Heading into the alpine in the warmer months throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast offers a fantastic opportunity for an experience few have completed. Encounter incredible views and observe flora and fauna not seen at lower elevations. Whether on foot, by bike or via four-legged friend, a journey into BC’s alpine trails is an ideal way to satisfy your inner adventurer and reach new heights.
Access locations where fewer feet have trekked without the requisite days of initial travel courtesy of a heli-hiking trip. Visit glaciers, incredible ice-blue lakes, and secret trails to find the perfect spot for a picnic, or stay a few days and really get to know the geography.
Try the 4 Mile Ridge Heli Hike with Tweedsmuir Park Lodge for a daylong adventure. Climb into a nimble A-Star helicopter to head up to 4-Mile Ridge, looking over the fjords of the Bella Coola Valley and the glacier-capped Coast Range Mountains. Your hike starts 1 mile above the valley floor, travelling along moderate trails to views that would be otherwise inaccessible. Along this 2-3 hour backcountry hike learn about the region from your guide and take photos. On your return, your helicopter will take a heli-sightseeing flight past Mt. Pootlass en route back to the heliport.
Whitecap Alpine’s Mixed Group Summer Hiking Trips are ideal for heli-hikers looking to get into the rugged wilderness while still enjoying creature comforts. The guided hiking adventure starts off with a short heli ride from the Mountain View staging area near Birkenhead Lake (after shuttling from Pemberton Airport) up to the lodge in the subalpine of McGillivray Pass. Select from lodge, cabin, or luxury yurt accommodations and return after your guided hike into the wilderness (with bagged lunch included) to amenities including sauna, fireplace, hot showers, wifi, and chef-prepared meals.
Multi-Day Backcountry Camping
If a few hours of heli-hiking doesn’t seem like enough time to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of the alpine, then a backcountry hiking and camping adventure might be just what you’re looking for. Local outfitters can take you on guided camping adventures, as rugged or as luxurious as you require.
BC Mountain Lodge in Hagensborg is an ideal start/end point to explore a multi-day trip into Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, and the knowledgeable staff there can help you find the ideal path into the mountains.
Echo Valley Ranch recommends the challenge of the Mount Bowman Hike. Typically a full-day adventure featuring a climb of approximately 2,700 feet to 7,460 feet, it could easily make for a more leisurely two-day backcountry hiking trip where you’ll get the chance to experience wooded valley bottoms filled with wildflowers, rolling alpine, folded limestone ridges and castellated peaks.
Adventurers searching for a real challenge should consider Chilcotin Holidays’ hut-based hiking trips of 5-7 days. These pack horse-assisted trips mean you only need to carry a small day pack while hiking historic pioneer and Indigenous trails with a knowledgeable guide while participating in conservation activities along the way. Alternatively, Tyax Adventures offers multi-day guided hiking tours in a range of lengths that explore the magic of the South Chilcotins in a hut-to-hut style, so you only need to bring the basics.
If you’re not sure you are ready for a backcountry hiking adventure, consider taking a bushcraft course through Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort. The half-day course teaches the fundamentals of wilderness survival including building shelters, starting fires (and how extinguish them correctly), finding food and water, and more to help increase comfort levels when you decide to head into the backcountry on your own.
Backcountry Mountain Biking
Get where you want to go, faster! Don’t forget the added element of adrenaline as you climb single-track trails to discover fantastic viewpoints and take a breather before you catch a flowy trail down to the valley bottom. A vast network of established mountain biking trails are available across the width and breadth of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, and experienced mountain bike guides are always available should you prefer a local expert to show you the way.
Chilcotin Holidays‘ all-inclusive, self-guided mountain biking circuit is a fun hut-to-hut mountain biking tour that will take you through the South Chilcotin Mountains, covering nearly 100 km (62 mi) in 5-7 days, ending each day at a cabin so you can travel light.
Located at the convergence of four geographic regions is a mecca for mountain bike tours, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa offers guided power-assist bikes or solo adventures riding through the forests, across the pastures, and along gentle mountain ridges.
Tyax Adventures experience the classic backcountry, high alpine and broad valley single-track mountain biking that the South Chilcotin region is renowned. End your day’s excursion with an overnight stay in historic and well-equipped backcountry camps.
Access your inner cowboy or explorer and adventure through the alpine with the help of your trusty steed. After a day of travel, set up your old-fashioned campfire and experience dinner and companionship the way settlers and gold rush explorers did way back when. Setup your bedroll under a canopy of stars and fall asleep listening to the rustle of your four-legged companions as they too settle down for the night.
Chilcotin Holidays offers eager equestrians two horsepack options. The first is a hut-based adventure exploring wildflower-strewn slopes and mountain tops to return to your base for a campfire and overnighting in a wall tent. The second option is to learn wildlife tracking along the way, including wildlife identification, behaviour, habitats and conservation projects to help you end your trip with a new perspective on the region and its inhabitants.
If you’re not ready to delve into the wild on a multi-day horsepacking trip into the alpine, many local operators offer half or full-day adventures, as well as horsemanship, cattle drives and the full guest ranching experience.
Responsible Alpine Adventures
Before any adventure into the wilderness, careful preparation must be made to ensure a safe and comfortable trip. Visit our page on responsible travel for more details And we encourage you to visit adventuresmart.ca for tips and tools to travel safely in BC’s backcountry.