I recently did a contract in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and one of the best parts of working here was all of the hikes that were in the area! I had a hard time finding information about these hikes, especially the fourth one, so I figured writing about them would be helpful for other people! I’m not an experienced hiker at all, so don’t consider me an expert. I was here in December which is not normally a prime time for hiking but on the west coast in a rain forest it’s very doable! I’m sure all four of these hikes would be completely different in the summer time, but here is what they were like in the winter!
Tall Trees Trail
Tall Trees was probably my favourite hike out of the four, though it was for sure the hardest one! A staff nurse invited me to join her for this one and it was a really smart idea to go with someone who knew the trail well! The trailhead is just outside of town across from the better known Butze Rapids Trail. In the summer, the transit bus actually stops out here. This trail is 7.7 km round trip, or 4.8 miles with an elevation gain of 545 metres, or about 1790 feet. It’s quite steep and as an average hiker level, I would rate this as a moderate to difficult level trail. If you’re in shape then it would be moderate. I had a rough time with the steepness of the trail but once I got to the top, it was so worth it!
It had recently snowed up top so it ended up being quite deep when we got to the summit. It was also quite slippery with both ice and mud so waterproof hiking shoes were a must. I actually ended up spraining my foot on the way down from sliding on something, so be careful! We started the hike around 1:30 and got back to the car around 5:00! It was really dark when we got near the bottom so we had to use the flashlights on our phones for light. We were super lucky and went on a very clear day so we had breathtaking views up at the top. If you went on a cloudy or rainy day, you definitely wouldn’t be that lucky. Make sure to walk a little further past the lookout up top and you’ll have a second view point of the Skeena River! Here are some pictures to show off the trail!
Look at all that snow!!! The boardwalk near the top was quite narrow so we had to be careful not to slip into the deep snow and get a “booter” as we call them up here in Canada! The views were insanely gorgeous. Seeing the ocean and all of the islands from up top is unreal. I loved this day so much! I think it was my favourite day of the entire contract.
Butze Rapids Trail
The next hike that I went on was more of a walk. I didn’t actually finish this particular hike as it was getting dark and I had to turn back. From what I did see, it was very nice and I wish I would have had time to complete the trail. It’s nice and close to town, across from the Tall Trees Trail as I mentioned above. It’s a 5.1 km or 3.1 mile loop. If you start by going clockwise, you’ll see the Butze Rapids first. If you go the opposite way, you’ll see Grassy Bay first. I only walked to see the Rapids and then returned back to the trailhead. I honestly didn’t find the rapids that exciting to see…maybe it isn’t the best time of year to see them?? Here are some pictures of the trail!
Rushbrook Trail was absolutely beautiful. I loved this little walk along the coast of the ocean! It’s only 1.2 km long (or 0.7 miles), double that to walk back to the trailhead. I walked a lot longer past the end of the trail towards Seal Cove where the float planes take off! The views were incredible and I highly recommend doing this walk if you are in PR! The trail is super well maintained and there are a few steep sections but for the most part it is an easy trail.
Okay, so this trail was super hard to find. I heard about it from my roommate who was told about it by another ER nurse who has done it before. It’s right behind the cemetery and you actually have to park at the cemetery to get to it. There’s two ways to get to the trail. If you turn left right when you get to the cemetery and drive straight, there’s a little dead end where the trail starts, called the East Cemetery trail. If you keep driving to the south side of the cemetery at the very far end, the South Cemetery trail starts. This one is hard to find because it’s farther down off the road and hard to see at road level. I ended up starting on the east side because that’s the only one I could find! Looking back, I really wish I would have started at the South entrance. The trail was VERY muddy and messy. I actually wore my rubber boots which ended up being a smart idea because they were COVERED in mud by the end. It was a very difficult hike. I couldn’t even tell you how long it is. I hiked for an hour basically straight up the mountain and turned back because of all the mud. I didn’t make it up to the official lookout but I still had a really nice view of the ocean down below. I also got a little spooked that I was the only person on the trail and I was afraid of running into a wolf or a bear! I saw big tracks in the ground and it definitely freaked me out. I wish I would have done the hike with someone else! The trail is VERY well marked by a very nice person. Each trail has a different colour of tape on the trees and if I was questioning where the trail was going, I would just look up and know where to climb. Once I came back down, I turned left instead of going back the same way I started, and I was faced with a nice down-hill trail. I was trying to find ‘The King”, which is the biggest tree on this island. If I had started on the south trail, I definitely would have seen it but by the time I got to that fork in the trail, I had been hiking for 2.5 hours and I was exhausted and covered in mud plus it was starting to rain! I came out at the south entrance and walked back to the car through the cemetery. My roommate sent me a picture of The King so that I could include it for you to see!
That last picture is SO cool. There were like floating railroad tracks with a bridge underneath!! I hope this was helpful for you if you are looking to hike in Prince Rupert! I was obsessed with the beauty of the rain forest…where else in Canada can you hike in December like this!! British Columbia is a dream.
Thanks for reading!