The town is named after a creek that flows through the community. Appearing on maps as early as 1928, it refers to a fox mentioned in a Dominion land surveyor's notebook. Up until the 1950s this was one of the most remote parts of Alberta, until significant oil and natural gas reserves were discovered in the area. Fox Creek is now a service centre to the oil, gas, forestry and tourism industries. The opening of the highway between Whitecourt and Valleyview in 1955 also contributed to the growth of the town.