"The Chilcotin, unspoiled wilderness that endures.." Chilko Lake by Darby2

Chilko Lake Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 97 photos

Land of Grass beyond the Mountains

The pristine water of this gorgeous alpine lake as it appears from the bluff overlooking the campsite. The mountains in the background rise to about 8,500 feet. Beyond them, is Mount Waddington, at 13,186 feet, (4019 meters) the highest mountain in British Columbia's Coast Range.
The lake is about 85 km long, up to 5 km wide and has a maximum depth of more than 1200 feet, making it one of the deepest lakes in the province. Only Quesnel lake is deeper, 610 meters or about 2000 feet.

Despite it's relative proximity (200 km) to Vancouver it doesn't get many visitors. It's more an accessibility problem than a distance problem. To reach the lake by road from Vancouver requires a drive of at least 9 hours. Take the Trans Canada Highway to Cache Creek, then follow the Cariboo Highway 97 to Williams Lake. From there, turn off on Highway 20 (the Freedom Road, or Bella Coola highway) as far as Lees Corner ( Hanceville). From there, it's about a 90 minute drive. Alternate route is to continue as far as Tatla Lake turnoff, then proceed south for about 45 km on the Tatlyoko Lake road.

I'm planning a return visit here in June 2007.

Here is a link to a map of the area with information on other lakes and attractions.

Master aerial photographer Russ Heinl has captured the essence of the Chilcotin with his gallery of outstanding images taken from helicopter.

Aerial photographer Kat Kam and pilot Randall G. have just taken a marvellous series of aerial photos of theChilko Lake area in the fall of 2006. The assoctiated map shows their route through the mountains and valleys. You can recognize a few of the landmarks:

The Bear site with Duff Island

Franklin Arm

Chilko Lake Lodge and landing strip

Tsuniah Lake

This is a satellite view of the area around Duff Island ( you can zoom in and out)

Writer Rich Hobson immortalized the area with his books: Grass Beyond The Mountains, The Rancher Takes a Wife, and Nothing too Good for A Cowboy

Ancient Douglas fir

On the bluff overlooking the lake are many huge Douglas fir trees like this one near the campsite. Some of the biggest trees here are more than 500 years old. Persistent winds have made many of them grow in a slanted position and occasional storms have also felled a few of them.

Camp ground and beach,

The campsite at Chilko Lake can accomodate about 30 campers. The rocky beach is suitable for launching cartop boats or canoes.

The Disney movie "the Bear" was produced on this site. There are both black and grizzly bears in this area. Always keep your food in your vehicle.

View the area via Google Earth®


View the area via Flash Earth

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The most spectacular alpine lake in the world.
  • In a nutshell:A glorious place for an out of the way vacation
  • Last visit to Chilko Lake: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Mar 15, 2008
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Reviews (24)

Comments (33)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    Wow-you really captured the natural beauty of this area, and those salmon look like they would jump into your bucket from envy. Good job of presenting this pristine area.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2009 at 4:45 AM

    Hi, Dave, you've got wonderful pictures everywhere! Very attracting and charming places...

  • Suet's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2009 at 1:03 PM

    Looking at Chilcotin, you can never be anything to me but timeless, Darbydoodles

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    LOL!!! But where's the photo? Gillybob greetings

  • Jan 26, 2008 at 10:18 AM

    Chilko Lake is beautiful, but I strongly advise against the Lodge. The owner, Brian McCutcheon kept stringing my family along about a possible raft trip. When we arrived the raft trip was cancelled and Brian was very rude.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2007 at 4:58 AM

    one can only add to the comments of G - great page

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2007 at 7:34 PM

    It surely is a superb page!

  • brewjohnson's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2007 at 7:25 PM

    OMG!!! What an incredible page on Chilko lake. I am so happy I came across your pages!

  • dead_dog's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    I'd love to go fishing here! Maybe next spring.

  • benazer's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2007 at 5:19 PM

    waw ,some of the best pictures I have seen on VT.

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