When October arrives in the north, I’ve said my goodbyes to summer and am ready and waiting for fall to arrive with its usual burst of colour and crisp, clean air. Prince George is a city that celebrates four distinct seasons and this year has been no exception with fall’s flourish of red, yellow and orange foliage and deep blue skies on most days.
There’s never a better Saturday spent than bundled up in my toque, scarf and mittens – finally rescued from the box in the basement – with a hot coffee in hand, ambling through one of the many beautiful parks in Prince George city limits. Before we pull out our snowshoes and skis, here are some walks that you can’t miss:
Cottonwood Island Park
Situated along the Nechako River, Cottonwood Island Park is a system of trails good not only for walking, but biking, in-line skating and running, and with many paved sections, is accessible to everyone and anyone. There are many different entry points, including the main one next door to the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum. If you’re up for a longer walk, one trail even crosses underneath the train bridge and Highway 16 East, and connects to Fort George Park.
Fort George Park
In the heart of downtown, Fort George Park flanks the Fraser River, giving stunning views of where our two rivers connect and the cutbanks across the Fraser. There are many trails throughout the park, with benches and playgrounds for the kids. There are tons of leafy trees in the park, which create quite a sight when the light hits them just right, so be ready when the sun starts to go down!
LC Gunn Park
Located right across the Fraser River from Fort George Park is LC Gunn Park, a 3.5 km trail along a steep bank above the river. This quiet walk gives you amazing views of the city and is also good for biking. And if you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry – plenty of fencing will protect you at the viewpoints while you take it all in!
Connaught Hill Park
Make sure you head to Connaught Hill Park before the end of October when it closes for the season so you don’t miss this amazing panoramic view of the city in all its fall glory. Walking around the top of this park will give you views of everything from UNBC to the Fraser River and the Nechako River and is a great spot to break for a picnic as well.
Cranbrook Hill Greenway
One of my favorite places to stroll with my dog in the fall is the Cranbrook Hill Greenway behind UNBC. There are tons of different trails (over 25 km of them!) and access points to this area (like Forests for the World, another fave!) so there’s always somewhere new to go on any given day. The trails are beautiful and quiet, and there are lookouts and a couple small lakes to visit. Wildlife, including moose and bears, are known to frequent the area, so keep an eye out!
Prince George, BC
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