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BC River Rafting, Chilko River Raft Tour, Fraser River Rafting, Big Creek River Raft, Fraser River Raft,
Lava Canyon Whitewater Tour, BC River Rafting Directory, Chilkotin River Rafting, Camping Raft Trips
11 Days BC’s Top Whitewater Destinations Rafting Tour
  RBC#06 Best of BC
Overview: A fabulous journey that involves lake side camping, fishing, gentle flat water floating, thrilling white water experiences, and a chartered flight over the coastal mountains from the city lights of Vancouver to the tranquility of Chilko Lake. Rafting through the heart of the Wild West your voyage takes you from high in the mountains of Chilko River to the open pine forests and grasslands of the Chilcotin River and finally to the famous desert-like terrain of the Fraser River. Over eleven days, this raft trip weaves through a sampling of varied landscapes and diverse environments. Shorts and sandals are the norm on this carefully crafted circuit through British Columbia’s sunny Caribou-Chilcotin Region.
Our chartered float plane starts us off on our adventure into the wilds of beautiful British Columbia. We soar over the icy peaks of the Coast Mountains, bank over one last pass of ochre hills and the turquoise expanse of Chilko Lake unfolds before us. Our campsite, and its breathtaking 360-degree vistas, is at the core of the Ts'yl-os Provincial Park and Wilderness Area. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy. Some go for a short nature hike to investigate the new environment's plant and bird life. Others opt to fish off the point, have a swim off the beach or just relax
This is a layover day spent enjoying Chilko Lake. Perhaps an early morning spent fishing for trout or simply enjoying the scenery with your cup of coffee how you will start your day. After breakfast hikers and walkers head for the mixed forests and meadows behind camp. The hikers among us typically break into several groups to accommodate different levels of fitness and ambition. Some hikers go only as far as the first spectacular views from the rambling meadows of the gentle lower slopes. The most ambitious make it a full day’s hike to the top nearly three thousand feet above the lake well into the alpine. The wildflowers, including columbine, brown-eyed Susan, moss campion and lupine are numerous. Clark's nutcrackers are seen among the whitebark pine and raptors soar over the slopes looking for unwary prey. Going all the way up is challenging but the view from the top is breathtaking. While your well-earned drink chills in the last lingering patches of snow, it's a good time to pull out binoculars and scan the ridges for deer, mountain goat and possibly even a grizzly foraging in the alpine. A special moment for several of our guests has been the lakeside sauna and quick plunge into the cold and moonlit lake.
Camp is packed up and we travel two hours north by boat, which takes us to Chilko Lake’s outlet. Here both the lake and mountains end abruptly and we move out onto the Chilcotin Plateau. The river is gentle but purls along swiftly to our next camp at the head of Lava Canyon. In the water we see fish flit across the mosaic of the river bottom as we glide by. The outlet of the lake and the Chilko River are prime salmon spawning and rearing habitat and also support a healthy trout population. The dense strip of willows and alders along the river contrast with the dry open lodge pole pine forests of the plateau back behind where a herd of wild horses still roams. We silently wind through bends and lush green islands surprising mule deer in their daytime haunts. Mergansers thrive here raising their young on the fish-rich Chilko. Canada geese hide their young in the grass and bald eagles keep an eye out for fish. Warblers dart out from the branches snatching insects from seemingly nowhere.
With an early rise, we prepare for our first day of white water. Prior to departure we go over in detail all river, paddling and safety procedures. After setting off down the river, we will practice these skills before reaching the famous Lava Canyon (Class 4) one of the biggest and longest rapids on this journey. Within Lava Canyon we will spend two hours running rapids such as the White Mile, Eagles Claw, May Tag, and Bidwell. If you are not interested in the ‘BIG’ whitewater experience, or if the guides feel that it would be safer to run the rafts through without guests, then there is the option to portage the trickier sections of Lava Canyon.
We start off with some excitement as we thread the “Gap”; a very narrow bedrock chute that was once the site of an Indian log “Siwash” bridge crossing. A few miles later the tiny Chilcotin River sneaks into the Chilko and the river now takes the name Chilcotin because of that river’s longer headwaters. Like on all travelling days, morning and afternoon are broken up by “pit-stops” and around noon we stop for lunch. This territory is home to lots of mule deer and black bear. With luck you might spot a moose that has wandered down from it's typical summer range. There are a few species that show their adaptability by also inhabiting the dry semi-deserts of the interior along the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers. Some of these versatile creatures include bald eagles, black and grizzly bear, cougar and deer. As we row downstream, the speed of the river enables us to cover a lot of territory in a short time. We will make camp in the heartland of the Chilcotin ranching community. While the fields appear to be simple grasslands – this area is the most bio-diverse region of British Columbia.
After breakfast, back on the river, we reach an old tradingpost named Hanceville. Hanceville is located next to the Chilcotin River, in the heart of the Chilcotin Plateau. In the early afternoon we challenge some safe and fun roller coaster rapids named "the Goosenecks" in Hanceville Canyon. We might spot a black bear and we will see bald headed eagles and ospreys. There is an opportunity to hike up into caves in the canyon wall that also provide beautiful vistas of the surrounding river canyon. In the afternoon we will camp at the confluence of the Chilcotin River and Big Creek. The camp is in the Big Creek Ecological Preserve. This gives us the opportunity to have a barbeque lunch. After lunch we can fish in the many pools in Big Creek, hike to a volcanic rocky outcrop, or relax with a book. The hike takes us up three river benches to a rocky outcrop with panoramic views of both the Chilcotin and Big Creek Canyons. After some appetizers, we will have another fantastic dinner and get some rest.
