If you're looking for the ultimate adventure that will take you across the beautiful landscape of two provinces and one territory, look no farther than the Deh Cho Route. For nature lovers and explorers of natural history, the best way to see it all is to hop on your motorcycle and hit the road. The Deh Cho Route is a scenic travel route that links the Mackenzie, Liard and Alaska highways in northern Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
While travelling through the B.C. side of the route, expect the unexpected when it comes to wildlife, museums, golf courses and other attractions. Along the way, you will most likely see moose, caribou, grizzly bears and black bears as well as numerous waterfalls along the rivers.
Motorcyclists especially should beware of wildlife—secure your camp and make sure you travel in a group.
Theresa Haayer is the planning assistant for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality in Fort Nelson. She and her family took two weeks off in 2010 to travel the entire route with a side trip to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Travelling the B.C. portion of the route was an amazing experience for Haayer.
Northern Lights in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM). — Artography by Tracy - Tracy Rondeau.
A stop in Dawson Creek is a must-do on this trip. The small city is extremely important because it's Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.
"There's a lot of history here because the highway was started here years ago," said Haayer. "They have some really great monuments including the Mile Zero signpost, which is a huge sign erected in the city—it's pretty cool to look at."
Dawson Creek also has an excellent museum, the Railway Station Museum, which chronicles pioneer days and the building of the Alaska Highway.
"We also really enjoyed the golfing opportunities in Dawson Creek as well as a man-made lake called Rotary Lake," Haayer said. "It's free, great for kids and families and a nice place to stop and cool off along the way."
Although the terrain in Fort Nelson is quite flat, you can see the Rockies looming in the distance. It's a picturesque place that has lots of muskeg and is quite forested. Fort Nelson is home to one of the best museums along the highway, the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, and its theme is transportation. You can see some classic old cars and the earlier modes of transport are also highlighted here.
Fort Nelson Heritage Museum. — Artography by Tracy - Tracy Rondeau.
Liard Hot Springs
Although Liard Hot Springs is not directly on the Deh Cho Route, Haayer said it is well worth the four-hour side trip. The natural hot springs are located just over 300 kilometres northwest of Fort Nelson in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park and this attraction is open year-round. Even in the wintertime, the water is hot enough to enjoy.
"It's an amazing attraction and well worth the side trip," said Haayer. "It's all natural (apart from) the change rooms and outhouse the government put in. There's no cement; it's all natural rock and sand. It's quite a walk to get to them along a boardwalk through a marsh but it's worth it as the water is always extremely hot. The natural setting is so beautiful."
Map of the Deh Cho Route. — The Deh Cho Travel Connection.