Dawson Creek – Ton of Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts!
Found in the heart of the wind blown prairie land of the Peace River Country, you’ll find the British Columbia city of Dawson Creek, a Canadian city with a claim to fame for being Mile “0” of the Alaska Highway, and definitely one of the best holiday destinations that packs an assortment of other outdoor activities.
Visitors come from far and wide each year to this prairie city to enjoy what Dawson Creek has to offer. Dawson Creek historically extends its warm hospitality during the winter season to workers from the oil patches.
There are thousands of people who drive the Alaska Highway each year, beginning their journey in the city of Dawson Creek and ending the trip in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaska Highway was built during World War II as a means of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through the country of Canada, and Dawson Creek is where the highway starts. The Alaska Highway journey is often made by people driving recreational vehicles, oftentimes as convoys which gather together in the city of Dawson Creek before starting the trek.
Once you reach Dawson Creek, you’ll want to pay a visit to the NAR Railway Station Museum – not only for the interesting museum itself, but also because the Dawson Creek Visitor centre is conveniently located inside. The Visitor Centre is organized and operated by Tourism Dawson Creek in cooperation with Destination British Columbia, and remains open to the public throughout the year. If you’re visiting Dawson Creek for the first time and you have a few questions about the city, the Visitor Centre within the NAR Railway Station Museum is staffed with experienced counsellors who are there to assist you with your Dawson Creek travel questions. Their location is 900 Alaska Avenue in Dawson Creek, with varying business hours so it’s best to call ahead if you plan on visiting the Centre 1-866-645-3022.
The Dawson Creek Visitor Centre is the perfect stop to make when you’re just arriving and still sorting out your stay in the city. They’re up to date on the various special events and attractions going on throughout the different communities of Dawson Creek, and can provide you detailed information about the city itself, the Dawson Creek region as well as the province of British Columbia if you’re traveling from outside of the province. Feel free to get some maps, brochures and guides on accommodations as well as get all of the updated information on local attractions while you’re there. If you haven’t made reservations for your accommodations before you arrive in Dawson Creek, the Visitor Centre’s trained counsellors are there to help you in booking your stay, either by phone or online, through Destination BC Approved properties. Since Dawson Creek is often the launch pad for many trips further north, the Visitor Centre also has a wide assortment of information on different vacations and tourism info for the Yukon and Alaska as well.
Since the Visitor Centre is within the North Alberta Railway or NAR Railway Station Museum, it’s an attraction you won’t want to miss out on when you check in to the Dawson Creek Visitor Centre – it’s like hitting two birds with one stone on your Dawson Creek itinerary. Located at 900 Alaska Avenue, sharing the same address as the Visitor Centre, the Northern Alberta Railway Station which was constructed there in 1931 is now a wonderful museum that actually recreates the atmosphere of what it would have been like to travel through this railway station decades into the past. The look and feel of the museum allows you to take a step back in time, immersing you into an old fashioned railway station complete with luggage trunks and other historic artifacts. The museum includes interesting artifacts from before the European settlement in the area as well. When you pass through this museum, you can collect a certificate that proclaims that you have “Been to Mile 0!”
Dawson Creek is a great place to call home base while you take part in a number of different kinds of outdoor activities. If you’re wanting to stick around the city while you get a breath of fresh air, you can always go on a self-guided tour of downtown Dawson Creek. There are many different sights to see within the city itself, ones that allow the area’s character and history to shine through with the help of local artists. Large sized murals can be viewed, displaying a range of different local scenes that were important to Dawson Creek’s history. If a self-guided tour of Dawson Creek sounds up your alley, you can grab a tour brochure from the Visitor Centre, the Art Gallery, or the Alaska Highway House.
The sights around Dawson Creek are great – but if you’re truly looking for a terrific Dawson Creek outdoors experience, you have to head to Bear Mountain! Bear Mountain Ski Hill is where all the downhill action is, and it’s located a quick ten minute drive from the city. With a skiing history dating back into the late 1950s, Bear Mountain Ski Hill has seen its ups and downs over the course of the decades, but this hill is still going strong and welcomes outdoors enthusiasts in the Dawson Creek region who come to take to the slopes and enjoy days of winter fun.
