Bounded by rugged peaks of the Coastal Mountains to the west, and the dry Interior Plateau to the east, Ts’yl-os Provincial Park provides visitors with a great diversity in both land and wildlife. Ts’yl-os (pronounced sigh-loss), was originally established as an area to protect endangered wildlife and to promote wilderness recreation activities.
Within the park, Chilko Lake consumes most of the area, as it is the largest, natural, high-elevation, freshwater lake in Canada. Due to the size of this lake, only experienced boaters and kayakers should attempt Chilko Lake, due to the unpredictable winds and other challenges such as high waves, icy waters, and a shortage of safe landing areas.
Chilko Lake is home to rainbow trout, bull trout and sockeye salmon. Various other streams and rivers feed the Chilko River and Taseko River systems, and support whitefish. In the fall season, spawning salmon can be observed struggling up the Chilko River at the north end of Chilko Lake to navigate to their spawning grounds.
Visitors are able to choose from two small campgrounds that tend to fill quickly in the summer months; Gwa Da Ts’ih and Nu Chugh Beniz. Facilities provided include pit toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, firewood, and water. Nu Chugh Beniz Campground is situated at Chilko Lake’s midpoint and is reached via Hanceville, 42 km west of Riske Creek on Hwy 20. The approach is recommended for high-clearance vehicles only. Gwa Da Ts’ih Campground is at the north end of the park on Chilko Lake, reached via Tatla Lake on a good gravel road.
Fees are collected from May to September 30. Please note that no fees are collected and no services are provided after September 30th. Campers can still access the campgrounds with self-contained units on a user-maintained basis.
In Ts’yl-os Provincial Park, 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 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Hanceville on Hwy 20. An alternative approach is via Chilko Lake and the Rainbow Creek Trail, which connects with the Yohetta-Spectrum-Tchaikazan Trail, a difficult 3-hour, 4-mile (6.5-km) hike.
Also in the park at the north end of Chilko Lake, the well-marked Tullin Mountain Trail (easy; 7.5 miles/12 km return) starts at the Gwa Da Ts’ih campground. This excellent day hike has an elevation gain of 2,400 feet (730 metres). Note that since Ts’yl-os is a wilderness park in an isolated part of the Chilcotin, with limited services, all hikers should be experienced in the backcountry, and well equipped for route finding, first aid, and survival situations. Hiking routes in the park are not maintained.
The chance of encountering grizzly bears is much higher in Ts’yl-os Park than elsewhere in this region. Be bear aware. Because of the diverse landscapes of the park, visitors are also able to see a variety of wildlife, including black bear, moose, mountain goat, cougar and bald eagles.
Ts’yl-os Provincial Park is located 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Williams Lake off the Bella Coola Highway 20. Please note that travel time varies considerably, depending on weather conditions. Routes follow rough, washboard gravel roads; high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.
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