Traveling to the West Chilcotin by Air
"As our floats touched the water
there was only the smallest bump....and then came the spray"
Flying commercially from Vancouver to Anahim Lake is a breathtaking
journey. In only about an hour's flight you will enjoy one
of the youngest and highest mountain ranges in the world.
For hundreds of square miles there are towering crags peeking
through icy glaciers and fresh snow cover, high tarns and
emerald green lakes cupped among the rocks or in the valleys
at the foot of the glaciers.
There is only one commercial carrier that flies to Anahim
Lake and that is Pacific
Coastal Airlines out of Vancouver. Normally there are
three flights a week in the winter and a daily flight in summer
but scheduling has changed recently so check with the airline.
Pacific Coastal operates out of the South Terminal at the
Vancouver International Airport (YVR), so you will need to
take the shuttle over there in order to catch your flight.
Please take into account that it could take you at least a
half hour to get over there and you may have to take a taxi
if necessary to catch a connecting flight. Customer service
at Pacific Coastal is excellent and you can call that department
at 1-800-663-2872 or go to their website at Pacific
Coastal for their rates and schedules under Route
The Anahim Lake Airport designation is (YAA) and is a year-round
airport with a 3950' x 75' asphalt runway with fuel facilities.
Coordinates are: N52 27 08 W125 18 11 Elevation:
3635`. It's used extensively by locals that own planes
as well as visitors, and part time residents. So if you have
your own wheeled plane and would like to make your own way
to the West Chilcotin, this is the landing strip for you!
You can reach the airport manager at (250) 742-3246.
If you like to vacation with your floatplane, you will be
in some of the best bush plane country in the world! Nimpo
Lake is known as the "Floatplane Capital of British Columbia"
(52°20'00 N, 125°09'00 W) and floatplanes ply the waters all
summer long. It's also a favorite stopping place for vacationers
on their way north.
The West Chilcotin is dotted everywhere with lakes that can
be accessed by floatplane and many lodges, resorts, and outpost
cabins are only accessible by plane either by lake or dirt
strip. If unfamiliar with the country, check around with local
sources or at the Anahim Lake Airport for information regarding
fly in lakes.
Nimpo Lake also has a charter floatplane service operating
from May until September called Tweedsmuir
Air Services. There is another charter service from Burns
Lake that uses Nimpo Lake as a base in summer called Lake
District Air. You'll also find that White
Saddle Air Services out of Bluff Lake provides both helicopter
and fixed wing air charters to the Coast Mountain Range and
the West Chilcotin Plateau. Both provide a boundless opportunity
to access otherwise inaccessible country for photography,
hiking, fishing remote lakes, and extreme skiing.