Kiskatinaw Provincial Park is a getaway destination where time seems to slow down, and can sometimes even momentarily take you back centuries as you learn more about this area’s rich history. The tepid water and slow currents of the Kiskatinaw River allow campers to relax and take a step back, appreciating nature in its rawest form.
Wading in the river, fishing, and even river tubing is simply a blast at Kiskatinaw Provincial Park, especially when you catch sight of moose, songbirds, chipmunks, deer, and squirrels scampering around you. There’s no better way to connect with nature then jump right into it, and this British Columbian provincial park makes that possible.
Spreading over 154 hectares, the campground at Kiskatinaw Provincial Park allows campers to have some privacy and remain closer to nature without crossing paths with too many people.
The wildlife, the scenic grasslands, and the mountainous backdrop aren’t the only things that can bring a huge smile to every camper’s face. It is the iconic and historic wooden curved bridge that pulls the campers towards it and the tales it has to tell. This old bridge was the first of its kind built in Canada and is one of the main attractions of Kiskatinaw Provincial Park. This RV park is family-friendly and brings joy to people of all ages. The playground in the park makes sure the little ones enjoy the trip just as much as the adults.
Kiskatinaw Provincial Park is situated 5 km off highway 97, right on the Mile 20 of Old Alaska Highway, between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. Dawson Creek is located in the Peace Region, at the junction of four well-maintained highways. Regardless of where you are coming from, Dawson Creek is pretty easy to reach.
Once you reach Dawson Creek, drive north for 28 km on Highway 97, along the banks of Kiskatinaw River and past the Kiskatinaw Curved Wooden Bridge. Right at the entrance of the Kiskatinaw Provincial Park is the kids’ playground. If kids have been acting up during the long drive, this is exactly what they need to get ready for the good times ahead.
Kiskatinaw Provincial Park houses one campground with 28 unserviced sites. The sites are mostly spacious and allow some nice privacy from the neighboring campers. Amenities at the campground include drinking water via a hand pump, pit toilets, pay phone, and firewood shop. Every campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire pit. While campfires are allowed at the campsite, campers are encouraged to use it minimally for the purpose of conserving wood. There are limited burning hours observed at the park and campers are expected to respect them. Firewood can be purchased from within the campground or bought from outside.
Pets are also allowed at the sites, as long as they are leashed at all times. Campers who plan to spend most of their time in the backcountry areas are advised against bringing their pets as they are not allowed in those areas due to an abundance of wild animals including bears.
There is also a day-use area for the RV campers and is equipped with a playground, group fire pits, horseshoe pits, sand beach, and picnic tables. None of the sites can be reserved online and are based on a first come first serve basis.
The Kiskatinaw River is not just eye candy but also provides fishing opportunities to enthusiastic anglers of all ages. While it’s true that fishing is hard sometimes because of the mud, resilient anglers always find something to take home. A trail from the park allows anglers to reach various access points and cast a line to catch Arctic grayling, rainbow trout, northern pike and various other species. A fishing license is mandatory.
Campers can either sunbathe at the large sandy area or jump into the swimming hole that is just below the bridge. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards and no marked swimming areas. While the water is always warm and the slow currents make it a popular spot for wading and river tubing, it is still recommended to always have someone in your camping group to stay on lookout duty. Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards can also be used on the river waters.
The nature surrounding the park makes campers want to whiz by it on their bicycles or just set out on foot to appreciate the wild beauty up-close. While there are no set paths for either, the park allows bicycles to take up the roadways, as long as the riders are wearing their helmets. Hiking is also a very popular activity. Non-developed trails begin from the north of the park by campsite # 13. There is so much to see that one can hike for hours. Just make sure you keep track of your surroundings as the trails aren’t marked, and keep clear of any wildlife.
Those looking for a beautiful riverside destination for their next BC camping adventure might find Kiskatinaw Provincial Park to be the place of their dreams. Picnickers can observe plenty of unique flora around them including Balsam Fir, Trembling Aspen, and White/Englewood Spruce that grow abundantly in the surrounding forests. This park also conserves rare grassland vegetation. Additionally, a red-listed species of Fennel-leaved desert parsley was also recorded to be found here. Be mesmerized by nature while you snack and relax by this picturesque river-side park.
The park’s surroundings and the open hillside is a natural habitat of many wild animals and birds. Moose, whitetail deer, and mule deer can be seen by all the campers from their campsites. Squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, coyotes are just as abundant and can be seen all around the park. Another common sighting in the park is that of various songbirds like warblers.
Nearer to the river, on the river corridor, the campers can also spot bald eagles and other raptors taking flight. This area, in general, is popular among the birdwatching community for the wide variety of birds that frequently visit the area.
The main attraction of the Kiskatinaw Provincial Park is the Kiskatinaw River Bridge, the first of its kind built in Canada. This bridge was built during the second world war when Japan threatened an invasion of Alaska. This bridge was built to speed travel between Canada and Alaska by the hard work of 11,000 Canadian troops.