Rugged mountain tops peek through glaciers.
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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 Map.

The Anahim Lake Airport designation is (YAA) and is a year-round airport with a 3950' x 75' asphalt runway with fuel facilities. Airport 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" (5220'00 N, 12509'00 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.

Floatplane on a wilderness lake.
 
Hunlen Falls.
 
Orange plane taxis in with mountain behind it.
 
Herd of caribou run through snow.
 
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