British Columbia’s Remote Chilcotin Coast

Deep in the British Columbia’s Coast Mountains and Central Interior lies an area of vast pristine wilderness. It’s a land of grandiose landscapes and untamed wilds, stretching from the East Cariboo Mountains to the mighty fjords of the Pacific Coastal Range in Bella Coola. A land of unlimited opportunity and a paradise for outdoor adventures, it offers some of the best alpine hiking in British Columbia. It’s rugged and remote and it’s called the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. And we sure love it!

As Kiwi trampers and backcountry travellers, we have a thirst for hiking off-trail and visiting hard–to-access wilderness areas. We reckon that’s where inspiration and a real sense of adventure exist. There’s something about wilderness hiking that feeds our soul and nourishes our thirst for experiencing the untouched, the pure and the energy of remote places.

Caution comes to mind when venturing into such isolated and wild areas of the Canadian backcountry. It’s bear country – and you’ll also find cougars, wolves and many other furry critters that make the experience of trekking out here all the more wild, raw and primal. Safety from animals is something we used to take for granted as we roamed through New Zealand’s Southern Alps!

We like to get as far away possible from the touristy routes of the lower Vancouver area – and especially the infamous Whistler area. Many people visiting Canada seldom venture north of the touristy areas, leaving loads of glorious room for us to experience the wilds all to ourselves.

We reckon it’s pretty sweet!

 

Canoeing through British Columbia

We base our small-group wilderness travel adventures in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region and specialise in this vast expansive untouched slice of Canadian wilderness. There are so many reasons to love this place.

Our dreams of hiking in the true Canadian wilds were realised when we discovered the untapped reaches of the remote Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. The place drew our souls and inspired awe and wonderment beyond anything we’d ever experienced anywhere else in Western Canada. It impressed us with its untouched purity and all the other qualities we had dreamed of as backcountry travelers.

With the Kiwi sense of adventure running through our veins, we spent many years exploring this remote part of BC’s Coast Mountains. There were a multitude of scrambles and bush-bashing backpacking missions. With a thirst to experience as much as we could, we finally discovered the pristine hiking terrain of the Charlotte Alplands.

Now we’ll never complain about bashing through New Zealand alpine scrub! Well I’m sure we will, but everything in BC is that much bigger and more fierce! Not to mention the chances of running into one of those big brown furry things when turning a corner.

The Charlotte Alplands lies just east of the Great Bear Rainforest – an alpine paradise for overland travel and wilderness hiking. This area is in BC’s sub-alpine and alpine zone that’s above 1,500 metres. There you’ll find fairytale-like alpine meadows, glorious boulder fields and endless ridgelines of unnamed peaks, all offering spectacular and uninterrupted views over BC’s highest mountain range: the Waddington Range and the Pacific Coast Mountain Wilderness.

Surrounding this wilderness area is an impressive natural diversity: everything from rushing and untamed river valleys to soaring ice plateaus (among the largest outside the polar regions), from incredible glaciated fjords to the Great Bear Rainforest, teeming with rich native culture and an abundance of wildlife – including a rare species of a white black bear known as the “Kermode” or “spirit bear”.

 

Charlotte Alplands

Spirit Bear

The area eventually drew us in and set our dreams in motion, to offer unique wilderness travel experiences throughout the area. We want to equip the keen hiker to take their trekking adventures to a new level of experience, often hiking alongside the footprints of wild Cariboo – and if we’re really lucky, the odd Wolverine track. It’s about true wilderness experiences and connecting with the pure rugged wilds that we are far removed from day-to-day living.

We reckon that the most incredible places are often the hardest to get to – and that’s certainly true of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. This alpine paradise sits high in the mountains and access into these parts is limited to the very peak of summer and late fall.

Each season has it’s own charm. Between the heavy snow falls and harsh winters, the alpine lakes don’t let go of their frosty layers until late June and early July.

Summer arrives in July and reveals an outstanding array of vibrant and colourful wildflowers that delight the soul. Summer also brings a mass of mosquitos and little devils named Horseflies. Ahhhhhh New Zealand… I’ll take a sandfly any day! It’s doable up there, where the flowers are, but only for those hard-core flower lovers who are used to dealing with mozzies.

August arrives and its finally time to explore the Chilcotin Wilderness in her prime. Through til September, you’ll find the Coast Mountains to be most delightful. That’s when bugs have died off and wildlife is on the move. Most of the big grizzlies head down to lower elevations for the Salmon-feeding frenzy, which is slightly easier on the nerves. The long summer daylight hours, dryer alpine environments and settled weather makes it ideal for tramping.

Paddling

 

Our years of missioning in this coastal mountain wilderness area have lead us through some awesome and hard-to-access country. It’s instilled in us a deep connection and respect for this area of vast Canadian wilderness – and for all pristine wilderness areas we are lucky to experience.

Although there are flying horses (Horseflies) and big brown Grizzly Bears, there’s something magic about exploring vast wilderness areas that people will seldom ever visit or comprehend. We reckon it’s highly addictive.