Snowshoe Misery Mountain for a Peace Full experience
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Grab some snowshoes at Misery Mountain in Peace River for a peaceful way to recharge this winter in the Mighty Peace.
Peace River, AB - Untouched fresh snow with millions of sparkling glints of light blanketing the earth - around every turn, valley, and hill is a joyful feast for the eyes and a sweet renewal for the spirit. There is something so magical about winter, about this place. No wonder it’s called Peace River.
“It’s soooo gorgeous,” says Ashly Mohammad, first-time snowshoer, as she takes in the stunning views of the Peace River valley from the top of the Misery Mountain Ski Area. “You can see everything from up here,” says Ashly as she stands on at least a foot of freshly fallen powder.
Snowshoeing is growing in popularity, and why wouldn’t it be? You can basically go anywhere there’s snow, and it is an inexpensive winter activity – all you need is a pair of snowshoes! And if you don’t have any, no worries, you can rent some at the Misery Mountain ski chalet.
Update March 1, 2022: Misery Mountain Ski Area is now closed for the season (so it's BYO snowshoes or rent elsewhere) but you can still hike the trail to the Misery Mountain lookout via this route. Other popular spots include Whispering Pines Ski Hill (read more about that here), the Dixonville Community Forest Trail and alongside the river at Strong Creek Park. For more information, visit Mighty Peace Tourism's snowshoeing info page.
But before you go, be sure to stop for some fuel at J’s Java Domain in downtown Peace River. This comfy and fondly treasured café seriously makes the best London Fog latte ever, and their fresh cinnamon buns are nothing short of heavenly. The avocado toast breakfast plate is really yummy too.
Whether you are looking for a chill snowshoe experience or a work-out along the way, the super friendly staff at Misery Mountain will hook you up. After getting your snowshoe rentals, you can catch a ride up on the lift or head out on “Tom’s Trail,” a popular snowshoe loop named after a former Misery Mountain board member, snowshoeing enthusiast, and former ski instructor. Tom’s Trail takes you on a journey of a constantly changing and awe-inspiring landscape of hills and valleys that will have you feeling like you are looking through the eyes of a child.
“There’s so much beauty on the trail, you feel like you’re in another world,” says Tom Cairns. “It is an intermediate trail with some hills and valleys that can be challenging, but it is good for everyone. You can go as fast or slow, or as high up the mountain, you want to explore.”
That’s the beauty of snowshoeing; you can make the experience however you want. Pack some snacks and have a picnic in the forest or stop at one of many gorgeous lookout points (there are a few).
“It can’t get any better than this” is what we thought to ourselves as the vast open view of the Peace River valley opened in front of our eyes. Then we sat on this perfectly placed bench, poured hot chocolate, and indulged in fresh baking from Northern Dough and Archer’s Cookie Co (local entrepreneurs and baking geniuses). We were wrong - it just got better.
From animal prints in the snow, deer foraging for food, and curious birds flying close by - it’s all more evidence of why this pretty town is called Peace River. Of course, make sure your phone battery is charged for all the photos you will take, and although I’ve never had to use it, I always take my trusty bear spray for an added sense of peace.
After a day soaking in the winter magic of this gorgeous hill, you will be hungry. Expect to be wowed (pun intended) while enjoying your après snowshoe eats and drinks at Wow Grill.
Situated on the banks of the Mighty Peace in downtown Peace River, this fully licensed restaurant offers super delicious and authentic Vietnamese food. If you’re feeling extra hoppy (sorry, I couldn’t resist), order a tasty locally-crafted beer from Peace River Brewing – Wow Grill also carries several of their varieties.
Peace River really does live up to its’ name. But I can’t say the same for Misery Mountain. There’s zero misery felt here (ok, maybe on some of the inclines), but there is a whole lot of joy and healing in those hills that always keeps me coming back.