The Interior Hemlock-Cedar forest, or the Ancient Forest as it is known, is the further inland temperate rain forest in the world. It boasts trees that are 1000 years old, and possibly as old as 2000.
It is located about an hour west of McBride along Hwy 16. The official trail opened in 2006 as a 2.5km loop through a patch of red cedar trees up to 5 metres in diameter.
The trail leads you to spots like “Treebeard” and “Big Tree,” and also guides you to a gorgeous waterfall.
Visitors have described the experience as spiritual. It may also bring to mind the Ent scenes from the Lord of the Rings. These are big trees with a lot of power.
In the 2006-07 season, about 6,000 people visited the forest. The following year it increased to 8,000. Over the ‘08-’09 season, 75 people a day made the trek.
The Caledonia Rambler’s hiking club in Prince George is expanding an accessible boardwalk through part of the forest. Thousands of hours of volunteer time has gone into it so far. The new 456 meter boardwalk will let wheelchair users and others with mobility challenges access the unique rainforest.
The boardwalk will also help protect the roots of the cedars. Much of the Ancient Forest trail is not yet boardwalk.
The Ramblers installed a larger temporary sign on the highway pull-out this past week to improve visibility.
This is a low-impact hike great for families, and highly recommended by the Goat.