Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Alberta: Is highway 734 an alternative to icefield highway

Alberta: Is highway 734 an alternative to icefield highway

Old May 4th, 2006, 12:08 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 430
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Alberta: Is highway 734 an alternative to icefield highway

I have read in one of my travel books, that Highway 734 (the Forestry Trunk Road) can be seen as a senic alternative to icefield parkway.

Is there anyone, who has expierence with the Forestry Trunk Road. I have read, that major portions are gravel and that travellers have to consider seasonal closings of the road.

Any links with additional information are appriciated.

tom22 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2006, 10:06 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have not been up into that part of the province. However, I work in the energy industry, and many of my colleagues have been up there.

I asked a guy in the next row of cubicles, and this is what he had to say.

He said that the road from Grande Cache to Grande Prairie, which is the one you’re talking about, is beautiful. He said you’d be traveling in the foothills of the Rockies, and there would be a lot of elk.

When you reach Grande Prairie, you could turn around and go back the way you’d come. Alternatively, you could go east to Valleyview, Fox Creek and Whitecourt. He said that country consisted of what he called “bush.” By that I think he means boreal forest and the woods that are found in the transition zone between the boreal forest and grasslands. He said the countryside was attractive and rolling. He said the lakes had good fish in them. However, the towns are very small. He said Fox Creek consisted of a couple of gas stations and that was a bout it. He said there were a lot of moose between Fox Creek and Whitecourt. He said that section of the highway was nicknamed “Moose Row.” He said that, because of the moose, you had to use great caution if you drove that highway at night.

I asked him what your options were if you turned west at Grande Prairie. He said you could go northwest towards Dawson Creek and Fort St John, both in BC. He said you then would have to drive through a lot of what he called “bush” to get to Prince George, and then from there you could drive to more southerly points. (Again, I think what he calls “bush” is forest. In this case I believe it’s probably a mixed coniferous and deciduous forest.) He said the bush and lakes in that part of BC were great.

But he said that, for someone who liked mountains, he thought the foothills on the Alberta side of the Rockies were more attractive than the foothills of the BC side of the Rockies. However, he also pointed out that there is no road that hugs the western side of the Rockies and brings you back down to a more southerly point. Rather, to get out of the Dawson Creek / Fort St John area, you have to drive a fair distance west to get to Prince George and then to more southerly points from there.

But if I am not mistaken you are researching the possibility of a remote cabin in the northern interior of BC. After doing that, I suppose you could drive to Fort St John and Dawson Creek, and then cross over to Grande Prairie in Alberta. From Grande Prairie you could drive down the Forestry Trunk Road, which I understand has been renamed Hwy #40, to Grande Cache. Then from Grande Cache you could drive to ??? Maybe Hinton and Jasper?

You mentioned in a previous post that you were hoping to travel in June. From my knowledge of the oil industry, I believe spring break-up happens some time around April, although the timing varies from year to year. It can be as early as March or as late as May. I understand that, when it does happen, conditions are very wet in the northern part of the province. In that case I believe the unpaved sections of Hwy #40 could be a worry. I think you should be safe by June, but I think the question does merit further research. I could ask around the office again if you like.

Although I have no personal experience of the area you’re enquiring about, I hope the above has been helpful.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old May 4th, 2006, 10:46 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 115
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Judy,

Since you're asking around the office, perhaps you could ask a question for me.

We're planning to travel from Drayton Valley to Hinton on those back roads. From Drayton Valley, Rte. 620 has Elk River Road branching off to the west. It then runs into 40 to the north. Rte. 734 appears to run into Rte. 40, crossing Rte. 16 and on north to the area you were just writing about.

I've searched around and learned that there are numerous provincial campgrounds that all say auto-accessible and open May 1.

Since we're going in a truck camper and will be there around June 1, I think we'll be fine, but it would be nice to hear it from someone who actually has some on-the-ground information.

You're such a treasure!!!!!
islandpaddler is offline  
Old May 4th, 2006, 03:43 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yup, the folks who have worked in the northern part of Alberta say that all the roads under discussion in this thread should be fine in June.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old May 4th, 2006, 06:22 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Forestry Trunk road from Nordegg to Hinton is all unpaved. the south part of it is quite narrow and twisty. There is likely to be a fair bit of truck traffic raising dust. It is quite scenic but nowhere near the scenery of the icefields parkway. I wouldn't recommend driving this road with a rental car. You have a high chance of getting a rock chip in your windshield.
lunabug is offline  
Old May 5th, 2006, 01:19 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 430
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the information and extra investigations. This is a real help.

We intend to travel from St. John towards Calgary and I think we will take the highway 40 from Grande Prairie towards Hinton which should be paved (as Judy mentioned travel time will be June). For the remaining part we will take a case o case decision depending on the weather.
tom22 is offline  
Old May 6th, 2006, 09:19 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You are correct. Highway 40 is paved from Grande Prairie through to Hinton. From Hinton to Calgary is about a six hour drive. Whether you use the four lane highway 16 through Edmonton and Highway 2 to Calgary or drive through the Jasper and Banff parks to get there it takes about the same time.
Usually we take the scenic route through the parks in the Summer months.
lunabug is offline  
Old May 11th, 2006, 08:14 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want marked opportunities to hike to see many of the attractions in those mountains, I don't think you can top the Icefields Parkway.

It has the views and the known view points.

The Forestry Trunk Road might be seen by some as an alternative to the Icefields Parkway, but not by me.
bob_brown is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
fischerl
United States
10
Sep 4th, 2011 11:42 AM
vgronek
Canada
5
May 4th, 2006 12:39 PM
lavisitor
Canada
5
Sep 26th, 2005 10:47 AM
geordias
United States
21
May 30th, 2005 09:15 AM
westie
Canada
7
Jul 13th, 2004 08:00 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -