The Alaska Highway has a rich past, and hiking the Peterson Canyon Trail is a great way to experience this history. This moderate-to-easy hiking route follows an older section of the Alaska Highway that has since been relocated due to this area's susceptibility to spring flooding. When heading north from Fort Nelson, the trailhead is located near mile 442 just past a small residence on the left side of the Alaska Highway in Muncho Lake Provincial Park.
The trail is an easy path to follow with a small and gradual elevation gain. It works its way up the old section of highway, passing several wooden bridges as it winds its way up Peterson Creek. Hikers should note several intersecting trails that are remnants of the original "Trail of 42." The Peterson Canyon Trail is actually the second generation of the Alaska Highway in this area. This section was plagued by flooding, so the highway was moved for a third time to its current location, rising above Peterson Canyon and out of harm's way.
Heading northward, a small waterfall is located on the right side approximately 2.7 kilometers from the trailhead. Continuing on, the trail opens up as it crests its highest point in elevation with a good view of the Sawtooth Mountains to the east. The trail then descends down to Drogheda Lake and a small abandoned service station before returning to the Alaska Highway a short distance later. This is a good place to park a second vehicle if one chooses not to loop back to the trailhead via the newer section of highway; alternately, simply return by turning back around.
As you hike in Muncho Lake Provincial Park, keep an eye out for Mountain Caribou that are frequently spotted in the area. Also, note the wooden culverts used during the original construction phases of the highway. Decades later, many are still functional today.