South Chilcotin Mountains
from† CAD $2349
Our route through the Chilcotins Mountains has changed due to 3rd party provider changes and closures from the Downton Lake wildfire of 2023. The beauty of this area is in the meadows and high country, and we remain committed to fully appreciating the diversity of the region. The altered itinerary makes it a more difficult trip, but we have added two layover days in an alpine setting to enjoy the incredible scenery and to further explore surrounding peaks. The Southern Chilcotins have been dubbed "Wildflower Heaven" for good reason. Alpine meadows present a tapestry of colours representing a variety of flower families. If you are a bee, or was one in another life, or just enjoy the smell and look of a flower garden gone crazy, then the Chilcotins is the adventure for you. Indeed, the South Chilcotin Mountains are one of British Columbia's best kept secrets!
Trail Rating CE7abcdfg
Group Size Medium
Dates and PricesBook Now
- Day 1 Pick up and travel to Gold Bridge
Day 0: Arrival in Vancouver
This denotes the day(s) spent in Vancouver before the listed start date of the trip. We will meet at a North Vancouver hotel with backpacks and gear to go over trip details.
The fly-in service stoppage for 2023 has caused us to reformulate this tour. If the service is available, we may choose to fly into the park and hike out, but much of the new itinerary would remain intact.
Day 1- Drive and hike the first leg
Transportation from North Vancouver to South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, in our 15 passenger van. Pick-up is on the North Shore, in North Vancouver, early! We will leave North Vancouver for our five hour drive to our starting point, north of Pemberton. The drive, along Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains, is an extremely scenic one. We will stop at Pemberton to grab a snack, coffee and lunch food. Once we arrive at Gold Bridge, we will park and begin our first leg to our first camp in the sub-alpine meadows of the Eldorado Basin.
- Day 2 Eldorado Basin "between the passes"
Today, we will continue into the Eldorado Basin. This trail is up and down in a mix of forest, grassland and wildflowers growing alongside the small creeks. The Eldorado Basin is a large area of connected valleys, ringed by peaks about 2,200 to 3,000 metres elevation. This is habitat for grizzlies, marmots, and mountain goats.
- Day 3 Day trip to Windy Pass
Windy Pass connects Eldorado Basin to Gun Creek and the Spruce Lake area. Much of this day hike is in the meadows below the pass, but in the alpine as we head into the pass onto the saddle area below it to explore this alpine expanse. We return to our camp later in the day to have a good rest for the ridge walk the next day.
- Day 4 Eldorado Basin Ridge Walk Day Trip
On Day 4, we cross the creek in Eldorado Basin to veer left up into the alpine to the top of the tree line. We follow a ridge, part of the peaks circling the basin, making our way up to about 2300 m, then down a scree slope to the downward trail of the loop back to camp. The views from the ridge are spectacular, looking over the South Chilcotin mountains, south and west.
- Day 5 Over Camel Pass into North Cinnabar
Today we climb up and over Camel Pass and follow the western section of the Ridge-o-rama trail before heading into the head of Cinnabar Creek in Taylor Basin. Today is another spectacular ridge walk, but with backpacks. With this ridge walk, we get to see into both Eldorado Basin and Taylor Basin before starting the descent to our camp near Cinnabar Creek.
- Day 6 Cinnabar to Tyaughton Lodge
Today, our last full day in the area, we will continue our descent back to Tyaughton Lake, where we started. We follow the Cinnabar Trail through the basin before the steeper descent for the last 5 to 7 km to the Tyaughton Lake Road and to our camp at Tyax Lodge. We will have dinner and showers at the lodge, and prepare for our departure back to North Vancouver the next day.
