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Whether it is winter, summer, spring or fall, it’s fair to say that Prince George gets more than its fair share of beautiful sunsets. There are many picturesque locations around the city that are well suited to take in the sunset. Here are four great locations I find perfect to watch and photograph sunsets.

The Nechako River (Foothills Bridge)

As you look up the Nechako River from the Foothills area, the river is pointing directly towards the sunset. A new city park just north of the Foothills Bridge provides parking and benches great for viewing the passing river as the sun drops. A short stroll under the Foothills overpass gives an unobstructed view of the sun as it seemingly drops into the Nechako River. As a bonus, this spot offers a beautiful reflection of the setting sun as well.

Buckhorn Lake Rec Site

The Buckhorn Lake rec site is a quiet little site that houses a couple of fire pits and picnic tables. The sun cruises across the lake on its way to the treed horizon line. A fire and the picnic table make the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy the light show of Mother Nature.

Wilkins Regional Park

Wilkins Regional Park sits on the shores of the Nechako River in the Miworth area. It’s a large park with a covered seating area, a boat launch and a trail network to roam. This is a spot with wide open views spotted by tall cottonwood trees and a large access area to the Nechako River. To get there, take Otway Road West for about 11 km, then turn right onto Wilkins Road and follow it to the end.

McMillan Creek Regional Park

The cutbanks along the Nechako River from McMillan Park are my final favourite for taking in sunsets. This spot has an easy walk-in with great views of the downtown and the Nechako River. There are several trails throughout the forested park. To find McMillan Creek Regional Park, take Highway 97 North a few kilometres up from the Cameron Street Bridge, then turn left on Hofferkamp Road.

There are many more beautiful spots in Prince George to view the sunset, but these are some of my favourites. Please be respectful of the neighbourhoods as you drive through them on your way and respect the space when you’re there by leaving no trace.

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With such a broad range of scenery, Prince George is an excellent place to experience excitement in the outdoors. You might be surprised at how close some world class outdoor activities are to our area

1. Mountain Biking:

Mountain bike the Pidherny recreation site: Pidherny Rec site has become a go to spot for mountain bikers from far and wide in the north. The area is a dedicated mountain bike site with over 200 trails designed to entertain and delight mountain bikers of all skill levels. Pidherny trails wind their way through a lush green forest with some impressively large Douglas fir trees. Amongst the beauty of the forest these trails use natural and man made obstacles to follow the flow of the land and create an exhilarating experience for riders.

2. Hike the Mountains

Hike one of the amazing mountain trails to gain some elevation and some spectacular views. If you enjoy the mountains, you can find some great views of the Northern Rockies not far from Prince George. Some of the local’s favourite trails are Raven Lake, Sugar Bowl or Fang Mountain. These are challenging hikes with significant elevation gains but a worthy reward awaits at the top with astounding scenery as most of these trails lead to alpine meadows and mountain views. If you hike in the summer be bear aware and winter travel may require some avalanche safety training.

3. Skiing

Ski Powder King Mountain: Powder King Mountain although a two-hour drive from Prince George is known for some of the best Powder skiing in all of Canada. On a sunny day the top of the peak views is worth the journey itself, but a rip down the hill in some of the fluffiest knee-deep powder you have ever experienced can make Powder King an unforgettable stop. Powder King is aptly named with its record breaking snowfalls many years but is a personal favourite of mine for the breathtaking mountain views.

4. Fly Fish a river

Fly fish one of Northern BC rivers – A combination of meditation and exhilaration; flyfishing in Northern BC is another exciting outdoor adventure option. Many rivers around Prince George offer great fly fishing and can also be done year-round. There is a level of excitement that is hard to beat when a feisty trout hits the end of that fly line. While at the same time, a day spent out on a remote stretch of river that meanders through the hills can be one of the best ways to unwind from the stressors of daily life. Please follow local fishing regulations as many rivers in the area are spawning grounds for Salmon.

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The short days and long dark nights of winter can sometimes make it feel tough to get outside for some fresh air and exercise. Long days of heading to work in the dark and then getting back home when it is dark can give me the feeling of cabin fever. A short stint outside with some fresh air and nature always helps me recharge and reset.

Here are three of my favourite places you can immerse yourself in nature when you have a limited time frame. Each of these spots are a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet close enough to be utilized on a lunch break.

Top three winter hikes

  1. Moore’s Meadow: Moore’s Meadow has a vast network of trails winding around a large meadow. Once you enter into the parks picturesque forests the city sounds and sights completely fade away. The forest rises up along each side of the meadow, sheltering and enveloping its inhabitants into nature and It is not uncommon to see a multitude of animals in the park. The many trails can be connected together to make a quick scenic walk or an adventurous journey if you have extra time. Moore’s Meadow can be accessed from First Avenue or from the Parking lot on Foothills Boulevard.

  2. Cottonwood Island Park: Nestled into the junction of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, Cottonwood Island Park is a true gem for its scenery and flora/fauna in the park. Wide and easily accessible trails are surrounded by giant Cottonwood trees and the soothing sounds of the passing river will melt your worries away. A wildlife and nature lover’s dream, this park is full of animal encounters including foxes, eagles, ducks, deer, blue herons, and even black bears. There are also a number of beautiful carvings in the cottonwood trees made by local artist Elmer Gunderson. You can access Cottonwood Park just off the east end of River Road near the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum.

  3. LC Gunn Park: The LC Gunn trail borders the top of southern cut banks of the Fraser River. This hike has some moderately steep pitches in places but they are worth scaling as it provides spectacular views of the city and the Fraser River. This hike winds between large pine trees and over stream crossings with city wide views at nearly every step. LC Gunn trail can be accessed from Highway 16 East from the parking lot off Guay Road or from Highway 97 South in the gravel parking area just south of the Simon Fraser Bridge.

Winter hiking safety tips

Winter hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy nature and a fresh dusting of snow can make old favourites seem brand new again. Here are a few tips to keep it safe:

  • Let people know where you will be and when you plan to be back; accidents can happen and letting people know where to find you in case of an emergency is important.

  • Ice cleats – Slippery sections of ice can easily be hidden by snowpack and cause a fall or injury. Ice cleats are relatively inexpensive and can make impassable sections of an icy trail no problem. Available at places such as Stride and Glide Sports or Atmosphere in the Parkwood Mall.

  • Dress for the weather – Winter weather can change quickly. Make sure to pack appropriate clothing in case of a weather changes. This includes proper footwear/boots. The snowpack can be much deeper in the shelter of the forest.

  • Take some form of communication with you, whether it’s a cell phone or other device, and make sure it is charged and that you are able to call someone if the need for help arises.

  • It doesn’t hurt to get a guide book/map book for reference. A great resource I have found is called Hiking North Central BC, written by local Author Rob Bryce and available at Books & Company.

One of my favourite things about living in Prince George is the fact that we have so many green spaces within our reach right in the city. I hope that one or all of these places can help you get outside and embrace the winter season that I love so much.

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