Dawson Creek, British Columbia is known for being the start of the Alaska Highway and there are plenty of fun and interesting things to do to make this a very worthwhile stop along your drive to Alaska or the Yukon Territory.
I’ve driven the Alaska Highway many times and I hope to encourage you to spend some time in the town of Dawson Creek instead of just flying through! They have plenty of opportunity to get outside in trails and parks and learn about history.
Note: Dawson Creek is NOT the same place as Dawson City in the Yukon, nor is it in anyway related to the 90s TV show!
Dawson Creek is the homeland of the BC Métis and Beaver First Nations, who made this remote area their home long before the highway was planned, and still do today.
Dawson Creek is located in Northern British Columbia, near the Alberta border.
It’s about a six hour drive from Edmonton and a four and a half hour drive from Prince George.
How to get to Dawson Creek
If you’re going to Dawson Creek, most likely this is because you are driving the Alaska Highway, either to or from Alaska or the Yukon Territory.
Dawson Creek is the official beginning of the Alaska Highway, but you’ll likely be driving several days to get to this point.
If you’re coming from the West Coast, you’ll likely be coming up through Seattle, Vancouver and Prince George on BC Highway 97. If you’re coming from the Rocky Mountain West, the midwest USA or Edmonton or Calgary, you’ll come up Alberta Highway 2 and 43.
Best time to go to Dawson Creek
The best time to go to Dawson Creek is whenever you happen to be driving the Alaska Highway!
Between mid May and mid September, all attractions and businesses, including the visitor center, are open most days with longer hours. Dawson Creek is a busy community with plenty of highway traffic passing through all year, though some businesses may have more limited hours.
Winters are cold in Dawson Creek, with short hours of daylight. Roads are well maintained but may be closed at times during storms.
Summers are warm and often downright hot and very dry here. Fall colors on the surrounding mountains are beautiful in late September.
Things to do in Dawson Creek
It’s well worth it to take a break from the road and spend a little time in Dawson Creek! This is a great place to learn about the history and engineering of the Alaska Highway as well as stretch your legs on some lovely trails.
Take a Photo at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway
If you’re driving the Alaska Highway, you won’t be able to resist the urge to take a selfie with the Mile 0 sign, and you shouldn’t! Driving the highway is a big deal and this is a great place to document it.
Even though I didn’t do it for this picture, I recommend getting your vehicle in the photo too!
You can find the sign and the monument near the visitor centre, station museum and the art gallery.
Visit the Station Museum
Dawson Creek became the starting point for the Alaska Highway because the Northern Alberta Railway came here from Alberta, which brought US soldiers to town to start building the highway in 1942.
The town grew from just a few hundred to over 20,000 in less than a year as soldiers and civilian contractors arrived to build the highway. At the Station Museum, located next to the Visitor Centre, you can learn what life was like during that wild time.
Take the Historical Walking Tour
Stop in the visitor centre after you get your Mile 0 selfie and pick up your brochure for a self guided walking tour of downtown Dawson Creek, including another monument to Mile 0, the Alaska Highway House and more. This is also a great way to get some walking, shopping and lunch in while you explore town.
Hike or Ski the Trails at Bear Mountain Wind Park
For those looking for a bit more trail time with some great views of the area, 7 miles of rolling trails are here at the Bear Mountain Wind Park. You can explore the trail as long or short as you like. There is also a ski hill in winter and mountain biking in summer.
Go back in time at Walter Wright Pioneer Park
Located just at the edge of town, where the John Hart Highway and the Alaska Highway meet, Walter Wright Pioneer Village gives you a taste of life before the Alaska Highway construction made Dawson Creek famous.
You can explore on your own or take a tour. A variety of original buildings and replicas as well as lots of old farming equipment and a beautiful garden.
There’s also a Splash Park and RV park as part of the village and the Mile 0 park.
Find local art at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery and Market
The grain elevator converted to an art gallery is located between the Mile 0 sign and the Station Museum and is a great place to discover and support local artists. If you’re traveling in the summer (late May to early September), there’s also a farmers market featuring plenty of artists in addition to amazing produce.
Walk along the Dawson Trail by the river
At just under 3 miles (5 km), the Dawson Trail is a great place to stretch your legs along the creek and through town. A year round trail with very mellow grades, it’s a perfect place to take a break from the road and get a feel for the town while getting some exercise.
See the historic Kiskatinaw Bridge
The Kiskatinaw Bridge is about 20 miles north of Dawson Creek on the way to Fort St John, so if you’re heading north on the highway you’ll get to it on your way out of town. If you’re not going that way, this bridge is still worth the detour to check out!
Built as part of the original Alaska Highway in 1942 and 1943, it was a uniquely engineered bridge for its time.
The Pouce Coupe wooden trestle bridge is located just outside (east) of Dawson Creek, even closer to the Alberta border. A must see for bridge lovers and engineering enthusiasts, the bridge was built by the Northern Alberta Railway in 1930. This photogenic bridge makes a great photo stop.
Take a side trip to Tumbler Ridge
Tumbler Ridge is about an hour from Dawson Creek and is well worth the effort to visit if you have a couple extra days. Tumbler Ridge is a UNESCO Global Geopark with lots of outdoor adventure, stunning waterfalls, wild rock formations and even dinosaur tracks!
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years and I still spend lots of time there every year. I've been a tour guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington and am a field editor for the Milepost. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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