Staying indoors isn’t an option when it comes to exploring the Mighty Peace this winter. The fun doesn’t stop when the snow hits the ground, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Peace Valley Snow Riders, anyone with a snowmobile can get outside and plan a fun adventure with family and friends.
Since starting in 2010, the Peace Valley Snow Riders have been promoting responsible snowmobiling in the Peace Region and developing trails that form a network on either side of the Peace River. One of their main goals is to encourage others to embrace the winter months and participate in recreational activities that all ages can enjoy.
Running through the Northern Sunrise County, County of Northern Lights, Clear Hills County, St. Isidore and Hines Creek, the four main trails total 205km and are the perfect way to witness the beauty of the Mighty Peace during the winter months.
Each trail comes equipped with a rest area that has picnic tables, firepits, outhouses and wood sheds full of split wood, so riders never have to worry about finding a great spot for a pit stop.
It’s highly recommended to pack a lunch, hit the trails and take in the scenery while you roast hot dogs and warm up beside the fire before heading out again for some fun in the powder.
The first trail on the list is the Baytex Wesley Creek Trail which is a 30km loop near St. Isidore and is favoured by families. This trail offers a scenic and leisurely route that’s perfect for those who want to get outside and enjoy some frosty fun in the sun.
To prolong the sightseeing and experiences, visitors can stop in at the St. Isidore Cultural Centre and Museum to learn about the heritage of the Francophone community and partake in one of the many family orientated events that they frequently host.
The next trail that the Snow Riders have created and maintained is the Osmand/ Get Away Cabins Leddy Lake Trail which is located north of Peace River and covers 40km.
This trail crosses the beautiful Whitemud river valley and offers up some of the best views in the Peace Country. It also includes a small loop near the Leddy Lake Recreation Area where riders can enjoy the campground facilities and relax after a day playing in the snow.
To make the most of your outdoor excursion, it’s highly recommended to plan a weekend and stay in or near Peace River, especially if you can book a night at the Wildrose Guest House.
Here you can slip into the hot tub after a full day outdoors and then head back out for round two or hit the slopes at Misery Mountain for some snowboarding and skiing. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a hot meal with the Board ‘N’ Barrel Restaurant nearby that offers some of the best food in the Mighty Peace.
The last two trails offered by the Peace Valley Snow Riders are the Canfor Hines Creek Trail and the Smith Mills Trail. These two trails are connected and cover 100km, making them ideal for adventure seekers and those who want a full day in the crisp, fresh air.
The Canfor Hines Creek Trail is the only trail that ties into a community directly and allows sledders to access food, fuel, accommodations and a repair shop if needed.
Riders can start by grabbing lunch at the Hines Creek Hotel and heading to the rest area for a full afternoon, or they can do the entire run and go through a diverse and challenging trail that offers incredible viewpoints, rolling hills and plenty of natural scenery.
As for Northern Lights locations closer to Peace River, Paul recommends the Sagitawa Lookout or the 12 Foot Davis Gravesite lookout. Here you can witness the many colours and lights with the town as your backdrop and enjoy a truly unique experience that’s only minutes away.
There are many hotel options for staying in Peace River, such as the Chateau Nova, Best Western Plus, Nova Inn, or the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre.
For those wanting an easier ride, they can start at the staging point of the Smith Mills Trail, which is north of Figure Eight Lake, near Grimshaw. This trail has a loop at the west end that offers up a spectacular view of the area that every rider will appreciate. Sledders can turn around at the rest area or continue on and finish up in Hines Creek, just in time for supper.
When planning your trip, it’s best to allot yourself a couple of days and book a stay at the Last Lake Guest House. Here you can enjoy a good night’s sleep after hitting the trails each day and if you’re feeling up to it, you can run into Grimshaw and grab a mouth-watering pizza and tasty brew from the Krooked House Pub.
No matter what your plans are this winter, there’s always something new to try out in the Mighty Peace. Be sure to add the Peace Valley Snow Riders’ trails to your bucket list this year and witness the Peace Region in a completely different way!