When you come to ski Bear Mountain you’ll be greeted with eleven beginner and intermediate runs, all accessed by T-bar. There’s a vertical drop of 108 meters or 360 feet from the top to the bottom. Don’t worry about having to be an expert skier – these runs are absolutely perfect for families out for a day of skiing fun, and the hill is remarkably perfect for skiers and snowboarders gearing up for a long winter season. You’ll find that the snow conditions at Bear Mountain are usually excellent throughout the winter months.
After a day of outdoors fun in the snow, you can relax and warm up in the on site pub. Grab a drink, have a snack, and maybe head back out for another run! Steak nights are held each Friday night from 6 pm to 10 pm throughout the months of January, February and March. In order to get to Bear Mountain from Highway 2, take the dangerous goods route to 17th Street and make a left turn. If you’re coming from the Alaska Highway, take the dangerous goods route to 17th Street and make a right turn. Before you leave, just confirm with the Dawson Creek Visitor Centre to get the latest information updates on Bear Mountain, and find out about the recent fees and rentals. They’ll have all of this information for you, including when the hill is in operation as the exact dates change year to year depending on the snowfall. Sometimes Bear Mountain Ski Hill opens for the season as late as mid-December, depending on the conditions, to check ahead!
If you want to see more of the beautiful Dawson Creek region, there’s no better way to get an eyeful of the pristine wilderness than on a pair of cross country skis. Bear Mountain offers a wealth of lovely Nordic skiing trails to enjoy, and the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Association is a great non-profit recreational association that works along with Cross Country BC to help people experience the thrill of cross country skiing, proving access to trails, facilities and classes to help people of all ages become acquainted with the sport.
When skiing the trails, you’re encouraged to ski with another friend for safety’s sake. If you are skiing alone, it’s important to let a friend or family member know where you are going and when you should be expected to return. You should always have a map of your route and know where you’re going, dress in warm layers of clothing, and remember to bring along water, food, as well as first aid supplies and a fire starter if you’re planning on going out for a longer trip. When cross country skiing Bear Hill trails, know that there is a first aid kit and toboggans that you can find located in the cabin on Bissette Creek and in the shelters. Be aware that cell phone reception is only available on the top trails, so don’t head out alone counting on your cell phone for a means of seeking help if anything should happen – plan accordingly.
You’re encouraged to make use of these fantastic Dawson Creek region trails throughout the entire year – they aren’t only for cross country skiers during the winter season! Come out all year round and enjoy hiking the trails or go cross country running, take your camera along and get some great shots of flowers and plants growing in the region. See a number of different species of birds and animals living in the area, or go mountain biking. You can even go horseback riding along these trails. You can make great use of this natural attraction doing a wide range of non-motorized recreational activities!
If you’re hoping to have some fun in the great outdoors without getting too far from the city, check out the Dawson Trail. It’s right in the community of Dawson Creek, and you can access this trail from many of the different parks in the city. You’ll find the trail head at the corner of 8th Street and 110 Avenue, with the entrance on the east side of the community. The trail is easily spotted, marked with a big awning with the words “Dawson Trail”written on it. If you’re coming from the west side of the community, you’ll be able to access the trail from 20th Street, or from the local golf and country club.
Dawson Trail encourages visitors and residents of Dawson Creek alike to get out and enjoy themselves, and to have fun while taking part in light physical activity. The trail is a walking path that’s accessible throughout the year, bringing you through Dawson Creek from one park to the next, effectively stitching the community together. The Dawson Trail is 4.5 kilometres in length, an it’s used by everyone from walkers and joggers to families with strollers, inline skaters, cyclists and even individuals on golf carts. In the winter season the Dawson Trail welcomes cross country skiers and snowshoers.
The trail is paved, and winds along the banks of Dawson Creek offering spectacular views and lots of green space. One of the best things about the Dawson Trail is that you can pick up or leave off wherever you feel like starting and stopping, and enjoy the trail at your own pace. The variety of parks offer a place for you to stop and rest or refresh, with picnic tables and benches available along the way, under trees or near vibrant flower gardens. How you’d like to enjoy beautiful Dawson Creek is all up to you!
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