The Anahim Nimpo Lake Region
"I believe we need a Rodeo"
- Stan Dowling 1938
Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake are two small communities about
15 miles from each other. The community of Nimpo Lake actually
only consists of a general store with fuel, and a restaurant
that is now used as a church, with most community members
located on properties around the lake. Anahim Lake is a larger
community supporting three stores, two gas bars, and two restaurants.
Here you'll find an RCMP Detachment and medical clinic as
well as a First Nations Reserve.
The first people in the area were the Aborigines that were
scattered through the area living off the land. There was
extensive trade between them, the Coastal Indians and bands
farther inland. Natives here traded obsidian, furs and soapberries
(prized for making what was known as Indian Icecream) to Coastal
Indians in exchange for ooligans, their grease, dried salmon
The Hudson Bay Company located one of the first trade stores
in BC not far from Anahim Lake itself. As a small number of
white settlers moved in and took up ranching, so too did many
of the native families, taking cattle in exchange for erecting
log buildings and fences for the ranchers. The region had
a long history of native peoples and settlers working together
and many of the new families would not have survived without
the knowledge and help of the natives.
Some of the original families that came into the country upward
of a hundred years ago are still here today, their past exploits
In the early 1930's a man named Stan Dowling started a store
at a place called Cahoose Flats just east of Anahim Lake.
Then in 1938 he bought the old Hudson's Bay property and moved
the store to the center of the Anahim Lake frontier community.
There was little in the way of a road from Tatla Lake to Anahim
Lake and so anyone traveling usually used horses, or teams
and wagons. Stan was the first to bring a truck over the road
from Vancouver, then Williams Lake, to Anahim with the purpose
of hauling freight and literally built the last section of
road from Tatla Lake to Anahim Lake himself so that he could
get his truck through. His worst trip was in March of 1937
while hauling freight from Williams Lake to Anahim Lake through
howling wind and drifts. It took him nine days with the help
of several ranchers along the way and some that rode out from
Anahim Lake to help him.
Stan Dowling started the first post office in Anahim Lake
as well as the store, and with the help of local ranchers,
put on the first Stampede in June of 1938. Since there were
no chutes that first year, the wild horses were snubbed to
a cowboy's saddle horn and the contestants were handed the
halter rope. The bareback horses had to be thrown and then
the contestants got on as the horse got up.
By 1939, Dowling and other Stampede enthusiasts, put on another
stamped after going 'modern' and building corrals and bucking
chutes. They ran the horse races down the main street and
local talent provided music for the dances held in the evening.
Pan Phillips tricked his hands and some native families into
building a road over the mountains so that his bunch and that
from Batnuni could attend it. The Anahim Lake Stampede has
become more and more famous as the years have gone by and
is still held at the Stampede grounds in Anahim Lake, usually
on the weekend after the Williams Lake Stampede is held in
Both Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake cater to visitors that have
been coming to the region for years, mostly for its fantastic
fishing, but of late for all the other activities available
to the adventurer. Nimpo Lake is considered the "Floatplane
Capital of BC" and has long been the jumping off point
to remote lakes and rivers, glaciers, mountains and alpine
only accessible by plane.
Our wildlife is abundant, providing numerous photographic
opportunities, we've miles of wilderness to be hiked and explored,
and fishing as varied as you could possibly want for wild
Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, Char, Bulltrout, Steelhead and Salmon.
Here you could fish every day and never fish the same waterway
Several operators use Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake as a jumping
off point whether it's to a remote fishing lodge, outfitter
and pack trip provider into the Itcha Illgatchuz Range or
Rainbow Mountains, or overnight stay with an operator accessible
by flying in only.
There are parks, including Tweedsmuir Park, BC's largest,
nearby as well as the Charlotte Alplands and Itcha Illgatchuz
Park, offering a unique vacation experience in summer or winter.
Operators - Anahim/Nimpo Region