Getting to Know Tumbler Ridge
Tumbler Ridge is a small community in the Northeast part of British Columbia, 170 km northeast of Fort St. John and 249 km from Grand Prairie, Alberta in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. It is nestled at the foot of Mount Bergeron at the confluence of the Murray and Wolverine Rivers. The nearest larger urban centre is 97km south at Dawson Creek. Tumbler Ridge is a district municipality in the Peace River Regional District of B.C., and it covers 1,558 square kilometres and has a population in the vicinity of just 2,000 people.
As a town, Tumbler Ridge is quite ‘new’ in comparison to most others in Northern B.C. It only began to be developed in the early 1980s when the Quinette and Bullmoose coal mines began operation to supply coal to Asian markets. Today, both these mines are closed and while that has presented economic challenges for the community the residents of Tumbler Ridge have proven themselves to be resilient. Living in such a beautiful part of the Province is worth the effort, and fortunately tourism continues to be a strong economic driver.
Weather and Climate
Tumbler Ridge generally can be said to have a colder and more temperate climate. It also has a lot of rainfall, even during what would be considered the drier months. Average rainfall levels are 605mm annually. Average temperatures during winter months from November to March are well below zero, and often in the -10 to -15 Celsius range not taking wind chill into account (although Tumbler Ridge is nicely wind shielded by Mount Bergeron).
Average summer temperatures in the warmest months of June, July, and August are still cool compared to elsewhere in Northern B.C., anywhere from 14 to 18 Celsius. Many residents enjoy the fact that it’s not oppressively hot in Tumbler Ridge in the summer.
Tumbler Ridge is blessed with all sorts of natural beauty all around it, and there is no better example of that the abundance of waterfalls around the town. In fact, Tumbler Ridge is known as the ‘Waterfall Capital of the North’ with Kinuseo Falls, Quality Falls, Babcock Falls, Teepee Falls, Flatbed Falls, and Sukunka Falls all nearby. Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park is particularly impressive, and is regarded as one of the best waterfalls in the world. Spending a day there is highly recommended.
Bearhole Lake Provincial Park and Gwillim Lake Provincial Park are really nice spots as well, and Monkman Pass is the lowest altitude pass through the Rocky Mountains. Equally recommended is the UNESCO-recognized Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, the 2nd one in North America with 43 geosites with easily accessible mountain geology, amazing waterfalls, breathtaking scenery, and dinosaur fossils.
Tumbler Ridge Museum puts the region’s remarkable palaeontological history on display and also has a dinosaur camp where you take fields trips to fossil sites that are guided by actual palaeontologists. Mountain biking and ATV off-roading are popular during summer months, the same way snowmobiling and Cross-country skiing are in winter.
Murray Canyon Overlook along Highway 52 is a 6km hike in with spectacular views of the river canyon below. If you’re going to get the perfect shot, this is the place.
The 2-day Grizfest Music Festival goes every August long weekend, and the Emperor’s Challenge 21km half-marathon draws endurance athletes to Tumbler Ridge every summer. The Ridge Ramble X-Country Ski Race does the same every winter, and locals as well as people from neighbouring communities enjoy the Winter Carnival in late January every year.
As mentioned, Tumbler Ridge is a small community of less than 2,000 people but there is everything residents need in the way of grocery stores, retail options, restaurants, and services. Naturally, all will be in fewer numbers than you’d find in larger communities in Northern B.C., but for the population of Tumbler Ridge the selection of them is just fine.
There is a 9,000 square foot community centre with 4-lane swimming pool, kids pool, sauna, hot but and steam room, ice skating and hockey arena, indoor playground, gym and fitness facility, art gallery, squash and racquetball courts, library, and a licensed lounge.
The Tumbler Ridge Golf & Country Club 9-hole golf course are the only links in town, but is regarded as one of the more scenic golf courses in Northeastern B.C.
Following the closure of the Trend Mine in 2014, house values dropped considerably in the area. As a result, Tumbler Ridge real estate is characterized by many detached single-family homes being listed for less than 150K and mobile homes available for well less than 100K. Condominium and townhome developments are less common here, but the selection of Tumbler Ridge homes for sale does also include some condos available for similarly-low prices in comparison to other areas of the Province.
Tumbler Ridge can be accessed via Highway 97 north of Prince George or from Grand Prairie, AB via Highway 2. Bus service to Tumbler Ridge is possible from nearby Dawson Creek, and air travel will go through the airport at Dawson Creek and then to Tumbler Ridge with motorized transit of your choice.