When summer hits in Prince George it’s a game-changer. Suddenly, happy hikers like me head for the hills where they once skied or snowshoed, only to be greeted with a wildflower wonderland. While the best part of hiking up a trail is the summit views, the second-best part is returning to Prince George to grab a celebratory drink from one of my favourite watering holes. Here are my favourite trail and ale pairings in the Prince George area.
Sugarbowl Trail + Crossroads Brewing Clearcut Lager
Elevation Gain: 1059 metres
Distance: 6.8 km one way
This trail is located about 80 kms southeast of Prince George via Highway 16 and is in the Sugarbowl-Grizzly Den Provincial Park. This steep trail leads through the forest up the north slope of Sugarbowl Mountain onto a lightly wooded sub-alpine ridge. More information can be found on the Caledonia Ramblers website.
On the way back to Prince George, we make a mandatory stop to CrossRoads Brewing. We are definitely our element at Crossroads, as the tap room features live-edge wooden bars, a social atmosphere and beer with names commemorating the Prince George lifestyle. Nothing like celebrating the end of a deeply-wooded hike with a Clearcut Lager.
Mount Pope Trail + Browns Social House Happy Hour
Elevation Gain: 875 metres
Distance: 6.5 km one way
This trail is located about 175 kms of Prince George via Highway 16 and 27 near Fort Saint James. This trail is popular, well-used and leads to a gazebo with beautiful views at the summit of Mount Pope. More information can be found on the Caledonia Ramblers website.
Mount Pope is a great social hike, as it is relatively easy to get to and quite popular amongst the Prince George hiking community. I typically enjoy doing this hike with friends and what better way to end the day than a happy hour. Browns Social House has happy hours every day from 3-6 pm and 9 pm-close. This meant we had various drinks and shared food at a discounted price – after your legs are jelly, why not fill your belly?
Belle Mountain Trail + Cariboo Honey Lager
Elevation Gain: 307 metres but may be more depending on where you start and end.
Distance: 7 to 12 km depending on the destination one way
This trail is located about 200 kms from Prince George via Highway 16 east near McBride. Depending on what type of vehicle you have, you can drive up as far as possible on the Belle Mountain Forest Service Road. This trail leads to a beautiful alpine and mountain views for less effort than most hikes in the area. More information can be found on the Caledonia Ramblers website.
This was a long day since we were driving for five hours altogether. We were tired and semi-grubby on our way back so opted to hit up our refrigerator at home for some locally-brewed Cariboo Honey Lager (a household favourite).
I feel so lucky to live in a place where I can follow any highway out of the city and find some incredible day hikes. I also admire the many Prince George establishments that are ready to satiate my thirst and “hanger” after a long day of hiking.
There are some great places I wanted to give mentions to: Trench Brewing, The Black Clover and Northern Lights Estate Winery that I am determined to get to this summer après-hike. Cutbanks and wine anyone?
To my fellow hikers, happy trails and bottoms up!