Northern British Columbia has an abundance of dense forests; many of which have trails, maintained by the province and public, accessible to the general public to hike. These hikes tend to vary from Easy to Moderate to Intermediate. Today we’re talking about moderate hikes in Northern British Columbia; three to be exact: Teapot Mountain, Raven Lake and Grizzly Den.
Teapot Mountain (1.4km)
Teapot Mountain’s trailhead is located approximately 45 minutes North of Prince George. Following the John Hart Highway (Hwy 97) drive roughly 50kms until you reach Talus Road. Turn onto Talus Road and drive for 1km until you reach Caine Creek Forestry Road. Turn onto Caine Creek and drive 3.3km until you reach the trailhead, which is a marked pullout to the right. Teapot Mountain is a moderate hike because the trail is, mainly, a steep climb amongst large boulders strewn along majority of the trail. These boulders tell of Teapot’s past; Teapot Mountain is a basalt volcanic plug which formed long before the last ice age.
The hike up Teapot starts along a short, inclined, gravel road. Just as quick as you began along the gravel road you reach what is very noticeably the trail; yet, it’s not a common hiking path, it has boulders all along it. Then the true hike begins, the path ascends up towards the sky with many steps requiring you to climb over boulders to get higher and higher. I believe this hike is typically taken lightly because it’s only 1.4km and only takes around 30 minutes to get to the top; but, what you won’t realize until you tackle it is that this hike is physically challenging. It is a moderate hike and the steep inclines, sometimes on loose earth, that make up majority of the hike give it that label for a reason.
This hike can be done with children though I can’t stress enough to come prepared with good hiking boots and be aware of your children at all times. At the top of the mountain there is a 360 loop which offers amazing viewpoints overlooking Summit Lake to the south, smaller lakes and creeks to the north and wetlands east and west. At the viewpoints mentioned there are very few rails and the edge drops away forming significant cliffs.
Raven Lake (4.7km)
Raven Lake’s trailhead is located approximately 1.5 hours East of Prince George in the Sugar-bowl/Grizzly Den Provincial Park and Protected Area. The park is a protected habitat for Caribou, Grizzly Bears and many other smaller animals.
Following Highway 16 East drive roughly 90km until you reach Hungary Creek Forest Service Road. Turn onto Hungary Creek and drive roughly 15.6km until you reach a fork in the road. At the fork proceed to the right which leads you directly into the Raven Lake parking lot where the trailhead starts. Raven Lake hike takes approximately 2-3 hours to reach the cabin at 4.7km and another 1-2 hours to arrive back at the parking lot. While I was preparing for the hike I made sure to pack a can of bear spray and survival equipment (ex; change of clothes, rain gear, food, water, first aid kit and survival kit).
The trail starts with a slight downhill slope as you pass a small unnamed lake to your right. Once you’ve reached the switchbacks your uphill hike begins. Depending on the season the trail can be quite muddy, it’s recommended to wear a good pair of hiking boots. In August there are plentiful amounts of berries along the trail; huckleberries, wild blueberries, thimbleberries and more! Be sure to only eat berries you have knowledge of to avoid eating something that could make you sick. The switchbacks eventually open into small meadows surrounded by trees and areas with small bodies of water where birds can be seen bathing. There’s a short downhill section that is made difficult by large boulders; but, it’s over quick, within a short distance you’re rewarded with sights of the cabin sitting on the edge of a gorgeously clear little lake, Raven Lake.
Grizzly Den (9km)
Grizzly Den’s trailhead is located approximately 1.5 hours East of Prince George in the Sugarbowl/Grizzly Den Provincial Park and Protected Area. The park is a protected habitat for Caribou, Grizzly Bears and many other smaller animals. The Grizzly Den hike is located within the same Provincial Park as Raven Lake; except the Grizzly Den trailhead and parking lot is to the left of the fork when driving up Hungary Creek Forestry Road.
The Grizzly Den hike takes approximately 3-6 hours to reach the summit at 9km and another 1-2 hours to arrive back at the parking lot. There are two cabins located on this trail; one is located within the first kilometer of the hike and the second is located at the 6km marker. You may have guessed from the name but this hike is within bear territory and habitat, it’s recommended to carry bear spray and/or a bear bell with you during your hike. It’s also recommended to be completely self-sufficient and prepared with any necessities (ex; change of clothes, rain gear, food, water, first aid kit and survival kit) you may need during your hike.
Depending on the season, and time of year, you do this hike the overall time could vary; in July there was still plenty of snow once we reached the second kilometer and this slowed us down significantly as well as causing our shoes to get quite wet. I would say August is the best month to hike this trail unless you’re prepared with snowshoes to quicken your pace. A personal recommendation I’d give, because of the length of time this hike may take, is planning an overnight stay at the cabin (6km). After a good night’s sleep you can wake up bright and early to resume your hike to the summit then casually stroll back to the parking lot.
Come join me on this epic Adventure!
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