McMillan Creek Regional Park

by Josée

McMillan Creek Park is known for its meandering forest trails and grassy viewpoint overlooking the city of Prince George. We hiked through this park once last year with a group of home learning families and enjoyed the view. This time, however, we hiked through the park with two seasoned hikers, my brother-in-law and his father and made a very exciting discovery. There are several ways of reaching this unique spot and I will share the path we took.

To begin our hike we parked at the McMillan Creek Park parking lot which is located four-hundred and fifty metres down Hofercamp Rd, off Highway 97 North in Prince George, British Columbia. From the parking lot we followed the trail which goes down to Hofercamp road and followed the road for about one-hundred and fifty metres south before resuming again in the forest. Soon after resuming on the trail we arrived at a junction, to the left is ‘the viewpoint’ and to the right is ‘the trail’, we turned left and followed along until we reached a lovely grassy spot that overlooks the city. Up to this point the trail is a one kilometer long stroll and definitely stroller friendly.

The next section of the trail we followed is located to the very right of the fenced area. It is an unmarked trail which is steep and hangs treacherously over the cutbank. If you choose this path, proceed with great caution! My eldest (seven) scrambled up without help, my daughter (five) managed well with the help of her uncle and my youngest (three) screamed the whole way up as he clung to my hands. Holding on to his hands gave me a significant disadvantage on the way up and there were a couple times I nearly lost my footing. After a decent scramble upwards we continued to follow the trail along the edge of the cutbank for a ways before veering right back into the forest. As we continued to follow the trail downhill it reached another fork, at this fork we went left, back towards the cutbanks. We hiked along the trail which returned to the edge of the cutbank and opened up to a steep slope that carved through the cutbank. What fun!

At the top of the slope is a gnarled tree with a primitive swing attached to it. We all took turns swinging over the slope and it was a thrill! As we became more daring there were several decent falls but the soft sand below makes the landing tolerable. The slope is also frequently used by local athletes for training. At the bottom of the slope a small change area is located and at the top a short rope is attached for to aid with the last stretch. Running down the slope is exciting and almost feels like flying, scaling back up however is very challenging. It is possible to access the bottom of the slope on Pulpmill Road, but it is a difficult scramble to the top for very young children. Finally, after we were satisfied with the amount of sand in our shoes, hair and clothes we hiked back along the trail and took the left turn at the fork which brought us back to the viewpoint, from there it was easy hiking back to the parking lot.

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