- Day 7 To Vancouver
Our final morning is breaking camp and sorting our gear, going through memories of the strenuous, but extraordinary mountain hike in remote BC that we just experienced. We will then drive out, stopping again in Pemberton or Whistler for lunch, arriving in North Vancouver in the afternoon.
inclusions and exclusions at a glance
- Transportation from the point of origin and return
- Tyax Lodge/Adventures 3rd party amenities
- Snacks/beverages on the expedition
- All meals while on the backpacking portion**
- Meal preparation
- Camping fees
- Professional guides for entire journey
- Cooking gear/camp stoves/water filtration
- Double-occupancy shared Tents & tarps
- Emergency radio/satellite phone/major first aid supplies
- †We can provide sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, poles for rent
- Transportation to point of origin, transfers, personal equipment, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary.
- Gratuities are not included. Our guides make every effort to ensure your holiday is all you expected and more. Recognition of a job well done is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended.
- Single tents †(available for a single supplement charge)
Vancouver Many of the major North American carriers fly into Vancouver or alternately, Seattle. Check with your travel agent for options. There is a bus service, Quick Shuttle , from Seattle's airport to hotels in Vancouver. These run daily and are reasonably priced. For more information, in North America, phone 1/800/665-2122 or 1/604/940-4428 – Fax 1/604/940-4429. Check the link regarding shuttles and other airport information.
North Vancouver Pick up & Hotels
It is difficult to recommend accommodation as needs and price considerations vary. Tourism British Columbia can help you locate the accommodation that best suits your needs. In North America phone, 1-800-HELLO BC. Outside North America phone, 1-250-387-1642 or visit www.HELLOBC.com/
We do recommend that accommodation be selected in North Vancouver. We have suggested 3 inns which are easy to access from downtown Vancouver and are also an excellent pick-up point for your guides. We will only pick up from these three locations. If you stay at another accommodation, you will be responsible to get to one of these pick up locations.
1) Best Western Capilano Inn
www.bestwesterncapilano.com or 1-800-644-4227
2) Grouse Inn
www.grouseinn.com or 1-800-779-7888
3) North Vancouver Hotel
www.northvancouverhotel.com or 1-800-663-4055
This is a rugged hike for some portions. The best boots for this kind of backpacking are solid-able to take rough talus slopes, water proof, and with a full, stiff shank for ankle support. If you get new boots, it is important to break them in before your trip to ensure that they are comfortable and to minimize the risk of blisters. It is also a good idea to bring a pair of comfortable sandals or water shoes for wearing around camp and for crossing streams or other bodies of water.
For a multiday backpacking trip in varied terrain, you will want a backpack with a capacity of at least 65-85 liters, depending on the size of your gear and the type of trip you are taking.
Some key features to look for in a backpack for this type of trip include:
Comfort: Look for a backpack with a comfortable and well-padded hip belt and shoulder straps, as well as a good ventilation system to prevent your back from getting too hot and sweaty.
Durability: Choose a backpack made from strong and durable materials, such as ripstop nylon, to withstand the rigors of the trail.
Weather resistance: Consider a backpack with a waterproof or water-resistant cover or built-in rain cover to protect your gear from the elements.
Load-carrying ability: Look for a backpack with a sturdy frame and good load-carrying capacity to support the weight of your gear.
Organization: Choose a backpack with plenty of pockets, compartments, and attachment points to help you keep your gear organized and easily accessible.
Size: Make sure the backpack fits you well and is the right size for your body and your gear.
It is also a good idea to try on a few different backpacks and load them with weight to get a feel for how they carry before making your final decision.
Hiking poles can be a helpful tool for a rugged backpacking trip, as they can provide additional support and stability on rough or uneven terrain. They can also help to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles by distributing some of the load to your upper body.
However, whether or not to use hiking poles is ultimately a personal decision, and it may depend on factors such as your physical abilities, the terrain you will be hiking on, and your personal preference. Some people find that hiking poles help them to maintain balance and reduce fatigue, while others prefer to hike without them.
If you do decide to use hiking poles, it is important to choose a pair that is comfortable, lightweight, and adjustable to your height. It is also a good idea to practice using them before your trip to get a feel for how they work and to ensure that you are using them correctly.
You can expect to carry up to 40 lbs, depending on the gear you bring. (about 18.2 kg)
We pack and prepare the food, which we require to be carried in bear-proof barrels in the South Chilcotins because of the grizzly population there, usually about 9 to 11 lbs (4.1 to 5.0 kg). We also share out the group gear. We are also supplying the tents, which typically weight 4 to 6 lbs., depending on whether they are double or single tents (double occupancy is standard, singles require a supplemental charge). Double tents are split between guests, so usually contribute about 3 lbs. to pack weight.
Altogether, expect to be given about 14 to 16 lbs. (6.4 to 7.3 kg). If you want your pack weight to be 35 lbs. (15.9 kg) or less, then your backpack and gear that you bring, along with 2 Litres of water, can only weigh up to 19 to 20 lbs. (9 kg).
This is a very strenuous hike; it is a mountain backpacking trip, so elevation changes are the norm, and this trip has a lot of elevation gain and loss, including at least 3 days going above the tree line into alpine areas. It is a truly spectacular area, which is why we do it, but it requires training and preparation.
Tips, or gratuities, are not mandatory. However, please consider what service is actually being given to you. While you might think that the company should just pay the guides better, it is not so simple. We do work in a competitive market, and pay rates are a function of the trip prices. If we could double prices, we would pay guides significantly better. At Sea to Sky, we have some of the better pay rates in the industry, and we are always pushing our competitors to increase pay rates for guides, but there is only so much we can do. Guides are seasonal workers. They shift off of their summer season to winter activities, or fill in with retail work, which is usually little more than minimum wage, often to periods of no work between seasonal jobs. It is a hard job, and wearing on the body.
The guides carry most of the group gear, so they have heavier loads than you have, all for you, because they would not be carrying much of the extras on a personal trip. Your guides are teaching you, helping you through challenges, cooking for you and serving you your meals, providing a safety envelope for you, and if you have a really good guide, they are filling you up with a deeper experience of being in the place you are visiting by telling you about the flora, fauna and history of the place.
So, how much should you tip your guides?
If you ate every meal out in a day, at a good, but low-cost restaurant, you would probably tip between $10 and $15 per day. If you were travelling and visiting a city and ate all your meals out, this is about how much you would tip for the day, low end. I would submit that the guides are feeding you all three meals in a day, AND serving you in so many more ways. That makes $10-$15 a day a minimum consideration, really. 10% to 15% of a trip price has been another rule of thumb that has been used. If your trip price is $2000, then $200 to $300 split between the guides is reasonable, and falls within that standard. Like most humans, guides are motivated when they are recognized and valued.
Your circumstances matter. If you are a student and clearly struggled to put together the cost of the trip, or have other circumstances that limit your ability to tip, guides understand and honour your appreciation, no matter what the size. However, if you have a large income or high net worth and means, a small tip might be a slap in the face. If you have means and you clearly and vocally appreciated the guides and all they did, and then leave a $50 tip after a 7 to 9 day trip, that amount would probably be insulting. If you have a fairly large income or net worth, you likely spend it on higher end restaurants, and maybe higher cost wine, drinks or desserts. You might even give a $50 tip for a dinner meal out-for ONE meal, so just consider your ability to tip and the level of service you received over the whole trip.
The largest tip any of our guides has received from one person is $1,500.00 for a 9-day trip. This was highly unusual, and was because we went way out of the way to replace her boots in the middle of the trail because her boots were falling apart, and was on top of paying for the boots and the transport out to the trail. That was extraordinary service, and an extraordinary tip. On average, guides usually receive about $75 to $125 from each guest for each guide.
At Sea to Sky, we also split the tips between the lead and assistant guides, and proportionally with any drivers. We have a strong culture of teamwork and both the lead and assistant guides play essential roles for you, so we ensure both share equally in the tips for the trip. Tips are not shared or taken by owners and managers not on your trip, unless you send it separately and specify it is for service before or after a trip.