Region’s wilderness trails offer something for every adventurer

Whether searching for a rugged backcountry climb, or a well-developed hiking trail, there is a variety of experiences in the Northwest.

“There is something for everyone.”

It’s an accurate depiction of the outdoor hiking and trail activities in the Northwest as described by Sean Carlson, an avid outdoor enthusiast and Quickclimb volunteer coordinator.

Whether searching for a rugged backcountry climb, or a well-developed hiking trail such as Butze Rapids, there is a variety of experiences in the Northwest to encounter.

“The region has such a diverse history, ranging from historic First Nations sites, to old fish canneries, to former wartime barracks. There is a local history unique to trails in the Northwest,” said Carlson.

Ranging from listening to stories of how cabins were built on top of mountains, or walking along the old water supply line to the pulp mill and marveling at the unique 1950’s design, Carlson describes how the trails in the region not only highlight the area’s natural beauty, but also the determination it can take to survive in the rugged Northwest.

“Whether you are looking for a groomed trail that you can hike in your running shoes, one where you need to pack gear to spend the night, or one somewhere in between, there are trails that appeal to all skill sets, ages, and fitness levels. In a coastal community such as Prince Rupert, there are trails that can only be accessed from the water, so for those who are ambitious, there are numerous opportunities to explore the Northwest,” explains Carlson.

“Trails in the Northwest can range anywhere from two to 20 kilometres; however, individuals should not let length deceive them, as some of the shorter trails can be more challenging than longer ones, particularly when there is a great change in elevation. The Kiwanis Trail, which begins at the base of Mount Oldfield, is quite steep at the beginning, but levels out after the first kilometre. Kiwanis and the 1,000 Step Trails are accessible on foot from Prince Rupert, while Mount Blaine, Rainbow Summit, and Mount McLean require venturing beyond the city limits by another form of transportation,” tells Carlson.

“My favorite hiking spot is Rainbow Mountain,” says Carlson, as he recalls the spectacular view at the base of Ptarmigan Mountain, where one can see the dam on Rainbow Lake and the estuary of the Skeena River.

With backcountry recreation being a favorite pastime of his, Carlson is constantly reminded of just how magnificent the Northwest Region can be.

This year, Carlson was instrumental in reviving the Mount Hays Quickclimb event, which is being held on Aug. 16 in Prince Rupert. Carlson emphasizes that “the Quickclimb is not just another race, but a community sporting event that supports and encourages outdoor recreation in the Northwest Region”.

“Participants, supporters, and volunteers for the event demonstrate a desire to foster and support outdoor activities, such as developing an integrated trail network for Kaien Island, which is where all of the funds raised from the event will go,” describes Carlson.

Trails such as the Kiwanis Trail have evidence of old boardwalks that once elevated the trail from the soft ground below; however, Carlson notes these boardwalks have slowly degraded over the years and become overtaken by moss and trees.

“The Quickclimb invests in Northwest trails such as the Kiwanis because it builds awareness around what can be done to create a trail network that is accessible for those living in and visiting the Northwest, as well as providing individuals and businesses the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on outdoor recreation in the region,” Carlson explained

Carlson reminds us that, as hikers, we must recognize that we are stewards of our surroundings.

“The Mount Hays Quickclimb is a great way for individuals in the Northwest to improve outdoor trails in our region. Whether you want to compete in, support, or volunteer for the event, you will be contributing to the improvement of trails and outdoor recreational experiences in the Northwest,” said Carlson.

Please visit www.quickclimb.ca for more information on competing and volunteering for this fantastic event!

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