Lying 780km north of Vancouver and 380km northwest of Jasper, rough-edged Prince George is the general area’s services and transport centre. Forestry is at the core of its industrial landscape – if you ever wanted the inside story on the lumber business, this is where to find it.
Simon Fraser established a North West Trading Company post here in 1805, creating a commercial nexus that quickly altered the lives of the local CarrierSekani peoples, who abandoned their semi-nomadic migration from winter to summer villages in favour of a permanent settlement alongside the fort. Little changed until 1914 when the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway spawned an influx of pioneers and loggers. The town was connected by road to Dawson Creek and the North as late as 1951, and saw the arrival of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in 1958. From Prince George there are possible routes north and east to Dawson Creek, and the Alaska Hwy.
Prince George offers a handful of attractions, many of which take in the city’s surrounding forests. There are over 1600 lakes within a 150km radius of town, all offering beautiful settings for hiking, fishing and canoeing. A host of hiking trails exist, including an easy walk through the Ancient Forest, the world’s furthest inland rainforest, while Forests for the World offers 15km of trails and a gorgeous lakeside picnic site. Just north of downtown the Cottonwood Island Nature Park has similar trails with interpretive signs and wood spirit carvings in the trees. The city’s central Connaught Hill Park affords a 360-degree view over the city; check with the tourist office for trail details.