Located in a peaceful setting south of Williams Lake in the Cariboo lies Churn Creek Protected Area, formerly Churn Creek Provincial Park. Here one is able to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty in one of the few remaining natural grassland habitats in British Columbia. An endless choice of activities takes you away from the rush of modern living.
It is one of five large protected areas across BC that has been established primarily for the conservation of grassland ecosystems. The Protected Area also reflects the historic importance of the Churn Creek area to First Nations, ranching, hunting, mining, and recreation.
This area supports an operating ranch, where carefully managed cattle grazing continues. In 1998, the provincial government purchased the historic Empire Valley Ranch, located within the Protected Area, and added the land to the Churn Creek Protected Area.
The park is an ideal location for wilderness camping, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. In winter, there is a defined snowmobile access route through the park and there are opportunities to cross country ski or snowshoe, however there are no set trails in the park.
This protected area offers vehicle accessible campsites on a first-come, first-served basis – campsite reservations are not accepted. The park and camping areas are open year round. The best location for camping is the calving barn area on Empire Valley Road. Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. Because Churn Creek is an undeveloped wilderness area with few facilities, visitors should be self-sufficient and properly equipped. The closest store is in Dog Creek, which is approximately a 45 minute drive away.
The remote Churn Creek Protected Area is located on the western bank of the Fraser River, south of Gang Ranch, 38 miles (60 km) south of Williams Lake and 47 miles (75 km) west of 100 Mile House in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.
From Williams Lake, it is approximately a 2-hour drive. Churn Creek is a remote area with difficult access, involving several hours driving on rough clay and gravel roads, which become dangerously slick when wet.
The easiest route from the Williams Lake area is to drive approximately 3 kms up Highway 20 and turn left onto Dog Creek Road. Continue until you reach Dog Creek Valley, then follow signs for Gang Ranch, which will take you across the Fraser River Bridge. At the next intersection, take the left turn onto Empire Valley Road.
From the south, drive north on Highway 97 from Clinton. Follow signs to Big Bar Lake Park. Turn right at the next T-intersection after the park. This leads you through Canoe Creek village and on to the Fraser River Bridge. At the next intersection, take the left turn onto Empire Valley Road.
Nearby Regions & Towns