| Hiking in the West Chilcotin
From the top, we could see forever...
The beauty of hiking is that you really don't need much more
than a good pair of hiking boots to start off with. If you're
taking a short walk down a well marked trail, then carrying
basic emergency equipment in your pockets such as matches
is the only prerequisite. From there you can move up to hikes
such as the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail that can take
up to 30 days to complete (if you're a well equipped, very
experienced hiker) and requires food drops. The West Chilcotin
offers hiking over a vast expanse of land from easy to hard
and although not always true, it can be assumed that where
trails are marked and established, you could probably also
go mountain biking.
You can be flown by helicopter onto the highest mountain
in BC, Mount Waddington, as well as Homathko, Niut and Pantheon
Ranges for mountaineering or backcountry hiking or take a
day hike up to Perkin's Peak.
Follow the trails in the Nemaiah Valley, Chilko Lake and
Tatlayoko Lake areas to discover glaciers, alpine meadows,
and untouched wilderness overlooking some of the most beautifully
colored lakes in the world. In Tsylos Provincial Park, experienced
hikers can go on loop that can take up to six days through
the Yohetta Valley, Spectrum Pass, and Tchaikazan Valley.
Join local pack trip outfitters that use horses to transport
camp and gear between base camps while you carry a day pack
and hike with a guide or geologist through alpine over unmarked
Hike the open alpine of the Itcha Ilgatchuz mountain ranges
or the flower carpeted alpine of the Charlotte Alplands.
Follow the extensive trail systems developed in Tweedsmuir
Provincial Park ranging from hour long day hikes to hikes
that take days. Range the volcanic Rainbow Range named for
its wildly colored rock and shale or follow the trail of grizzly
bears on the Turner Lake Chain/Hunlen Falls trail, leading
to the third highest free falling waterfall in Canada, if
not North America.
The Alexander Mackenzie Heritage (Grease) Trail, which (land
part of the trail) is 263 miles or 420 km long, originates
in the Blackwater near Quesnel, overland to Bella Coola, continues
for 40 miles or 65 km over water where it ends on the north
shore of the Dean Channel. It's thought that the 50 miles
through the Park is actually the most scenic part of the entire
route. The information on the hiking
part of the Park page is very valuable in that it emphasizes
the difficulty of this trail and that most of it is unmarked
and without services.
Parks suggests that National Topographic Series Maps 92N/13,
93C/4, 93/5, 93C/12 and 13, 93D/8E and W and 93D/9 and 16
at a scale of 1:50,000 cover the Tweedsmuir area. These maps
are available from Government Agents and most map retailers
in British Columbia.
Parks is an excellent source of information about the
parks and walking trails but Tweedsmuir
Park probably has the most extensive set of online maps
and brochures for hiking areas.
If you are going to be staying with a lodge, resort, or outfitter,
then your host will probably have informal maps of local hiking
trails, or can point out marked or unmarked trails or areas
that you can safely hike into.
For an excellent source of Canadian Topographical Maps -
British Colubmia, that you can see, choose, and order online
for less than twelve dollars apiece is at Map
Town. Doing your own search on the Internet should yield
other sources as well.
It is highly recommended that you have a map, gps, compass,
and adequate emergency gear any time you enter the Chilcotin
backcountry. There is no cell
phone service in the Chilcotin so please do
not depend on your phone to get you out of trouble.