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Depending on your pick-up time and familiarity with your vehicle, you may like to travel only a short distance today, perhaps stopping at Alberta Beach, located on the shores of Lac Ste. Anne.
If you prefer to continue further, we suggest you consider staying in Whitecourt, 177km northwest of Edmonton. This community was formed in the place known by the Cree as Sagitawah (the place where the rivers meet) and its economy is driven primarily by forestry, oil and gas, and tourism.
Another option is Fox Creek – 266km from Edmonton where there is a nice campground with space available on a first come first served basis. Fox Creek is located within 12 km (7 mi) of three lakes – Smoke Lake to the southwest, Losegun Lake to the north and Raspberry Lake to the northeast.
On Day 2, continue your journey on to Grande Prairie, one of the starting points on the Deh Cho Travel Connection.
Today you’ll head out of Grande Prairie on Highway 2 towards Grimshaw, Mile 0 of the original Deh Cho Travel Route.
24km East of Grimshaw and slightly off-route, you’ll find the charming town of Peace River. If you’d like to spend more time in and around Peace River, we suggest you take the scenic drive along the Shaftesbury Trail on Highway 684 which follows the west side of the river.
Continuing on the Mackenzie Highway, you’ll pass through the small town of Dixonville before reaching your overnight destination at Manning, known as the “Land of the Mighty Moose” for its exceptional moose and elk.
The closest campground is the Manning Lions Campground backing onto the Notikewin River and just across the street from the Visitors Centre. Make sure to check out options on our CanaDream Club app to take advantage of local discounts.
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Today you’re on your way to High Level. If you enjoy fishing, stop and fish at Notikewin Provincial Park or in the small stocked lake at Twin Lakes Recreational Area. At the junction of the Mackenzie Highway and Highway 697 you may like to take a slight circle route diversion through the Mennonite community of La Crete to Fort Vermilion. Take the Tompkins Landing Ferry, which glides across the river transporting several vehicles at once at no charge, then continue on to La Crete and into Fort Vermilion and High Level.
The town of High Level is the midway point between Edmonton and Yellowknife. The name High Level describes the height of the land that separates the Peace River and the Hay River. There is plenty of good fishing in the area for Northern Pike, Walleye, Perch, Whitefish, Grayling and Goldeye. Hunters can find moose, deer, bear and geese. There are over 150 species of birds that nest in the area.
Highway 35 continues on from High Level to the towns of Meander River and then Indian Cabins. North of Indian Cabins, you cross from Alberta into the Northwest Territories, at the 60th Parallel. Don’t miss the Visitor Centre, where first-time tourists are awarded a North of 60 Certificate. Highway 35 now becomes NWT Highway 1, also known as the Waterfalls Route. To see why, stop at Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park and take the trail that connects Alexandra and Louise Falls. The Dene Aboriginal people of this region call Alexandra Falls “Hatto deh Naili,” a place of power protected by spirits. Louise Falls cuts through stone formations that date back 400 million years.
In Enterprise, take the opportunity to stop at Winnies to refuel, sample some home-cooked meals and snacks and browse their fine selection of Dene arts and crafts.
Enterprise is a jumping off point for side trips to Great Slave Lake at Hay River or Fort Smith and Wood Buffalo National Park – see route below.
Side Trip - Enterprise to Fort Smith, Return (587 km/367 mi), +2-3 days
If you’re interested in checking out the points of interest on this side trip we recommend you leave the Mackenzie Highway (NWT Hwy #1) and travel Hwy #2 to Hay River “Port of the North”, a town of 3,500 and a major transportation hub for the north. Hay River offers great fishing and hosts one of several beautiful golf courses in the NWT.
Travel Hwy #5 east/southeast from Hay River to reach Fort Smith - home to the Northern Life Museum, world- renowned Slave River Rapids and gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park.
At 45,000 sq km, Wood Buffalo is the second largest national park in the world. It’s a naturalist paradise with free roaming bison, nesting grounds of the endangered whooping crane, amazing geographical wonders including the spectacular Salt Plains karsts landscape and much more.
There’s plenty of opportunity today to get out and explore. How about a side trip into BC’s Dinosaur Country? Head slightly north of Fort St John to the junction of Highways 97 and 29 and turn off onto Highway 29. The communities of Tumbler Ridge and Hudson’s Hope are located in the middle of the “new’ Dinosaur Country.
From Tumbler Ridge take Highway 52 to Dawson Creek, located at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Mile Zero welcomes you with a Visitors’ Centre and Museum located in the historic railway station. Other sights include the Mile Zero Signpost and Walter Wright Pioneer Village.
Continue on Highway 43 from Dawson Creek to Grande Prairie to complete the Deh Cho route.
Leave Grande Prairie today and take Highway 43 back to Edmonton to return your vehicle to our Edmonton location. Overnight in Edmonton before returning your vehicle between 8.00am and 10.00am the following morning.
Alternative Option: Grande Prairie to Jasper
If you’d like to extend your trip and visit the Rocky Mountains, take Highway 40 south through Grande Cache and William A Switzer Provincial Park to Jasper. Highway 40 joins Highway 16 (The Yellowhead Highway) just west of Hinton.
For ideas of things to do and see in the Jasper area, please refer to Day 9 of our Southern BC to the Rockies Circle tour. When your stay in Jasper is over, head back east on the Yellowhead Highway to Edmonton.
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