Smoky River (Alberta)

Alberta. River: Peace River drainage
Adolphus Lake to Peace River
56.1825 N 117.3331 W — Map 084C03 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1949
Official in Canada
Giant's Bath tub, Source of the Smokey [sic]. Mount Robson.
William James Topley, 1914

Giant’s Bath tub, Source of the Smokey [sic]. Mount Robson.
William James Topley, 1914
Library and Archives Canada

Translation of a native name, after smouldering beds of coal in the river banks; in Cree, kas-ka-pi-te; in Stoney swo-da (Joseph Burr Tyrrell [1858–1957]).

The Smoky River originates in the northern area of Jasper National Park from Adolphus Lake. It then flows north east through the Willmore Wilderness Park until it passes near the town of Grande Cache. It continues north, passes through the hamlet of Watino and merges into the Peace River south of the town of Peace River, Alberta.

Perhaps the “Boucanne or Smoke River” referred to by Gabriel Franchère [1786–1863], respecting his voyage through the Athabasca Pass in 1814:

The hunters attached to this post were then absent in the direction of the Boucanne or Smoke River; as far as I could learn it was called by voyageurs who, having seen a volcano belching forth heavy smoke in the nearby mountains gave it this name.


  • Franchère, Gabriel [1786–1863], and Lamb, William Kaye [1904–1999], editor. Journal of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1969. Internet Archive
  • Canadian Board on Geographical Names. Place-names of Alberta. Published for the Geographic Board by the Department of the Interior. Ottawa: Department of the Interior, 1928. Hathi Trust
  • Wikipedia. Smoky River

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