British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
Heading north from the city of Prince George, Highway 97 passes through the Northern Rocky Mountains and out onto the broad expanse of the Peace River Country. Sitting on a small terrace atop an ancient floodplain, Chetwynd is the gateway to this huge area, whose lands cross the provincial border into Alberta.
Although far from the urban centers in the south, Chetwynd is of great significance to the province as a source of timber, oil and gas, electricity and coal. Farming, ranching and tourism are also important aspects of the economy. But while these industries keep the town alive, Chetwynd sits in a vast wilderness of superlative beauty. Nearby provincial parks include Gwillim Lake Provincial Park (56 km southeast), Moberly Lake Provincial Park (25 km northwest), Pine River Breaks Provincial Park (15 km east), and East Pine Provincial Park (30 km east). Representing two bio-geoclimatic zones, the land supports boreal white and black spruce, and Engelmann spruce and fir. It is dotted with rivers and lakes and is rich in wildlife, including moose, elk, beaver and bear.
First settled in 1913, it grew in importance with rail and highway development. The population is approximately 3000. Known as the ‘Chainsaw carving Capital of the World’ the town boasts over 50 of these interesting sculptures. Visitors in June can take in the Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Championship, when carvers from all over the world have 35 hours over 4 days to carve an 8-foot high by 3 to 4-foot wide log into their winning entry. In one of the oldest buildings in the town, the Little Prairie Heritage Museum displays artifacts and re-creations from its frontier past. Of special interest is a bus tour 500 metres underground into one of the largest earthen structures in the world, the W.A.C. Bennet Dam.
Blessed with abundant green space near the town, there are excellent hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails. The area is also well suited to snowmobiling and, 100 km to the west, downhill skiing at Powder King ski resort. The recreation centre has a skateboard park, curling rink, baseball diamonds, wave pool, indoor rodeo facility and speed skating oval.
Location and access:
Chetwynd sits at the junction of Highways 29 and 97 with connections to Prince George, Dawson Creek, the Alaska Hwy, Tumbler Ridge and Hudson's Hope.
Chetwynd Things to Do