Having floated a few extra miles the couple of days before, we're able to layover at Big Creek for two nights. Big Creek is the favorite river camp of many of our guests. It is set in an open forest of young firs across from a high basalt cliff that echoes the sound of the rushing water. Big Creek itself is a small trout stream, its warmer waters forming a gentle succession of quiet pools and rounded boulders - just made for bathing. This is a sleep in day and while we put out coffee, fruit and cereal for the early risers, we serve brunch mid-morning. After brunch you can fish or go on a hike to the plateau rim for a couple of hours or just lounge around in camp. Cross the creek and investigate a failed pioneer homestead complete with wooden flume.
Immediately after shoving off, we enter the exciting standing waves of mile long Big Creek Rapid. The scenery changes again: hoodoos, fewer trees and more open sagebrush and cactus country. An hour’s float takes us through Deux Teton Rapids. Before lunch we pass the intricately dovetailed log buildings of an abandoned pioneer ranch above Farwell Canyon. Farwell was the site of a Chilcotin village and is the location site of an annual native fishery. Pictographs are still visible on the rocks. The old, faint rock-paintings are still preserved in the dry, desert like climate. There are images of salmon, bighorn sheep and deer - the rest take a little more creativity to identify. An hour or so below Farwell we pull into our last camp on the Chilcotin opposite the Junction Desert Bighorn Sheep Reserve. The river canyons are sheep country. We always see sheep - sometimes over 100 animals. This camp has good swimming, a big sandy beach and good walking and hiking opportunities. Here in the dry clear interior of BC, the nights are particularly resplendent. The splendid starry nights are often made more wonderful by the appearance of the northern lights. It's a great spot to wander away from the glow of the campfire and identify the constellations and see the full glory of the Milky Way. Nighthawks, bats and short-eared owls flit across the night sky.
Separating Sheep Camp from the Fraser River is Big John Canyon - the deepest canyon on the Chilcotin. It’s a fun roller coaster ride down into the canyon. We stop at a quiet pool above Railroad Rapid below which the river seems to disappear. Railroad was formed by a major rockslide back in 1974 and that year the roar heard from the pool seemed like that of a train! Often it's possible to see salmon bunched up in the surging eddies along the cliff walls resting before spurting up the next part of the rapids. Then it’s through the big clean waves of Freight Train and finally Caboose - the last rapid on the Chilcotin. The turquoise waters of the Chilcotin are quickly swallowed by the massive flow of the silty Fraser. Many people consider the Colorado or the Snake large volume rivers. The Fraser, in comparison, is another dimension in river running; it commonly runs 10 times the maximum flow of the Colorado. The land on the west side of the river is the Gang Ranch. The Gang is the largest ranch in area in North America, surpassing even the King Ranch in Texas. Here and there are the out cabins of cowboys and we'll stop at the remains of miners’ shacks, dating back to the 1858 gold rush. By late afternoon we’re at our camp among the willows on a broad bar near the stone pillar of Pulpit Rock. You can pull out our gold pans and give it a try yourself. While you shouldn’t expect to get rich (or pay for your trip!), you can gather a few specks of gold dust for a souvenir with a little patience.
Most of this day is spent at a number of stops. It's a full and interesting day even though we don't travel on the water for long. Before lunch, while it’s still not too hot, some do a hike up the canyon of a dry streambed to a bench overlooking the river below while the others rest by a clear shaded stream. Towering hundreds of feet high above the bench are wind and water sculpted “hoodoos” very similar to what you might see in Utah’s Bryce Canyon. Normally more bighorns and mule deer are spotted in this area. After a break for a walk, we have lunch in the shade of gnarled cottonwoods by the clear waters of Lone Cabin Creek. We continue downriver to run French Bar Canyon - the first of the Fraser's big rapids. Next it’s down through the boiling waters of Black and Chisolm Canyons. Petroglyphs lie carved into the shiny black boulders. Just before camp we stop at the old homesteads at Watson Bar and we take a dunk in the natural jacuzzi action of a small waterfall
We get up early on the last morning for a two hour run through Moran Canyon and the best of the Fraser’s rapids: Pipeline, Split Rock, Powerline, Surprise. It's an exciting finale to our river trip. We pass through a narrows where the river must be more than one hundred feet deep. Another mile or two later the valley widens a bit and there is a rough track snaking down to the river to an old placer gold mine. Here we rendezvous with a. At our take-out point, just above the dangerous Bridge River Rapids, you’ll have a chance to sink your teeth into lunch before our bus to take us the eight miles to Lillooet. You will have an hour or two to spend in the historic and scenic town of Lillooet. Lillooet was "Mile 0" of the Cariboo Gold Road and is still a bit of frontier town. You can check out the interesting little museum before all the guides and guests rendezvous for a cold pick-me-up at the local pub. We will be traveling back to Vancouver by charter bus. It is a very scenic trip as we travel along the Duffy Lake Road through Whistler and should arrive back in Vancouver by early evening.
Rates per Person in CAD$
 Departure Dates  Rates
Sunday $4280.00
Services Included
Flight from Vancouver – Chilko Lake
• Bus Transfer to Vancouver
• Professional Guide Service
• GST Tax
• PST Tax
• All Rafting Equipment
• All Meals
• Drybags
• Paddling Jacket & Equipment
• Safety Equipment
• Park user fees