The Peace Country is rich with dinosaurs! This is a dinosaur tour in a loop, so you can explore lots of territory and never back track.
Head for B.C. via Dawson Creek (of course) then turn north on Highway 97. A short detour takes you to Kiskatinaw Provincial Park where the road crosses the Kiskatinaw River Canyon on a marvellous curved wooden bridge built during World War II. There’s a nice park and usually the river is good for cooling off in, although maybe not just now.
Next comes Taylor, star of the CBC series Village on a Diet and home of the World’s Invitational Gold Panning Championships on the August Long Weekend. Here you’ll meet the Peace River, so be ready for gorgeous scenery. Peace Island Park is a good place for a picnic stop, and check out the Rocky Mountain Historic Forts while you’re there. Maybe you’ll find fossils on the banks of the river.
On to Fort St. John, the oldest non-native settlement in British Columbia and now a city with all the amenities. On the way into town you might want to see The Honey Place, the world’s largest glass beehive. Just past Fort St. John is Charlie Lake, with a nice campground, not far from where archaeologists say humans have camped for over 10,000 years.
Between Charlie Lake and Hudson’s Hope the highway follows the Peace River, offering stunning scenery, fishing and hiking. The museum has a collection of fossils befitting one of the richest fossil areas in the Peace.
Just west of Hudson’s Hope are two dams, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the Peace Canyon Dam. You can tour both: the Bennett Dam is one of the largest earth filled dams in the world, immensely impressive, and beautiful at night; the Peace Canyon Dam also houses life sized dinosaur exhibits and a miniature pioneer museum. Watch for eagles and osprey at the dams’ spillways as they hunt for the fish coming through. Williston Lake, created by the dam, is a beautiful place to stop and plop a few rocks in the Peace canyon.
A 40km side-trip into the wilderness will yield unforgettable moments if you discover Gething Creek’s dinosaur tracks. Make sure you go at a dry time, not only because of the back roads, but because the tracks are in the creek!
Next stop is Moberly Lake, a campground with a sandy beach, swimming, fishing and boating. This is a very popular campground, as you may know, so if you want to stay over night it’s best to arrive early or reserve a spot.
And then you arrive in Chetwynd, “B.C.’s most liveable small community.” You can’t miss the dozens of skillfully crafted chainsaw carvings around town, especially at the tourist information centre. Stop in and ask about hiking on the ridge.
Now you’ll have to decide whether to head back to Dawson Creek or continue on to Tumbler Ridge. Check out this post about Tumbler Ridge to help you decide 🙂
Enjoy your touring!