Welcome to Mile Zero! Dawson Creek is the point of origin of the Historic Alaska Highway, which stretches 2,400 km north to Fairbanks in Alaska.
When the geologist, George Mercer Dawson, led his survey party through the area in 1879, he was delighted with the fertility of the land and its attractive scenery. The first permanent white settler established his homesite in 1907.
The Northern Alberta Railway built its terminus east of Dawson Creek in 1931. Not to be thwarted by this, the folk of Dawson Creek moved their buildings, both domestic and commercial, to the area near the railhead, the present location of the townsite. By 1941, the village population had reached over 500. That year, because of the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the Americans realized the need for a western transportation route to Alaska that was not dependent upon waterways.
Starting in March 1942, and working swiftly from both ends, American Engineer Troops (10,000) and construction gangs under civilian contractors (6,000) completed the Alaska Highway in November 1942. Overnight, Dawson Creek mushroomed into a boomtown.
Wide blue skies and the seemingly endless rolling foothills of the Northern Rockies dominates Dawson Creek. The town is a major transportation centre for the surrounding area, much of which is agricultural. Many of Dawson Creek’s residents are dependent on agriculture for their economy, and Dawson Creek honey is a much sought-after treat. Honey is available at the Farmer’s Market, along with a selection of farm produce, on Saturdays from May to September.
This is a friendly city, and the community is well known for the hospitality afforded the constant stream of visitors who stop to access the services of The Mile Zero City before beginning the great trek north.
Location: The Alaska Highway begins in the Mile 0 City, Dawson Creek, and traverses almost 1,000 km of diverse terrain before the traveller enters the Yukon Territory. Dawson Creek is located in the Peace River Regional District, about 41 miles (65 km) southeast of Fort St. John, 258 miles (412 km) northeast of Prince George, 717 miles (1,198 km) north of Vancouver, and 78 miles (125 km) west of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Visit the unique and exquisite Art Gallery, located in a renovated grain elevator relocated to Northern Alberta Railway Park. Exhibitions feature both local artists as well as travelling collections from major galleries. A picture rental service to residents is also provided. On the uppermost floor of this building is the Bin Top, which is used for special meetings and activities for the community.
Visit the Dawson Creek Station Museum, located in downtown Dawson Creek in the Northern Alberta Railway Park, and housed in the renovated N.A.R. railway station. The west side of the building has been historically restored to its former glory as a railway station, complete with waiting room, office, baggage room and living quarters. The east end of the Railway Building contains the geological and archaeological history of the areas, as well as an impressive wildlife exhibit set in superbly crafted dioramas. Among these, one of the most interesting exhibits is the huge mastodon tusk found in the banks of a nearby river.
Discover the story behind the monumental Alaska Highway. Visit Alaska Highway House, located by the Mile ‘O’ Post. Stop in and be amazed by the state-of-the-art technological and imaginative displays that relate the incredible story of yesterday and today.
Winter activities at Bear Mountain, only 5 minutes from downtown, include downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Club has over 20 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails. Mountain bikers use these trails in summer. The Paradise Valley Snowmobile Club has 280 kilometres of trails linking to Tumbler Ridge, with trails continuing another 200 km past Tumbler Ridge.
Don’t even think of not having your photograph taken at the Mile Zero signpost in the middle of town! Located in downtown Dawson Creek at 102nd Avenue and 10th Street, this monument commemorates Dawson Creek’s role in the building of the Alaska Highway. The original post was four feet high and stood where the traffic circle is today – until hit by a car and broken!
The man-made Rotary Lake at Mile 2 offers summer swimming, a playground, a BMX trail, and a cook shelter for day use.
Stroll along relaxing pathways at beautiful Kin Park or visit the waterfowl refuge at McQueen Slough.
A late summer favourite is the Dawson Creek Agricultural Fall Fair, Exhibition and Pro Rodeo.
Four kilometres off the Alaska Highway on Road 64, near the halfway point between Dawson’s Creek and Taylor, is the Kiskatinaw Provincial Park , providing vehicle/tent sites for camping. The Kiskatinaw River flows along the east side of Dawson Creek, then bends north around the town toward the park. Situated right beside the historic bridge on Highway 97, the park provides river access and good fishing for pike, and possibly bull and rainbow trout, right near town. Even better fishing is found on the Peace River, near its confluence with the Kiskatinaw River.
Harken back to Dawson Creek before the Alaska Highway construction. Walter Wright Pioneer Village will transport you to a time when Dawson Creek was a small but active town serving the needs of the agricultural community. On display are pioneer buildings, a furnished log house, a blacksmith shop, a trapper’s cabin, and a general store where old-fashioned treats are still available.
Swan Lake Provincial Park is located 30 km south of Dawson Creek, in the flat prairies along Highway 2 near the Alberta border. Camping is available.
The small 5-hectare Sudeten Provincial Park offers vehicle/tent sites and a picnic area on the west side of Highway 2, near Swan Lake Park.
Ready for a paddling adventure? The Murray River Canoe Route encompasses over 50 km of canoeing, and offers a fantastic experience. For a shorter trip suitable for novice canoeists, the Murray River from Kinuseo Falls to Tumbler Ridge can be canoed in a few hours or a few days, depending on where you put in and how fast you paddle. You will need someone to drop you off and pick you up, or leave a vehicle at the end. Another popular put-in point is at East Pine Provincial Park, where the East Pine River flows into the Murray 25 km east of Chetwynd.
Golf: Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club is an 18-hole golf course in the beautiful Peace River Valley. Come and play one of the premiere courses in the Peace River area.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Circle Tours: See the best of Northern BC on one of the Circle Tours that capture the wonders of the north. The Circle Tour of Northern British Columbia incorporates the Alaska Highway through the Rocky Mountain foothills to Watson Lake in the Yukon, linking with the Stewart/Cassiar Highway and Yellowhead Highway 16 in the south. The Inside Passage Circle Tour and the Native Heritage Circle Tour follow the same route, from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island north by ferry to Prince Rupert. Catch another ferry to the Queen Charlotte Islands, or venture east on the Yellowhead Highway to Prince George, and south through the peaceful Cariboo to Vancouver along the historic Cariboo Wagon Road.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.