When a wave of settlers headed north into the Peace River country in the early 1900's, they were of the most intrepid sort. Battling a geographic barrier of swamp, muskeg and forest between the Peace river prairies and the rest of Alberta, they left with a promise of untapped opportunities, leaving the relative civility of the earlier settled prairies, behind.
The barrier still remains today, separating the productive Peace region from central and southern Alberta both geographically and culturally. However, with travel being much easier than in that time, you can now get to, and explore, the Peace region with relative ease. Here are top picks for checking out the treasures that await.
Still one of the most favored ways of enjoying the Peace country, the camping road trip provides flexibility to wander at will. Nowhere is this more true in our area due to its low population pressure. That means you can get into many campsites without reservations, especially on weekdays. There is the usual gamut of popular spots and serviced, high density campgrounds near the bigger towns and attractions. However there are also many campgrounds where you really have the wilderness to yourself, or are sharing it with very few. If you're up for getting on the roads less traveled, check out the many beautiful campgrounds on the Peace River, including Notikewin Provincial park, Many Islands, Cotillion, Carter's camp and Pratt's Landing.
2) River travel
The Peace River was the first thoroughfare of the region, used by fur traders, explorers and entrepreneurs to explore and transport anything and everything. Once you are on the river it is easy to imagine how it was for indigenous and historical travelers, as the river's massive power propels you to sights unknown.
To relive that true Canadian experience, the canoe river trip is the ultimate way to travel any part of this 800+km waterway. Peace River Cabins and Outdoors offers guided river trips, so you can leave the logistics to someone else and focus on wildlife watching and relaxing. Or, if you want to be more independent, they can help withplanning, outfitting, and shuttles.
For those who only do motors, the jetboat is the craft of choice, due to the sometimes shallow and uneven river bottoms.
A motorcycle road tripper's dream, the Peace region offers low traffic pressure, wilderness venues and cool side roads. Don't miss the Shaftesbury trail near Peace River for a scenic, winding thrill beside the river near the town of Peace River. Another fun side-route involves exiting off the Mackenzie Highway 35 (Which goes to the Northwest Territories) to the east, to explore Lacrete and Fort Vermilion. Or check out Highway 64 for an alternate route into BC.
4) From the air
Flying enthusiasts will tell you that the best way to see anything in the world is from the air. Sign up for Aerosport Ltd.'s familiarization flight for a short scenic flight and to find out if ultralight flying will be your next big deal. Or try hot air ballooning out of Grande Prairie at Sundance Balloons.
5) On horseback
Because 'There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man' (or woman!) This oft-used quote summarizes why local providers of trail rides can help make some of your Peace country dreams come true. Try Peace Valley Guest Ranch for a getaway at their historic, secluded ranch on the river. Or enjoy one of Harvey and Laureen Koschieff's guided trips in the Fairview area and beyond with Horse Trekking Adventures.