Alaska - Western Canada Journey

Day 5 - Journey on the Alaska Highway Begins!


Day 5 theme was dominated by the Alaska Highway, including Mile 0 at Dawson Creek. This highway was both an engineering marvel and clearly demonstrated the power of determination by the US Army Corps of Engineers. We stopped at Dawson Creek for several hours to talk with the friendly visitor center staff, walked the town and visited the Alaska Highway Museum, and finally the Pioneer Village. More on Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway below.

The drive was long at over 500 miles, including a long stop in Dawson Creek, made for a long day. The poor weather in late afternoon forced us to stop and camp on the bank of the Buckinghorse River.

Alaska Highway


We got the first taste of long delays due to many road maintenance activities.

The weather changed considerably during the day. For the most part, the monring drive was dry. We drove through several rain systems on the Alaska Highway.


Dawson Creek

Dawson Creek's claim to fame is Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway, and it has done a great job promoting its status of the beginning of this historical highway to attract tourists. We only stopped here for an afternoon and can't claim good knowledge of the city, but our walk around downtown yielded mostly Mile 0 markers, banners and plaques. Two places we enjoyed were the Alaska Highway House (museum), and the Pioneer Village, both are described below. The counselors at the visitor center were very knowlegeable, friendly and helpful in our trip considerations. We actually stopped here twice, one on the way to Alaska, and the other on the way to Jasper National Park. Here is a good overview of Dawson Creek. Below are some places we visited.

Dawson Creek Station Museum: The Station Museum has the original Northern Alberta Railway offices and the stationmaster's home (preserved circa 1940), and the Natural History gallery. Artifacts from the old railway offices were displayed, along with household items from the stationmaster's home. The Natural History gallery displayed large and small wild animals, and birds of all kind. Items were typically well labeled.

Official site about the museum

Alaska Highway House and the Alaska Highway:The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II, connecting the contiguous US to Alaska through western Canada in response to Japanese aggression and threats. It was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers with four separate construction thrusts going on in parallel. The construction started in March 1942 and completed in October- just over 8 months for a length of1,680 miles, with subsequent rerouting brought the distance down to just over 1,400 miles. Considering weather issues, logistic difficulties in ferrying equipment in for construction among other things, this was truly a tremendous achievement. The Alaska Highway House in Dawson Creek provides a good depiction of this construction effort. Wikipedia has an informative article on the Alaska Highway.

Walter Wright Pioneer Village: This park complex houses old buildings and artifacts from the early days of Watson Creek. School, church, home, barn, general stores are some of the buildings on site. Buildings of historical significance were moved to this location and preserved for future generations to learn about lives in the past. That was a great foresight that Walter Wright had; this should set a good example for our own generation. provides a good overview of the village.

Dawson Creek Tourist information


Buckinghorse River Wayside Provincial Park

We had wanted to travel further, but the poor weather forced us to stop here, and I was glad that the experience was good. This park is practically in the middle of nowhere - The best description about where the park is "Located approximately 200 km northwest of Fort St. John at kilometre 278 of the Alaska Highway". We could have stopped at some small roadside motels, but glancing views at some from the road caused us to keep moving, opting instead to stay in our own car-tent in the wet weather. We had to put up with the rain through the night, managed to cover the luggage so it would stay dry, and had a cold dinner. On the other hand, we had a beautiful campsite next to the Buckinghorse River, and only shared the campground with two other big RVs. We felt comfortable sleeping in our car tent, felt happy and amused - isn't that what it's all about?

We liked the park once we got to it. The location was wonderful, with the river right behind the campsites. All sites are graveled, and have picnic tables and fire rings. There are ample of trees to make it feel nice but not overly so. According to the park information below, there would be wildlife viewing and fishing possibilities. provides information about this park.


Highway 97 To Dawson Creek The road was well maintained, with sections under maintenance slowing us down.
Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Buckinghorse River Same as above, with the addition of fowl weather creating a subsued and reflective mood for travelers.


The weather was great through mid afternoon. This suited us fine since our only visit to Dawson Creek was under sunny and dry weather. Then the weather turned cold and rainy through the night, and much of the following day.