The tiny settlement of Kleena Kleene, west of Tatla Lake, is the departure point for flights into remote fishing lakes and rivers.
Tatla Lake, near the western edge of the Chilcotin Plateau, is a helicopter tour access point for several wilderness destinations, including the Homathko Ice Field and Mt. Waddington, the Coast Mountains’ highest peak, at 4,016 metres.
North of Kleena Kleene is Nimpo Lake, Floatplane Capital of British Columbia. You should have the idea by now that this stretch of the Freedom Highway launches many adventures into the remote wilderness lakes and rivers, where great fishing and blissful solitude await the visitor.
Survey the area and enjoy the fabulous views from the lookout point on Perkins Peak (2,819 metres), southeast of Kleena Kleene, via Miner Lake.
Eighty Kilometres long and glacier-fed, Chilko Lake is the largest natural, high-elevation freshwater lake in North America, and plays host to the third-largest chinook/sockeye salmon run, from August through to October. The salmon eggs are a major food source for rainbow trout and dolly varden. There is true trophy fishing here, with rainbow trout as big as 22 pounds (10 kg) and dolly varden as large as 24 pounds (54 Kg). Whitefish also inhabit Chilko Lake. The lake is situated in the Ts’yl-os Provincial Park
In Ts’yl-os Provincial Park (pronounced sigh-loss), experienced hikers can undertake a four-to six-day loop trek through the Yohetta Valley, Spectrum Pass, and Tchaikazan Valley. The easiest approach is from the Tchaikazan trailhead. To reach the trailhead, turn south at Elkin Creek, about 100 kilometres southwest of Hanceville on Highway 20. An alternative approach is via Chilko Lake and the Rainbow Creek Trail, a difficult 3-hour hike. A boat service to the Rainbow Creek Trailhead is available from the Xeni Gwet’in community in Nemaiah Valley. Also in the Park, at the north end of Chilko Lake, the well-marked Tullin Mountain Trail (12 km return) starts at the Gwa Da Ts’ih campground. This excellent day hike has an elevation gain of 2,400 feet. Since Ts’yl-os is a wilderness park with limited services, all hikers should be experienced in the backcountry and well equipped for route finding, first aid, and survival conditions. The chance of encountering bears is much higher in Ts’yl-os Park than elsewhere in this region. Be bear aware. The wilderness park has two small campgrounds that tend to fill up quickly in the summer months. There are two developed campgrounds located in the northern half of the park; Nu Chugh Beniz Campground at Chilko Lake’s midpoint, and Gwa Da Ts’ij Campground at the north end of the park on Chilko Lake, reached via Tatla Lake.
Hiking: There are also hiking trails at Puntzi Lake, just over 7 km north of Highway 20, about 60 km west of Alexis Creek, and hikers can explore the badlands of the Chilcotin Plateau on trails in the vicinity of Farewell Canyon. Hikers can do the 2-hour hike to Klinaklini Falls, south of Kleena Kleene, off Highway 20.
Fishing: You can fish for trout and kokanee at Puntzi Lake, which features a fishing derby on the last weekend in June. The ice fishing is also good, particularly for whitefish in January. The Chilcotin River is a good spot for steelhead and sockeye salmon. South of Lees Corner (Hanceville) are numerous Chilcotin Lakes, some with rough Forest Service recreation sites. Contact the BC Forest Service in Alexis Creek or Williams Lake to see if a map is still available.
Fly-in Fishing: Take a fly-in fishing trip by floatplane or helicopter from Kleena Kleene to the remote One Eye Lake or the Klinaklini River.
Whitewater: Rafters and kayakers are drawn to the swift Chilcotin River, rated amongst the best – and most challenging – whitewater rivers in North America. The Chilko River, a tributary of the Chilcotin that flows out of Chilko Lake, is also known for its whitewater activities. Not only will the Class lV-V whitewater get your adrenaline glands fluttering, the landscape will too. The headwaters of the Chilcotin and Chilko lie in the Coast Mountains near the southeast corner of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The rivers become runable in the subalpine regions, then they descend to the Chilcotin Plateau’s sprawling grasslands and arid canyons. Some of the most spectacular scenery is found near the Chilcotin’s confluence with the Fraser River. This is an esteemed kayaking and rafting locale, but because of its isolation, the Chilcotin sees relatively few rafters and whitewater kayakers. Chilko’s Lava Canyon scores well with rafters. Even in the hearts of our cities, you’re never far from the wilderness. In British Columbia, the opportunities for recreation are everywhere.
Winter: Winter recreation includes cross-country skiing and guided snowmobiling.
Circle Tour: See the best of BC when you embark upon one of the many circle tours that take in Vancouver Island, the Discovery Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the interior winelands or the remote Northern British Columbia. The coastal tours involve exciting rail, road and ferry trips, which is half the fun of travelling in British Columbia. Scenic highways flank the coast, taking you through charming beachside communities, rolling farmlands and majestic mountain ranges. Start your journey here and now, by selecting from one of the Circle Tours, designed to assist you in planning your journey by road through beautiful British Columbia.