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Basecamp to the North

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Outdoor adventures abound in the bustling northern hub of Prince George, a welcoming home base for accessing BC’s vast northern reaches. With a population of nearly 75,000, Prince George sits at the intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 97, where the Nechako River meets the mighty Fraser. From here, you can access hiking and biking trails that meander through diverse landscapes and explore hundreds of nearby lakes and rivers.

WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN PRINCE GEORGE

Stay in Prince George a few days and you’ll discover it’s a lively place filled with passionate residents. Strike up a conversation with a local and see how their passion inspires your next adventure, in and outside of the city.

GET YOUR NATURE FIX

Prince George lives and breathes nature. Seek out trail heads close to town, or spend time in one of the parks right in the city. Take a stroll through Cottonwood Island Nature Park, named for the 300-year-old black cottonwood trees that line the nearby Nechako River (make sure to check out the tree carvings). Spend a leisurely day on the banks of the Fraser River at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, where you can enjoy picnic sites, floral gardens, and tennis courts. Explore Forests of the World around Shane Lake (west of the city by the University of Northern BC campus)—don’t miss the interpretive trails.

Want to venture farther out? Head north and climb Teapot Mountain for lovely views of Summit Lake, or forest bathe at Goodsir Nature Park. You can also book a guided fishing charter with Reel North Adventures to discover secluded waterways in the Skeena and Omineca regions.

A LITTLE SOMETHING OUTSIDE FOR EVERYONE

If mountain biking is your thing, visit the Pidherny Mountain Bike Trails, or the Otway Nordic Centre, where ski runs turn to bike trails come summer. Prefer horses to bikes? Book a trail ride with El Shaddai Ranch and explore the Fraser River canyon.

Golf enthusiasts have six nearby courses to choose from. Aberdeen Glen Golf Course and Estates offers 7,114 yards of fairways carved through valleys of dense natural forest. Prince George Golf & Curling Club and Pine Valley Golf Centre are also right in town, while Alder Hills (18-hole), Aspen Grove (18-hole), and Links of Maggie May (9-hole course) are all within twenty minutes of the city proper. 

LEARN ABOUT THE AREA’S PAST

Explore the history of Prince George and the surrounding area, and follow in the footsteps of those who came before and those who have been here for millennia.

Right in the city, visit the Central BC Railway & Forestry Museum, a fun industrial heritage attraction in a spacious park-like setting on the shores of the Nechako River.

Forty kilometres north is the historic Huble Homestead where you can travel back in time to the 1900s and learn about early prospectors, as well as the traditional practices of the Lheidli T’enneh people at the First Nations fish camp exhibit. Tackle the 8.5-kilometre (5-mile) Giscome Portage Heritage Trail to experience what was once considered “the shortcut” (Lhdesti), the shortest route between the waterways flowing to the Pacific and those flowing into the Arctic Ocean.

Continue to explore farther up Highway 97 at old settlements like Chetwynd and Fort St. John, or head east on Route 16 toward New Hazelton.

WHERE TO EAT

In recent years, Prince George has seen an influx of new dining options and watering holes, ranging from breweries and wineries to food trucks and eclectic restaurants.

Stop for a wood-fired pizza at Betulla Burning, have a pad thai at Mai Thai, a roll from Sushi97, or opt for a classic like Cimo Mediterranean Grill. The Oakroom Grill offers a fusion menu with a side of live music. Cool off midday and sample small-batch, local ice cream from the Frozen Paddle.

PG is also home to BC’s northernmost winery, Northern Lights Estate Winery, which offers tours and tastings with views of the river. Beer lovers will want to check out the aptly named CrossRoads Brewing as well as the popular Trench Brewing right in town.

Find some of the best local grab ‘n go grub in Northern BC together in one place and peruse local vendors at the farmers market downtown on Saturdays

WHERE TO STAY IN PRINCE GEORGE

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Prince George, from no-frills motels and RV parks to higher-end hotels, as well as nearby campgrounds for those looking for a night under the stars.

Stay downtown at hotels like the Coast HotelCourtyard by Marriott, or the Ramada Plaza. Lower-cost options include North Star Inn and Suites and the Econolodge.

For cabin rentals try Woodhouse Cottages and Ranch, and if you’re travelling in an RV check out Sintich, Hartway, and Northland RV parks. Closer to the city, the full-service Salmon Valley Campground has all the amenities (for RVs as well)—including an espresso machine for fresh coffee in the morning. Other options include MamaYeh, BlueCedars, and West Lake campgrounds.

Written by Visnja Milidragovic June 19, 2020 for Destination BC

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