Chilcotin Visitors Guide – Your Quick Adventure Planner

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Nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Central Interior of British Columbia lies the stunning region of Chilcotin. Known for its awe-inspiring landscapes and frontier spirit, the area attracts visitors from around the globe who seek adventure and the unspoiled beauty of nature. From golden plateaus, glaciers, and ranchlands to alpine rivers, lakes, and dense forests, Chilcotin offers a diverse range of breathtaking scenery for you to explore.

One of the main highlights that draw people to Chilcotin is the abundance of outdoor activities in its vast wilderness. Whether you’re an avid angler, a hiking enthusiast, or a wildlife photographer, the opportunities to make unforgettable memories are limitless. You can embark on horseback pack trips, witness wild horses roaming the grasslands, or explore spectacular sites like Mount Waddington – the highest peak in British Columbia – on a thrilling helicopter tour.

As a visitor’s guide to Chilcotin, consider this your invitation to venture into the heart of British Columbia’s wild west, where you will find yourself immersed in a land of unparalleled beauty and thrilling experiences. Discover the exciting activities and serene landscapes that await you in the enchanting region of Chilcotin, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Getting to Chilcotin

Chilcotin is a beautiful region in British Columbia, perfect for explorers and adventure seekers. To make sure you’re well-prepared for your trip, we’ve compiled different transportation options available for reaching Chilcotin.

Air Travel

For those who prefer to reach Chilcotin by air, the nearest airport is in Williams Lake. Various airlines offer regular flights to and from this airport, connecting it to major cities in Canada. After arriving in Williams Lake, car rentals or shuttle services can be used to travel the remaining distance to Chilcotin.

Road Access

If you wish to take the scenic route, you can opt for a road trip to Chilcotin. The main road connecting to the region is Highway 20. Stretching for 456 km (285 mi) from Williams Lake to Bella Coola, this highway crosses the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau, including Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and Farwell Canyon 1. Remember to account for driving time and plan stops along the way to enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Rail and Ferry Options

Unfortunately, there are no direct rail or ferry services to Chilcotin. However, the region is well-connected by road, as mentioned earlier, with Highway 20 offering the primary access route. Make sure to plan your transportation options accordingly by using car rentals or shuttle services upon arriving at nearby airports or cities.

Remember to enjoy the journey as you venture into the mesmerizing land of Chilcotin. Safe travels!

Outdoor Adventures

Hiking and Trail Exploration

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The region offers a variety of trail networks that cater to different fitness levels and desires for adventure. You can explore the pristine wilderness on foot, following paths through grasslands, along rivers, and up majestic mountains. Places like Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake, and the Rainbow Range offer stunning backdrops for hikers and nature photographers alike.

While hiking, be sure to keep an eye open for unique fauna, like moose or the many bird species that call this area home.

Fishing and Wildlife Viewing

Experience the thrill of casting a line into the sparkling waters of the many rivers and lakes throughout the region. Renowned for its abundance of fish, here you can catch your fill of trout, salmon, or other species. Don’t forget the exciting opportunity to witness grizzly bears as they feast on spawning salmon at the Chilcotin River estuary.

Horseback Riding and Ranch Experiences

Embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl by visiting one of the many guest ranches in the Cariboo Chilcotin area. These unique accommodations provide a taste of the Wild West, allowing you to escape modernity and dive into the rustic, authentic ranching lifestyle.

Horseback riding is a must, whether you’re exploring the region’s enchanting backcountry or the iconic Cariboo Gold Rush Trail. Saddle up and witness the beauty of nature in the most traditional mode of transport.

Wilderness Camping and Accommodations

For a truly immersive experience, spend the night under the stars at one of the quaint campgrounds or backcountry campsites located throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Enjoy evenings filled with cozy campfires, storytelling, and stargazing in the midst of untouched nature.

If roughing it isn’t your style, there are several wilderness lodges and resorts that offer luxurious accommodations complemented by outdoor adventures like helicopter skiing and guided nature tours.

Experience the unmatched beauty and thrilling experiences the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has to offer, and embrace the allure of a land without limits.

Unique Chilcotin Sights

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is a vast, untouched wilderness in British Columbia, offering breathtaking views of mountains and access to incredible wildlife. The park’s extensive trail system enables visitors to hike through diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforest to alpine meadows. The wildlife in the park includes lynx, caribou, moose, and wolves, with opportunities to spot them in their natural habitat.

Bella Coola Valley

Nestled within the Coast Mountains, the Bella Coola Valley is a hidden gem in the Chilcotin region. The valley is known for its rich First Nations history and the stunning Highway 20, which links Chilcotin to the Pacific Ocean. With the Coast Mountain Range as a backdrop, visitors will find awe-inspiring views and opportunities for outdoor adventures like hiking and canoeing.

Farwell Canyon

Farwell Canyon is home to British Columbia’s largest sand dune, making for an otherworldly experience as you explore the Chilcotin landscape. A perfect side trip off of Highway 20, this area offers unique geological features and the chance to take in a piece of Chilcotin’s central interior. The canyon inspires a sense of adventure within anyone who chooses to visit its stunning sights.

