you are into extreme snowmobiling, cross
country skiing, hiking or just
like winter, the West Chilcotin has something for everyone!
Our magnificent mountain ranges look best dressed up in white and offer the photography enthusiast endless opportunity to get great landscape and wildlife photos. Most of our lakes freeze up in winter and offer great ice fishing for Rainbow Trout.
Some of the resorts and lodges close for the winter, but some remain open if their accommodation is winterized. The Rainbow Mountains in Tweedsmuir Park offer fabulous snowmobiling in deep powder, and there is deep powder heli-skiing available in the Bella Coola area. Most of our lakes freeze up in winter and offer great ice fishing for Rainbow Trout.
Some of the resorts and lodges close for the winter, but some remain open if their accommodation is winterized. The Rainbow Mountains in Tweedsmuir Park offer fabulous snowmobiling in deep powder, and there is deep powder heli-skiing available in the Bella Coola area.
Locally, in the Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake areas, there is a large network of trails on the plateau and into the surrounding mountains. Much of this remote country is inaccessible except by horse or floatplane in summer. In winter, however, you can go pretty much anywhere with crosscountry skis, snowshoes, or a snowmachine!
Many of our caribou herds move down from the mountain alpine to the meadows on the flats, providing opportunity for photos. Moose, wolf, coyote, lynx and fox are also more commonly seen. For those of you that own or operate a plane on skiis, many of the frozen lakes provide a great landing strip for a day of ice-fishing.
Local outfitters will take you on fall hunts or for a winter lynx hunt.
The Rainbow Mountains in Tweedsmuir
Park offer groomed trails for both cross-country
skiers and snowmobilers. Conditions in the Rainbows
are often excellent for snowboarding as
well. There is a large parking lot for off loading your
snowmobiles and a cabin along the trail for warming
up part way into the mountains.
The Little Rainbows are less known and used, without groomed trails but are well known for their deep powder and good conditions for the extreme sledder. Nearer to home you'll find the surrounding foothills and mountains offer miles of rolling alpine and lots of snow bowls to play in. Put up your highmark or just relax and ride the country. There are lots of places in this area to just take an easy trail ride for the day with your snowmobile.
Most winters, there is an ice road built the length of Nimpo Lake and it's perfect for cross country skate skiiers. Under some conditions the ice road can be used to skate on or as a very large hockey rink. Many locals bike the ice road on the lake all winter long.
The lake is also a favorite place to land planes on skis and you will often see a couple of planes parked on Nimpo Lake mid winter while the pilots walk up to the restaurant for lunch.
More advanced skiers venture into the Coastal Mountains to investigate the glaciers, most particularly the huge Monarch glacier. However, this is an extreme sport in the mountains and should only be attempted by the very experienced outdoorsman or with a guide.
The Chilcotin/Bella Coola Coast Mountain heli-skiing is considered some of the best in the world!The Alexander Mackenzie Grease Trail is many hundreds of miles long and very isolated. It is another area that is used by advanced skiers. But since there is no one living along the trail in winter and no amenities, it is imperative that you only go as far as your supplies will take you and that you have someone at a base camp in Anahim or Nimpo Lake that you are in radio contact with.
For those of you that enjoy photography, late fall and winter are the best season in this area for taking remarkable pictures. The skies are a deep, vivid blue, the mountains stand out even larger with their mantle of pristine snow and the evergreens stand like sentinals throughout.
No matter what your preference for a winter vacation, whether trekking on snow shoes into the isolation of the mountains, or lounging in a jacuzzi suite next to a cozy fireplace, you'll find that it's all here!
Just keep in mind that you will be facing winter driving conditions if you are arriving to the area by vehicle and if flying, the number of scheduled flights into Anahim Lake are reduced in winter. Flights into Bella Coola are often delayed or cancelled due to weather, and of course, there is no ferry out of Port Hardy to Bella Coola in winter.