Redstone is a small settlement and First Nations community of the Tsilhqot’in people, located near Chilanko Forks at the confluence of the Chilanko and Chilcotin Rivers, in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia.
The Chilcotin region of BC is located between the Coast Mountains and the Central Interior of BC. Highway 20 links the Central Coast with the Central Interior as it crosses the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau, passing through diverse landscapes ranging from grassy plateaus and rolling meadows to picturesque canyons and high mountain peaks. Roads off the highway provide access to excellent views of the Coast Mountain Range, as well as important backcountry lakes.
Visitors can pay their respects at the Redstone Native Cemetery on the south side of Highway 20 near Redstone.
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.
Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park is located in the Chilcotin Uplands east of the Rainbow Range of South Tweedsmuir Park. The park is extremely remote; the closest communities are Anahim Lake, Alexis Creek, Nimpo Lake, Redstone, and Nazko. No vehicle accessible camping facilities at this park, however wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed. No facilities are provided.
The peaceful, forested Bull Canyon Provincial Park, on the Chilcotin River east of Redstone, has vehicle and tent campsites. It is a good place for fishing, and the aspen forest and wildflowers are beautiful.
The remote Nunsti Provincial Park is located on the Chilcotin Plateau, near the north end of Chilko Lake, south of the junction of the Taseko and Chilko Rivers. It is centred on Nunsti Creek and extends eastwards from the creek’s headwaters near Britanny Lake to the canyon of the Taseko River. Nunsti Provincial Park is located due south of Redstone.
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 rustic recreation sites. Contact the BC Forest Service in Alexis Creek or Williams Lake to see if a map is still available.
Paddling: Paddlers can enjoy a three- to four-day canoe route on the Nazko Lakes north of Redstone. Campsites are located at Loomis and Deerpelt Lakes in Nazko Lake Provincial Park. The total round-trip distance for the canoe route is about 50 kilometres. To reach the park, drive 45 km north of Alexis Creek on the Alexis Lakes Forest Service Road.
Chilcotin River: 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.
Hiking: There also hiking trails at Puntzi Lake, just over 7 km north of Highway 20, west of Redstone.
East of Redstone on Highway 20 is the small community of Alexis Creek, the service centre for the East Chilcotin region.
West of Redstone is Tatla Lake, a small community near the western edge of the Chilcotin Plateau serving as a helicopter tour access point for several wilderness destinations, including the Homathko Ice Field and Mt. Waddington.
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