Gold Bridge

Gold Bridge offers a glimpse into the Chilcotin region’s past, as it traces its origins back to the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail. This historic site transports visitors back in time while also providing opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking or exploring old gold mining sites in the area. The surrounding landscape is filled with picturesque mountains, making Gold Bridge an ideal stop for travelers seeking both history and natural beauty in the Chilcotin region.

Accommodation Options

When planning a trip to the beautiful Chilcotin region of British Columbia, it’s essential to consider your accommodation needs. From luxurious five-star hotels to rustic campgrounds, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide!

Five-Star Hotels and B&Bs

For those who prefer a more luxurious stay, Chilcotin offers a selection of five-star hotels and B&Bs that cater to your every need. These accommodations provide top-notch amenities, comfortable rooms, and authentic local experiences, ensuring that your stay in the region is both memorable and enjoyable.

If you’re looking for personalized service, a cozy atmosphere, and a taste of local culture, B&Bs can be a great option. Some of the top-rated B&Bs in the region can be found on websites like HelloBC and

Rustic Campgrounds and Wilderness Lodges

For outdoor enthusiasts who love to immerse themselves in nature, Chilcotin offers an array of rustic campgrounds and wilderness lodges. These accommodations are perfect for those who want to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort.

Popular areas to camp or find wilderness lodges include Anahim Lake and other lakes in the region. You can explore various options by visiting websites like Chilcotin Holidays for ranch-based and mountain-based accommodations.

While in Chilcotin, don’t forget to take advantage of the diverse outdoor activities available, such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. The weather can vary, so make sure to pack accordingly and check weather forecasts before your trip.

Remember to respect the environment and local regulations while exploring the great outdoors, and be mindful of any potential limits in place during wildfire season.

Enjoy your time in Chilcotin, British Columbia, and make sure to find the perfect accommodation for your needs!

Chilcotin Wildlife

The Chilcotin region in British Columbia, Canada, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and visitors seeking adventure in the “Wild West” of the province. Vast ranchlands, stunning mountains, and rich wildlife are just a few of the attractions that make the region unique. This section focuses on the diverse wildlife found in the Chilcotin, from large mammals like grizzlies and caribou to the smaller creatures that share the wilderness.

Grizzlies, Caribou, and Bighorn Sheep

The majestic forests and rugged terrain of the Chilcotin are home to several large mammal species. Grizzlies roam the wilderness, and visitors may be lucky enough to spot one in its natural habitat. Caribou can be found grazing in the lush pastures of this region, while the largest herd of non-migratory California bighorn sheep in the world resides in the Chilcotin Grasslands around Junction Sheep Range Park. With luck and keen observation, visitors may catch a glimpse of these wild inhabitants.

Wild Horses

The Chilcotin is also home to the unique and enchanting wild horses that roam the vast grasslands and mountains. These horses are believed to have descended from escaped ranch stock and, over time, have adapted to the harsh conditions of the region. Their resilient, free-spirited nature has captured the hearts of many who visit the area.


Deer are a common sight in the Chilcotin wilderness. Alexander Mackenzie, the first European explorer to traverse the region, noted the abundance of deer in his journals during the late 18th century. Today, deer continue to be a cherished resource for hunters and photographers alike, as they roam the forested lands and grassy meadows.


For adrenaline-seeking visitors, the whitewater rapids of the Chilcotin River offer excitement in the midst of breathtaking scenery. Some outfitters in the region offer rafting and kayaking experiences that bring visitors closer to the abundant wildlife inhabiting the riverbanks. These thrilling outdoor adventures provide a unique way to encounter the diverse and fascinating ecosystem that the Chilcotin has to offer.

Planning Your Chilcotin Trip

Weather and Season Considerations

The Chilcotin region in British Columbia has a variety of landscapes, which can affect your trip planning. In general, the best time for outdoor activities like hiking and canoeing is during the warmer months, from late spring to early fall. The region offers activities like snowmobiling and cross-country skiing during the winter months, but always check weather forecasts and local conditions before planning your adventure.

Required Skills and Equipment

To fully enjoy the beauty and outdoor activities in the Chilcotin region, you need to come prepared with appropriate skills and equipment. For example, if you’re planning to go camping, make sure you are familiar with local fire regulations and have some basic wilderness survival skills such as:

  • Building a fire
  • Reading maps and using a compass
  • Proper food storage techniques

Some necessary items to bring along on your Chilcotin trip include:

  • Sun protection (sunscreen, lip protection, sunglasses)
  • Emergency shelter or blanket
  • First aid kit
  • Navigation and communication devices (paper maps, compass, GPS, cellphone)

It’s essential to note that cellphone service in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region is limited, so considering bringing an alternative communication device like an inReach.

Helpful Resources and Trip Ideas

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast offers a wide range of resources and trip ideas to inspire and plan your journey. Download a regional guide available in several languages to get detailed information about the area. For a stress-free planning experience, consider hiring an outfitter to guide you through popular activities like fishing, hiking, horseback riding, or even a helicopter tour to visit stunning wilderness destinations like Mount Waddington.

Some suggested trip ideas include:

  • Exploring Highway 20 from Bella Coola to Williams Lake
  • Taking a scenic drive through the diverse landscapes of the Chilcotin Plateau
  • Visiting the numerous rivers and lakes in the region for canoeing and fishing opportunities

Always research your destinations and activities in advance, and remember to respect the environment and adhere to local rules and regulations when exploring the Chilcotin region.