Paarens Beach Provincial Park

Trails

Mount Pope: Undoubtedly the most popular hiking destination in the area is Mount Pope. From the 1472 metre summit the panoramic view of Fort St. James, Stuart Lake, and the snow-capped Omineca Mountains to the north is unbeatable. Although the first part is relatively steep (climbing 300 metres in elevation), the overall slope is roughly 13% with periodic viewpoints along the way. The entire elevation gain of the six-kilometre trail is 791 metres. Allow four to six hours for the return trip.

The original trail was first established by the Carrier Indians. The local band would keep sentries on the mountain to watch the north end of Stuart Lake for war parties coming down from Babine Lake. According to Carrier legend a tribe of little people once lived in the mountain. After killing them all off in a war, the Carrier would offer gifts of salmon to the ghosts of the little people to ensure abundant salmon runs would continue.

The mountain is named after Major Franklin L Pope. In 1865, while surveying a route for the Overland Telegraph to Siberia, Pope was separated from his Carrier guides and spent the night alone on the mountain.

Tulle Lake: Another interesting hike in the Fort St. James area is the Tulle Lake trail network featuring 15 kilometres of interconnecting trail to three lakes with good fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. For the extremely energetic hiker with extra time to spend the historic Nautley/Sowchea Pack Trail intersects the Tulle Lake trail system. This 45 kilometre trail was used for generations as an early trade route between villages on Fraser and Stuart lakes.

The relative flat of the Nechako Plateau gives way to the rolling hills around Fort St. James. Mount Pope (1472 metres) overlooks Stuart Lake to the west and signals the beginning of the Omineca Mountains rising to the north.

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