Welcome to Cottonwood Island Nature Park in Prince George, a fantastic year-round destination where the Nechako and Fraser Rivers come together. The local First Nation people call this place “Lheitli,” and it’s a special place with a rich history. This 33-hectare park gets its name from the magnificent 300-year-old Black Cottonwood Trees that grace the banks of the Nechako River. It’s a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering various recreational activities throughout the year.

Summer Fun

In the summer, Cottonwood Island Nature Park comes alive with visitors eager to enjoy the great outdoors. The park boasts a wonderful trail system that’s perfect for exploring the river’s edge and the wilderness areas in the community. Many people come here for leisurely walks, bike rides, and fishing adventures. As you stroll along the trails, you’ll find viewing platforms and benches that offer breathtaking views of the Nechako River.

The park’s parking lot is conveniently located near a large grassy field, which is perfect for picnicking. There are picnic tables and benches all around, and a wooden picnic shelter provides a shady spot for families to enjoy a meal together.

Park Facilities and Accessibility Features

Cottonwood Island Nature Park is committed to making nature accessible to everyone. Here are some of the facilities and accessibility features you’ll find:

Access Route: The access route from the parking lot next to the railway museum is smooth asphalt with a gentle slope. It’s generally in good condition, although you might encounter some older asphalt, patches, tree roots, and cracks along the way.

Washrooms: There’s an accessible washroom near the parking lot by the Railway museum. It has a wide door and grab bars. While it’s mostly accessible, some elements don’t meet building code standards and may pose challenges for people using mobility devices. For example, there’s a slope up to the door, and the threshold is quite high. The toilet paper dispenser might not be within easy reach for everyone.

Viewing Areas: While there aren’t specific viewing platforms, you’ll discover countless scenic views of the river along the Heritage trail. This trail is incredibly picturesque, with numerous spots to take in the natural beauty.

Trails: The main trail in the park is the Cottonwood Island Heritage Trail. It’s rated as accessible, but keep in mind that the park can experience flooding due to its proximity to the Nechako River, which can lead to erosion and ongoing maintenance challenges. Despite this, the Heritage trail mostly meets accessibility standards. The surface is firm and stable, and the trail is wide with gentle slopes. The paved path is in good condition with only a few cracks and roots. The gravel paths are also generally well-maintained, although some have become narrower due to vegetation growth. Be cautious of the occasional hanging branch, especially if you’re visually impaired or not paying close attention. Paths near the water can be more challenging due to erosion, and some may abruptly end with steep drops into ditches or the river.

Water Access: While there are several points along the trail where you can access the Nechako River, none of these points are wheelchair accessible.

Cottonwood Island Nature Park is a place where nature and accessibility go hand in hand. Whether you’re visiting in the summer for outdoor adventures or enjoying the serenity of winter cross-country skiing, this park has something to offer everyone. Come explore the natural beauty of “Lheitli” and create lasting memories with your friends and family.