Five Days in the north
Distance: approx. 2,122 km (1,319 mi), round trip
The sun is slowly dipping over the far bank of the Peace River when we see a mother moose and her calf munching in the reeds along the shoreline. The kids are in awe, their faces plastered against the windows. Northern Alberta is vast, untamed and filled with magical moments like these. Deh Cho (pronounced Day-Cho) means ‘big river’ and is the Aboriginal name for the Mackenzie River. The Deh Cho Trail links the Mackenzie, Liard and Alaska Highways in northern Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. It is a vast circle route of 3,000 – 5,400 km (1,875-3,375 mi). This is a road trip for adventure seekers. Make it as long or as short as you wish. This section is perfect for a family RV camping excursion.
- From Edmonton, head west on the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16), then north on Hwy 43 for 181 km (112 mi) to Whitecourt. Stop for lunch and visit the Forest Interpretive Centre.
- Continue on to Grande Prairie, 281 km (175 mi). Choose from a number of RV friendly campgrounds to stay overnight.
- Head north on Hwy 2 for 89 km (55 mi) to historic Dunvegan where you will cross the Peace River on Alberta’s only suspension bridge.
- Continue northeast on Hwy 2 for 85 km (53 mi) to Grimshaw and pick up the Deh Cho Trail at “Mile Zero” of the Mackenzie Highway (Hwy 35).
- On Hwy 35 head north 83 km (52 mi) to Manning and look for the world’s largest moose. Stay at nearby Notikewin Provincial Park, 37 km (23 mi) north at the junction of the Peace and Notikewin rivers. Or try Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area, 65 km (40 mi) north. Fishing is great here.
- Continue on Hwy 35 north 117 km (72 mi) to Keg River, a site of a Hudson’s Bay trading post in 1896.
- Drive another 107 km (65 mi) north to High Level, the midway point between Edmonton and Yellowknife, and the last full-service stop if you’re heading to the Northwest Territories. Enjoy the northern skies at one of the many wilderness campgrounds.
- Then loop east on Hwy 58 and south on Hwy 88 for 80 km (50 mi) to Fort Vermillion. It’s another 45 km (28 mi) south on Hwy 697 to LaCrete. Both have great campgrounds.
- Continue west for 98 km (61 mi) on Hwy 697, take the ferry across the Peace River, and rejoin Hwy 35 at Paddle Prairie. Head south back to Grande Prairie, 382 km (237 mi). Overnight here.
- Retrace your route from Grande Prairie to Edmonton, 472 km (193 mi).