Posts by Dawn Kealing:

Top 4 Moderate Hikes in Prince George, BC.

Prince George is surrounded by an abundance of luscious  forests that are home to many trails,.  These trails are maintained by the province, among other parties, and are accessible to the general public to enjoy. These day-hikes vary from Easy to Difficult, and many have the opportunity to become overnight trips. Four well-known Moderate hikes near Prince George are: Teapot Mountain, Fort George Canyon, Raven Lake and Grizzly Den.

Teapot Mountain (1.4km)

  • Teapot Mountain’s trailhead is located 45 minutes (50km) north of Prince George on Highway 97. Turn left on Talus Rd and drive for 1km to reach Caine Creek Forestry Rd. Once on Caine Creek drive 3.3km until you reach the trailhead on the right, in a marked pullout.
  • The hike starts along a short inclined gravel road until you reach the noticeable trail. Yet, it’s not a common hiking path because it has boulders strewn about. These boulders tell of Teapot’s past; Teapot Mountain is a basalt volcanic plug, which formed long before the last ice age. Here the true hike begins –the path ascends steeply, manoeuvring over or around large rocks to continue higher.  I believe this hike is typically taken lightly because it’s only 1.4km and only takes about 30 minutes to get to the top, but this hike is physically challenging!  For that reason it’s rated moderate.
  • The hike may definitely be done with children but be aware of them at all times because of there are some sudden drop offs. At the top a 360º loop offers amazing viewpoints overlooking Summit Lake southwards, lakes and creeks northwards and wetlands east & west. There are very few rails and the edge drops away forming significant cliffs.

 

Fort George Canyon (4.8km)

  • The trailhead for Fort George Canyon is found west of Prince George near West Lake Provincial Park. To reach the trail head drive west on Highway 16 and follow the signs for West Lake Provincial Park. Drive through the beach area for West Lake until you reach a major junction with a sign that reads "Fort George Canyon Trails 2km" to the left. Drive for 3.5km to the parking lot (the road narrows after 1.5km).
  • This trail leads through a pine forest that changes to spruce and birch and makes a gradual descent for 2.9km to the first viewpoint. Then the path descends more rapidly to a bench above the Fraser River. The trail follows the top of the bench before descending through a ravine to the shores of the river. When the water levels are low it is fun to walk to some islands and enjoy a picnic.
  • This area has historical significance to Prince George as until 1914 the Fraser River was the highway in and out of this region and the Fort George Canyon was one of the obstacles that sternwheelers had to navigate. Jagged rocks, rapids, and whirlpools meant the sternwheelers had to be winched through this section while the passengers portaged. 
  • Historically, local First Nations used this area as a fishing site.

Raven Lake (4.7km)

  • Raven Lake’s trailhead is located about 1.5 hours (90km) on Highway 16 east of Prince George in Sugar-bowl/Grizzly Den Provincial Park and Protected Area. The park is habitat for Caribou, Grizzly Bears and other animals.
  • Take Highway 16 east to reach Hungary Creek Forest Service Rd. On Hungary Creek drive 15.6km until you reach a fork in the road. At the fork proceed right leading you directly to Raven Lake parking lot.
  •  Raven Lake hike takes 2-3 hours to reach a cabin in the alpine at 4.7km and another 1-2 hours back to the parking lot. This trail is located in the backcountry so it is important to be prepared for the hike by packing bear spray and survival equipment (rain gear, food, water, first aid and survival kit).
  • The trail starts with a slight downhill slope, passing a small-unnamed lake to your right. Your uphill hike begins at the switchbacks. The trail can be quite muddy –it’s  recommended to wear good hiking boots. The switchbacks eventually open into small meadows surrounded by trees and small bodies of water. There’s a short downhill section made difficult by large boulders, but within a short distance you’re rewarded by sights of the cabin sitting on the edge of the gorgeously clear Raven Lake.

Grizzly Den (9km)

  • Grizzly Den is located within the same provincial park as Raven Lake; except the Grizzly Den trailhead/parking lot is to the left of the fork when driving up Hungary Creek Forestry Rd.
  • The Grizzly Den hike takes between 3-6 hours to reach the summit at 9km and 1-2 hours to descend to the parking lot. There are 2 cabins on this trail; one located within 1km of hiking and the second at the 6km marker. You may have guessed from the name –this hike is in bear habitat. It’s recommended to carry bear spray and bear bells with you during your hike and to be completely self-sufficient and prepared with necessities (rain gear, food, water, first aid and survival kit).
  • August is the best month to hike this trail. In July, plenty of snow may still on the trail which will slow you down significantly because your shoes may get wet (snowshoes are an option which may allow you to maintain a steady pace). A personal recommendation I’d give is to plan an overnight stay at the cabin (6km). After a night’s sleep you can resume your hike to the summit then casually stroll back to the parking lot. 

There are many types of user groups that want to explore the outdoors. The top 3 accessible trails (trails designed with Boomers, wheelchairs, families and the general public in the forefront of the planning process) in Prince George are: GWL Mobility Trail, The Ancient Forest and Forests for the World.

GWL Mobility Trail (Great West Life Mobility Nature Trail)

  • Drive 30 minutes (23km) south on Highway 97 until you turn left on Buckhorn Rd. Follow Buckhorn to Scott Rd, also on the left. Follow Scott Rd until you reach the gravel road and the parking lot will be on your next right. You can drive right up to the trailhead and park.
  • The trail meanders through a forest of Douglas Fir trees and truly is a beautiful place to venture. There is one very clearly marked wheelchair accessible trail. The trail is 450 meters, following Dougherty Creek and offers 8 benches throughout for occasional breaks and to take in the serenity. Try to spot some hidden friends on the trail: gnomes, tree faces, angels, owls and more, that have been placed in discreet spots throughout the trail.

 

The Ancient Forest

  • Located 1.5hours (113km) east of Prince George on Highway 16 there is a well-marked sign on the right hand side of the highway to lead you into the parking lot.
  • The Ancient Forest is a wet belt forest filled with ancient Western Cedar trees. During my first visit to the Ancient Forest I couldn’t help but wonder, “How does a forest like this survive in the harsh climates of northern BC?” After a bit of research I found that the cedars actually thrive on the water that comes down from melted snow packs in the mountains.
  • The Ancient Forest is a truly magical place and it deserves to be seen by everyone. A group of local volunteers began the project of building a universal boardwalk through part of the forest which was completed in August 2013. The boardwalk  takes you through the ancient cedars and ends at a creek runoff, which comes from the waterfall nearby. I’d say the Ancient Forest is one of Northern BC’s secret gems, it’s the first place I take anyone who is visiting this beautiful region.

Forests for the World

  • Forests for the World is located right in the city of PG upon Cranbrook Hill. From Highway 97 (Central Street) turn onto 15th Avenue, turn right onto Foothills until you reach Cranbrook Hill Rd (left hand side). Cranbrook Hill is very steep so please take precaution; continue up until you reach Kueng Rd. Turn left on the gravel road and continue to the end where you’ll reach the parking lot and trailhead.
  • There are many trails within Forests for the World; though, there is only one loop around the lake that is fully accessible. Follow the map located at the trailhead to navigate the loop to Shane Lake. I believe it’s the best trail in the forest! The Shane Lake loop trail is 1km in length, relatively flat and maintained so it’s accessible to those of varying abilities. Forests for the World is a must see while in the city, regardless if you get around on two feet or two wheels!

 

Dawn Kealing Travel Writer, Life, Love and Adventure

dawnkealing@gmail.com http://www.dawnkealing.com

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