When you see Prince George on a map, it seems remote, distant from everything. Truth be told, it’s the perfect location to go anywhere. On any given day, you can wake up and think, “Should I go east toward the Rockies, west toward the ocean, north into the Pine Pass, or south to experience lake chains and canyons?” When the pandemic hit, I found myself doing more and more of this. Prince George is surrounded by adventure and it’s a nature-lover’s paradise.
So, I would like to share my top six favourite adventure spots, from closest to furthest away.
A short but vigorous hike located 25 minutes from downtown PG, Teapot Mountain is popular yet never crowded; just one plus when it comes to adventuring in central BC. If you have a free afternoon, Teapot is easily do-able. The reward-to-effort ratio is high, as it only takes about 45 minutes and boasts an unbeatable view of Summit Lake. I’ve done this hike both in the winter with snowshoes and summer without. I can’t decide which one I like more!
It’s a 1.5 hour drive from downtown PG, but Mount Pope is well worth it! This hike begins outside the town of Fort St. James and culminates in a stunning 360 degree view of Stuart Lake and the surrounding mountain ranges. You’ll also see neat limestone rock formations and caves along the way. Definitely a workout in some parts, but with so many places for picturesque breaks, you’ll barely notice. I’ve hiked here in the fall and spring, and if you plan to go for it in April or May, I suggest bringing cleats since some sections can get very icy.
Holmes River and Beaver Falls
In the other direction, to our east, the Holmes River and Beaver Falls are a two hour drive away. I didn’t hike here but went rafting and mountain-biking instead. What a blast! In June, the water was still frigid, though with the right equipment, anyone should be able to experience this thrill! The town of McBride is a few minutes drive from here and offers information about tours in the area for anyone looking to put on their adventure suit and dive in!
Now if we change directions once more and drive north, we enter the Pine Pass. This is where you’ll find Mount Murray. We almost didn’t see the trailhead marker, because it’s simply flag tape tied onto a tree at the edge of Highway 97. You will pass Azouzetta Lake and a campground, then in another ten minutes, arrive at a small pull-out for the trailhead. This hike is recommended for experienced adventurers as it is quite steep and grown-over in parts, but I’m not the hard-core type and survived to tell the tale. Tarns and mountain meadows make this unique hike worth the trouble!
Mount Terry Fox and Kinbasket Lake
This is probably the hardest hike I completed in Summer 2020. It goes on and on, which is part of the fun. We started in the early morning hours (about 6 am) and arrived back at base for 6 pm. Along the way, we encountered mist-shrouded peaks, patches of deep mid-summer snow, tarns, kettle lakes, crumbling granite mountain sides, twisted trees and a view that speaks for itself. I recommend driving the two hours east, camping overnight and giving yourself a full day for this hike. Being close to Valemount is a bonus, as there is so much to explore in this charming town. We took it easy the next day and went for a dip in Kinbasket Lake; it was the perfect way to end an adventurous weekend.
Glacier Gulch and Hudson Mountains
Smithers has it all, during winter and summer. Being a four hour drive west of PG, you need at least a long weekend to properly adventure in and around this northern town. We camped at Twin Falls Provincial Park and gave ourselves a full day to traverse alongside mountain streams, leading all the way to an immense glacier. I don’t think any of us wanted to leave that place, it was something else. With weary legs, we ventured into the Hudson Mountains 24 hours later, setting up camp at Silverking Basin. This is a great introduction to backpacking for anyone keen to dip their toes in. The walk into the campsite is an easy two hours, and from there the choice is yours! Either stick around to be lulled by babbling brooks and picturesque meadows or strap on your hiking boots and charge forth. We went in search of a mysterious, high-altitude lake and eventually found it!
There are many more adventure spots in and around PG that I can think of, but for now I leave you with these six. Summer 2021 is another opportunity to get out and explore your own backyard. Good thing Prince George’s backyard is practically endless!
If you don’t believe me, here are a few other posts just to prove it!