It’s fitting that the trails through the Fort Nelson Demonstration Forest along the Alaska Highway are named after caribou, moose, bear and lynx. After all, this part of Northern BC is often called the Serengeti of the North, due to its abundance of wildlife!
Located on the northwest side of the town of Fort Nelson, the Demonstration Forest is a large area next door to the town limits, with an approximate 5K, self-guided interpretive forestry lesson for visitors, and plenty of opportunity for leisurely – or not so leisurely – hiking, biking and (during winter months) cross-country skiing and showshoeing.
There are interpretive signs here, telling the story of the boreal forest and its inhabitants, after which the trails have been named. You might also notice one or two “Caution” signs. Please remember, you are in Bear Country! Exercise caution, especially in late August and early September. Make plenty of noise and travel in groups whenever possible.
To get here, follow the Fort Nelson Demonstration Forest Recreation Site signs on the Alaska Highway. Once you’re in Fort Nelson, drive north on Simpson Trail toward 50th Ave N for 0.8 km, turn left at Mountainview Dr W and continue 0.5 km to the parking area.
There’s a pond with picnic tables about 10-15 minutes from the parking lot. The park is also a popular spot for dog walking. There are several well-maintained trails of 1K to 3.5K in length. Some trails can also be used for biking in the summer and cross-country skiing during the winter (they’re marked).
Here are the names and description highlights of a few trails, as published in the Fort Nelson Demonstration Forest brochure (with map), which you can download (PDF format) here.
Medzihtenneh Caribou (Green) Trail
- Distance: 1.3K
“Starting from the parking lot and kiosk follow the middle trail of the three trailheads. Easily identified by overhead lighting, the trail is a direct route to enter the Tsatenneh Beaver (Purple) Winter Use Ski Trail…”
Golotenneh Moose (Brown) Trail
- Distance: 3.4K
“Follow trail left of the three trailheads (from the parking lot). Fairly densely forested, and with a boardwalk crossing, the trail will border the edge of the pond, where it continues over a more low-lying area…”
Sahtenneh Bear (Orange) Trail
- Distance: 2.9K
“Follow trail at right of three trailheads (from the parking lot). Stay on designated path, taking trail to the right at junction with picnic table. The trail will be fairly densely forested, with the benches and picnic tables appearing along the way…”
Nodatenneh Lynx (Yellow) Trail
- Distance: 2.2K
“Follow the Medzihtenneh/Green Trail (middle of three trailheads, from parking lot) and just past pond and outhouse, proceed right. Continue on trail through all junctions in trail, looping back once crossing the second portion of the Sahtenneh/Orange Trail…”