You’re invited to British Columbia’s living ‘wild west’! The outdoor adventures are endless, from aerial sightseeing over the Homathko Ice field, to heli-skiing the deep powder of the Chilcotin Mountains, to multiday loop treks through the rugged beauty of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Thrill seekers charge down the fast-moving Chilcotin River, rated among the most challenging of white-water rivers in North America, or shoot the White Mile on the Chilko, one of the world’s most exciting rafting adventures.
The Chilcotin’s vast landscape is located between the Coast Mountains and the Fraser River. It’s a world of few roads, little industry and pockets of people, the majority being First Nation. It has an impressive diversity of wildlife, including Canada’s largest population of bighorn sheep, rare white pelicans, trumpeter swans, bears, lynx, wolves, mountain caribou and hundreds of wild horses, set in the last intact Grasslands in the world.
Most communities of the Chilcotin are strung along the Freedom Highway (Hwy 20) like jewels on a necklace, each with its own story and general store. These hospitable and historic stores continue to play an important role as community centres and meeting hubs, as well as general shops. A good example is the A.C. Christensen General Store in Anahim Lake, which claims, ‘If we don’t have it, you don’t need it!’ The South Chilcotin Provincial Park and Bridge River Valley are accessible from the south and offer an array of getaways; from learning to pack your own horse, to amazing arts and epic sledding.
There is tremendous geographical diversity here, from hot, dry grasslands to ice-covered heights where glaciers descend to azure-blue lakes. Three major river systems, the Homathko, Klinaklini and Dean, run westward through the Coast Mountains, while the southeast is drained by the great Chilko, Chilcotin and Fraser river systems. The grassland canyons found on the Chilko and Fraser are desert landscapes similar to those seen in the south-western United States.
Anglers head for the lakes of the west Chilcotin, where float planes can be chartered for fly-in adventures to remote locations that many only dream about. Superior fly fishing is found on the Blackwater River in the region’s north and on the Upper Dean River near Anahim Lake.