If you are searching for unique travel destinations, you could do no better than to set your sights on some of the most spectacular fall scenery this side of heaven – Canada’s Peace River Country. The nights are a bit chilly this time of year, but a three-season camper will keep you toasty and warm while you enjoy the fabulous fall sights and sounds.
The local fields are dressed in their final golden glory. Soon they will all be clad in their sombre tans and browns, ready for winter’s snows. Bales lie in serried rows, most already bagged against the coming winter. The harvest is almost in, except in the waiting fields of a few nervous stragglers whose crops ripened late. Some, caught by the late autumn rains, are praying for a few, last, warm days to dry out the canola so they can pick up the swaths. It’s a race now between the combines and the weather.
For the last few weeks, we’ve been wakened by the gabble of migrating Sand Hill Cranes, sounding for all the world like a roomful of guests at a rather noisy cocktail party. Their early morning exodus from their over-night stopovers on near-by islands in the Peace River is an incredible sight as wave after wave of these magnificent birds rise into the autumn sky. Some days they are so high you can hardly make out the huge, straggling “vees” passing overhead, but the sound wafts down to you – the incessant cackling gabble as the cranes encourage each other in their flight.
Many of the Provincial campgrounds have rolled up their welcome mats, and closed for the season, but several of the privately owned campgrounds provide amenities all year round. For a listing of facilities in the Peace River area, check out these links from Travel Alberta:
The second link will take you to RV-ing and camping information for the Grande Prairie area. Just two hours west and a bit south of Peace River, Grande Prairie offers rolling vistas of lush, cattle country. You will also catch your first glimpse of the foothills of the northern Rocky Mountains.
A side trip up to Dunvegan and Fairview will afford breath-taking views of the Peace River Canyon as it glides between the high sandstone bluffs. These rugged bluffs are home to a species of cliff swallow that burrows into the soft rock. Successive generations of these tiny miners’ colonies have left an indelible impression in the hills above the Peace River.
Another not-to-be-missed side trip on your way north to the town of Peace River is a wee jaunt through Marie Reign to see some of the prettiest, best-kept farms in the country. The road from Marie Reign into Peace River will lead you high above the town to a rest stop with the most amazing views up and down the Peace River Valley. From park, you can see clear from the islands where the cranes rest up, around the river’s bend and on up to the Twelve Foot Davis cairn atop the opposite hill.
When you’re planning your fall travels this year, be sure to head north, and take in Alberta’s Peace Country.