first trip was on the Alaska Highway was in 1962, when I was 12. I have traveled it twice more since then and will be doing it again this summer. Last time we cut over through Chetwynd. Not sure which way we’re going this time. That’s a navigator decision, above my pay grade.
Eldon Farmer says
Wow you’re old!
Joe DelliCarpini says
My wife and I traveled to Alaska in 2017 with our 20 ft Bullet. Started in Holister California, and headed to Dawson Creek, BC. 1400+ miles later we were in Fairbanks, AK. Headed south to Denali NP, then to Anchorage, AK. Took a ferry ride to Juneau. Rode the White Pass Yukon Railroad from Skagway north. Saw the Mendonhall Glacier. On our way home, we were surprised by following two brown bears down the Cassiar Highway. It took us 45 days (middle May and June) No issues with truck or trailer. We did prepare carefully for this trip. The Milepost book is worth it. We want to do this trip again, God willing.
Bill Truman says
The Alaska Highway can be a challenge for RV’ers. If there’s a lot of flooding in the spring, the hwy will be construction site after site. There is an alternate route that goes up to Williams Lake Yukon. It runs up the coast from Stewart BC Canada and Hyder Alaska USA. Good highway with some very scenic areas. If you go to Alaska, I would recommend using both routes if conditions allow.
Bill Sahlman says
About 30 miles out of town going North is a little Provincial Park we stay at. It’s along the River with no amenities but the wooden trestle bridge is the longest curved wooden bridge in North America. It is also not very crowded usually in the park.
Bill Truman says
Before you hit the Yukon, make a stop at the Larde Hot Springs Prov Park in Northern BC. The water is always naturally hot and very relaxing after being on the road for a day or two.
I first traveled the AlCan in 1979 from California to Anchorage when I was assigned to
Elmendorf Air Force base. Since then I have traveled the AlCan a dozens of time. Take your time and enjoy the camping. I now drive the AlCan with my RV twice a year (snowbirds)
Wife and I visited Dawson Creek on our way back from Fairbanks in 2017. We were in a 7 month 50 state trip (not near enough time to do it right) pulling a 38’ fifth wheel toy hauler. Loved the trip but I would not pull a travel trailer or drive my current motorhome on the AlCan highway, it is really rough on the equipment. I will drive it again, but just in my truck.
Wm. Greg Stevens says
While serving with the Canadian Provost Corps, I was stationed in Dawson Creek. We were responsible for patroling the NWHS. The peace river bridge had collapsed, we crossed via the rail way treacle. Dawson Creek was good to us except for the gumpo on our boots.l