Anahim Lake is the site of a long-established Chilcotin settlement that expanded in the 1940s and 1950s when the Carrier moved here from their remote villages. The community is the eastern gateway to the southern portion of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and its phenomenal wilderness recreation opportunities.
Anahim Lake is located 135 km (84 mi) east of Bella Coola and 320 km (199 mi) west of Williams Lake on Hwy 20, known as the "Freedom Highway". It has the Chilcotin's main airport, with scheduled connecting flights to Vancouver.
A local curiosity is a spectacular pillared cone of volcanic rock rich in obsidian, which was an important trading commodity for the Chiloctins, who once used it extensively in weapon making.
Tweedsmuir Park is one of the largest in British Columbia and home to the dramatic Rainbow Range of Mountains, where peaks of eroded lava and fragmented rock display a spectrum of vivid red, orange, lavender and yellow.
First Nations history permeates the Chilcotin region, and visitors can view the remains of large wooden "culla culla" houses at Ulkatcho on Gatcho Lake and at Natsadalia Point on Anahim Lake.
The West Chilcotin is probably best known for its premier fishing. Many of the lakes are cold, clean and pristine. Rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout and burbot are abundant throughout the area and Dean River is famed for its steelhead. Guided and self-guided trips area available in the area.
This is predominantly ranching country so horses are a very important part of the culture here. There are several outfitters in the area that will take you on a guided horseback trip of a lifetime! Day trail rides are also available.
There are extensive trail systems in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park with a comprehensive set of maps and brochures available. Local operators can also provide information on informal trails and walks.
This area is home to an abundance of wildlife including black bears, grizzlies, caribou, moose, mountain goats and deer. Wildlife tours are available including seeking the white Spirit Bear.
The Chilcotin is comprised of a high elevation plateau surrounded by mountains and dotted with lakes, streams and rivers. As it sits in the rainshadow of the Coast Mountain Range, it's considered arid. When conditions are right, usually in July, the high alpine is often radiant in a stunning carpet of wildflowers, many of which are rarely seen outside of their wild environment. For some stunning photography or just to see this extraordinary sight, ask a local business operator to take you on a guided tour.
In winter you can go pretty much anywhere with cross-country skis, snowshoes, or a snowmobile. Some of the best backcountry skiing in the world is available in this region with ultimate conditions March to June. Many of the smaller trails are kept groomed in the Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake areas. The Rainbow Mountains in Tweedsmuir Park offer some of the best known snowmobiling in the region with deep snow and marked trails. Heli skiing is also available and fast becoming one of BC's favourite winter sports.
The annual Anahim Lake Stampede is an old-fashioned western rodeo that has been staged here since 1938. Taking place over three days in July, riders from all over BC and Alberta attend this event which includes barrel racing, world-class broncs, gymkhana, parade, food and dances.
In May the Annual Canoe Races start at the mouth of the Dean River at Nimpo Lake and end at Anahim Lake. The route is hazardous and few of the racers make it the other end unscathed. Anyone can participate and there is a dinner/dance in Anahim Lake to celebrate the racers.
West Chilcotin Tourism Association
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia