|For canoe enthusiasts
desiring a challenge, Bowron Lake Provincial
Park certainly delivers. Its extended 72-mile (116-km) rectangular
canoe and kayak route through a chain of 6 major lakes, rivers, and
creeks linked by portages is legendary, drawing visitors from around
the globe. The Bowron Lakes Chain offers one of British Columbia's
most popular and interesting canoe routes, the Bowron
Lakes Canoe Route. Plan on taking seven to ten days to complete
the route, although it can be done in less time.
You must prepare well for the Bowron circuit, and paddlers should
have some wilderness canoeing experience, unless accompanied or led
by an experienced guide. That means three things: planning, physical
fitness, and proper equipment (including food). Canoeists must be
aware that as a wilderness area, no supplies are available once on
the circuit. You may have to share your campsites with other parties,
so it's a good idea to limit the number in your group. If your number
exceeds six, you must obtain prior permission from the District Manager
to make the trip; reservations (for any size of party) are required
in summer. We recommend canoeing here in September - there will be
fewer people, fewer insects, and more beautiful colours than at other
times. The canoe circuit is closed for the season from September 30
to May 15.
All groups are required to register at park headquarters and to pay
a circuit fee before commencing. Reservations are required for all
people wishing to canoe this circuit. Open from May to October, the
course is very busy, so group starting times are staggered to prevent
overcrowding of the course. I recommend canoeing here in September
- there will be fewer people, fewer insects, and more beautiful colours
than at other times.
This wilderness canoe trip takes from 6 to 10 days to complete, depending
on your time frame and skill level. Even if you're planning to do
a seven-day trip, it's a good idea to bring enough food for ten days.
You may become stormbound for a day or two. There can be high winds
on the lake in the afternoons, and the nights can be chilly. For those
looking for a shorter trip, the west side of the circuit can be paddled
in 2 to 4 days. There are several trappers’ cabins along the canoe
circuit, dating from the 1920s.
Guides to the Bowron Lakes canoe route include The Bowron Lakes;
British Columbia's Wilderness Canoe Circuit by Chris Harris and
Jenny Wright, The Indispensable Guide To Canoeing The Bowron Lakes
by Chris Harris, and Canoeing Bowron Lakes Provincial Park
by Richard Wright.
The park has tremendous diversity in topography and vegetation. The
rounded hilltops of the Quesnel Highlands on the west side of the
circuit have a unique character quite different from the imposing
Cariboo Mountains on the eastern and southern sections of the circuit.
The park is a place of many moods, from bright sunshine and placid
blue lakes to angry gray waters and torrential rains.
The entire park is a wildlife sanctuary, including prime habitat for
moose and grizzly bears, so be on your best backcountry camping behaviour,
and take extra caution because of bears. A wide variety of wildlife
lives in the park, including moose, deer, mountain goat caribou, black
bear, grizzly bear, waterfowl, beaver, and otter. Rainbow trout, lake
trout, bull trout, Rocky Mountain whitefish and Kokanee salmon inhabit
the waters of the park. The Bowron Lakes are also a major stopover
on the bird migration route, so bring your binoculars and telephoto
lens. In the winter, trumpeter swans depend on the open waters of
the Bowron Marsh and Cariboo River. Firearms and crossbows are prohibited
in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Pepper spray is permitted only if
it is clearly labelled by the manufacturer "for bear use only". Use
the bear caches near the wilderness campsites.
There are 25 vehicle/tent sites in a drive-in campground, and numerous
wilderness sites in the park. The campground is located near the Registration
Centre a short distance from Bowron Lake itself. Reservations for
the vehicle-access campground are not available. All drive-in campsites
are on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also a few short
walking trails nearby. To reduce the impact on the park's natural
resources, park rules and regulations are in effect, and are strictly
Call 1-800-435 5622 for reservations and general information. The
Registration Centre is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week,
from May 15 to September 30. The canoe circuit is closed for the season
after September 30. Supplies, including canoe rentals, are available
at several lodges and resorts nearby, and experienced, licenced guiding
companies are located in Wells.
Bowron Lake Provincial Park is located
due east of Quesnel, Wells
and Barkerville in the Cariboo
region of British Columbia. Drive the Cariboo
Highway 97 to Quesnel, and take Highway 26 east of Quesnel for
68 miles (110 km). At the end of Highway 26, continue along the gravel
access road for about 11 miles (18 km).
||Big Bar Guest Ranch, Clinton
||Our awe-inspiring scenery has distinguished Big Bar Guest Ranch by being rated as 1 of Canada’s Top 10 Most Scenic Rides, offering year-round horse riding and a variety of seasonal activities. Accommodations include guest rooms, self-contained log cabins overlooking the lake, teepees and campsites. Open year-round.
||Canadian Adventure Rentals, Vancouver
||Self-Drive Camping Vacations in British Columbia. Canadian Adventure Rentals will help you create the ultimate outdoor adventure. All packages include a luxury sports utility vehicle (unlimited mileage) fully equipped with camping gear for one to four persons. We also provide mountain bikes, kayaks and canoes, and will reserve campsites across BC for you.
||Ecosummer Expeditions, Clearwater
||Ecosummer Expeditions is a world-class leader in Adventure Travel Tours and BC's original sea kayaking outfit since 1976. We specialize in sea kayaking wilderness expeditions, outdoor hiking and backpacking trips, coastal cruises, canoeing, and first nations native culture. We offer guided adventure travel tours and expeditions to Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, Gulf Islands, the Interior BC, and the Great Bear Rainforest, including the Khutzeymateen Valley and Princess Royal Island. Wildlife viewing includes grey whales, orcas, grizzly bears, kermode spirit bears, marine mammals, and rainforest ecology.