Alaska - Western Canada Journey

Day 6

Breathtaking sceneries and wildlife of Northern British Columbia


Similar to Day 3, this day was supposed to be about getting from point A to point B. Yet in the same way, we were drawn into and mesmerized by the beautiful sceneries we encountered in the northern British Columbia. From Stone Mountain to Summit Lake, from Toad River to Muncho Lake, from moose to buffalos, there were plenty of things to keep us entertained during this long and wet drive. If time permits, schedule a long stay in this region may be a wise decision. There are many things to see even just along the road within a relatively short distance. And if one has the time to explore the wilderness, it seems the reward would be great for both scenery and wildlife.

Aside from the poor weather and occasional long stretches of roadwork, there was not much to complain about.


Stone Mountain Provincial Park - There are several Stone Mountains in North America, and glancing at results from a web search might yield information about the more famous ones such as the one in Georgia. Stone Mountain in British Columbia is in a remote corner of the province, also reaching the end of the Canadian Rockies. If I recall correctly, this moutain range is the first in a long stretch of road from Dawson Creek, make it it even more exciting to see. As the name implies, it's mostly stone that we saw, although not quite the single monolith formation as the one in Georgia. When we arrived at the viewpoint, the mountained was shrowded in the clouds, creating an air of mystique especially when there is no one else in sight, and in the silence of nature.

Official park description: The park description suggests great hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. provides good information for visitors beyond what's offered by the official description:

Summit Lake Provincial Park - At 4250 ft, this is the highest point of the Alaska Highway. Somehow, it felt a lot higher than that as we got there. Perhaps the colder climate and the vastness of the region contributed to that feeling. There is a beautiful campsite right on the lakeshore. This place seemed crowed when we returned through here in mid afternoon. So if the plan calls for camping on the lake, perhaps timing the travel to arrive earlier in the day might improve the chance to get a good campsite in the summer. Earlier in the year, you can practically have the campground for yourself, if you can tolerate cold weather (per the report below)!

A nice blog with pictures of the lake in May- cold!

Toad River - This river was so named because of the large toads found along the banks in the 19th century (upward of a pound). Like many rivers carved by glaciers, the color of this river is jade green. The Alaska Highway winds its way alongside the river for several miles as it flows through Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Its beauty is enhanced by its remote location, its position in a fairly large valley bordered by majestic mountains and glaciers. There are several pullouts along the river. In fact, we stopped here for lunch since we had been driving for a long time and were not sure how much longer before we'd reach Muncho Lake. It turned out we were within 30 minutes of the lakeshore.

Wikipedia has a short article on Toad River

Muncho Lake - Muncho (muncho means 'big lake' in Kaska language) Lake's reputation preceeded itself. We read in some travel promotion of this lake being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. As we descended the hills, the lake came into view and was absolutely beautiful (although I could not judge whether it was the most beautiful one I'd ever seen). The lake color was jade green due to the suspended rock powder from glacier carved valley walls, and carried by rivers such as Toad River. What makes this lake more beautiful is its place among mountains rising directly from the lake with minimal shorelines, and perhaps its pristine state thanks to its remote location from major cities. There are many viewpoints along the Alaska Highway, and two campgrounds with facilities. There is also a seemingly upscale lodge right on the beach. Well, "upscale" scale to us at that point was not that high after days of camping along the road :). From the description of the lake, it seems to be a great destination for outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation. There is also an airport above the lake, if you can call a little road perhaps dirt road an airport. This seems to be a good candidate for a longer stay on the long journey to Alaska.

BC Parks provides a concise description of Muncho Lake Provincial Park, its operating months and activities

Wildlife - While not a destination per se, it'd be incomplete to ignore the excitment of seeing wildlife right alongside of the highway. For the first time in our journey, we saw a moose grazing in a pond, under light rain and a almost totally tranquille setting. For 15 minutes, I was able to set up right on the highway and admired him, without a car moving in either direction. Later in the day, we also saw a herd of buffalo, and wild horses (presumably, since they roamed right next to the highway, and there were no tags to suggest ownership).


The roads of the Alaska Highway were quite good in general, even in the rain. There were a few major roadworks during the drive, with rather long gravel sections. This slowed us down, and would make for heavy-duty carwash for anyone who finds it important. Or putting it another way, those who cares about the appearance of your car probably should not be driving on this highway.


It rained or stayed gloomy for most of the day. The only good thing I could say is since we were driving, we had moments of respite when we drove past a weather system.