It’s the Stanley Park of Prince George.
Every adventurer needs a quiet day and after my Rock Climbing adventures the day before outside of Prince George I think I deserve one. After scouring through the Tourism Prince George website I found just what I need, a couple of day hikes within the city limits of Prince George. The first one takes place at Forests For The World which is located very close to the University of Northern BC and the second one is on the other side of the Fraser River and is called L.C Gunn Park. I’m starting to discover the outdoor adventure paradise that is Prince George and my Take On PG is that it’s a great place to experience some of the magic and beauty BC has to offer. 30 Days Of Summer is up for hiking in Prince George, let’s get walking.
As I said Forests For The World is located near UNBC in the part of Prince George referred to as College Heights. The park is 106 hectares and has over 15kms of hiking trails to explore. It’s a demonstration forest which means during my upcoming hike I expect I’ll see almost every type of flora and fauna native to Northern BC forests. Some of the plants may have been planted in recent years and some may rejuvenated on their own which should provide an interesting view of the difference between a managed and a natural forest. Lets see if we can spot the difference .
With my intrepid adventure buddy John Biehler with me we set off on our hike through Forests For The World. We have no plan in mind but when we spot the first trail marker and we see there is a Lookout viewing spot that is where we decide to head off to.
The trail is quiet easy and wide to walk. I’m guessing it’s the ATV route the park managers use. It’s very green inside the park but along the trails little bits of wild flowers and bright colours pop through. So far we’ve not seen another soul on the trails which I’m shocked about as I’ve heard that Forests For The World is the Stanley Park of Prince George, which means I expected to see tons of people. I guess that is part of the glory of adventuring in Northern BC, there are less people to disturb nature than in the Lower Mainland.
Just under a kilometer from where we started we arrive at the Lookout. It’s a broad clearing with a man made observation deck that offers up a stunning view looking back down into Prince George and the surrounding areas. The bugs are fierce up here so make sure you wear sunscreen and bug repellent otherwise you’ll be lunch for a family or two of mosquitos. Located near the observation platform was a great map of the park and the trails that clearly showed us a small lake and how to get there. Off we go!
Some of the trails we take to get to Shane Lake are a bit more overrun than the Lookout trail but they are still easy enough to follow and almost any fitness level could do them. Besides it’s fun to hike through the brush, it takes me back to adventuring as a kid while camping and playing adventurer with my Sister.
About 15 to 20 mins after we left the observation platform we discover Shane Lake and it is gorgeous. A small wilderness lake with a surface that is as smooth as glass today. I’m cheating a bit by showing you a look at the lake from the air, more to come on that adventure. While we hung out at the lake for a few minutes I counted at least 5 to 6 fish jumping. I think this lake is brimming with fish and if that is what you are into then you can always grab a fishing rod from the Tourism PG office and try your luck off the dock at Shane Lake.
It’s time to head back and along the trail back to the parking lot we finally run into some other adventurers, these folks all have dogs and it seems this is the place to run off some energy.
One hike down one more to go. After lunch we head to the other side of Prince George on Hwy 16, just over the Yellow Head Bridge to find L.C. Gunn Park. This is a much smaller park with only 3.5kms of trails but it has some historical relevance as the trails follow the routes traveled by early surveyors when they were planning out the railway lines.
There isn’t a soul in sight the entire time we are at the park, we have it to ourselves. It’s a much different forest and landscape here than at Forests For The World, there is not as much ground fauna and it’s easy to see farther in front of you. Just a short walk from where we started our hike is what we’ve come for, a vantage point to see over the Fraser River and into downtown Prince George.
The view is a bit hazy today but I’m thinking that is a side effect of all the recent forest fires. No matter the view is still spectacular enough for John to get out his camera and snap some pics. I was able to grab a cool panorama shot of the Fraser River, Yellowhead Bridge and Prince George.
Whether you are looking to spend a half day, full day or even just your lunch break out in nature Prince George has lots to offer the day hiker. Both Forests For The World and LC Gunn Park are true gems and neither is busy enough to ruin the moment if you are looking for an escape. John and I hiked hiked both in one day and there are parts of Forests For The World we didn’t see so every time you hike them it can be a new adventure.
My Take On PG is one of outdoor adventure paradise, are you surprised? Don’t you wish you could explore those hikes today or maybe you grew up in the area and you already know and love the hikes, which is it?
Thanks to Tourism PG for getting me to come back to visit Prince George. A lot has changed in 30 years but what matters most has stayed the same.