Tweedsmuir Provincial Park (South): Camping

image of Tweedsmuir South
Tweedsmuir Provincial Park (South) contains two front-country campgrounds: Atnarko offers 15 campsites (on the Atnarko River, at the bottom of “the Hill”); while Fisheries Pool, situated near Stuie and the site of an old fisheries hatchery run by DFO, attracts lots of anglers to its 9 high-density and 2 tenting campsites. Just before you reach the Fisheries Pool campground on the park road there is a trailhead for the Confluence/Trail. This 1 km. trail leads to a popular fishing hole — but take great caution as it is also very popular with bears. Both facilities contain water, firepits, tables, firewood and pit toilets for the disabled. Most trailers and recreational vehicles can be accommodated although no hook-ups are provided. The park also provides seven day-use facilities located along Highway 20, with a sani-station open from May 1 – October 15.

The Rainbow Range north of Highway 20 offers a network of excellent backpacking and horsepacking trails and wilderness campsites. There are incredible views of the surrounding Coast Range Mountains from the open, sub-alpine meadows. There are a lot of primitive campsites dotted throughout the park; please read the hiking link page to get directions for the following listings. On the Rainbow Day-Use Trail there is some overnight camping but no facilities at Lake “M”. On the Crystal Lake Trail there are campsites at Lester's Camp on Young Creek and on the lakeshore at Crystal Lake. Boyd Pass area has the newly restored Rainbow Cabin (aka, Mackenzie and Walker cabin); there is a bear cache and a primitive pit toilet. Octopus Lake Trail provides Octopus Lake Hikers Camp (bugs are very bad in July and August); a horse camp is on the opposite side of the trail 1 km to the west of the lakeshore.

Winter Recreation

Snowmobiling in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park (South)

An area is zoned for snowmobiling at Heckman Pass. Snowmobiling is not permitted elsewhere in the park.

The snowmobile area is accessed through the Rainbow Range trailhead, located about 40 kilometres west of Anahim Lake on Highway 20. Click here [PDF] to view a map of the snowmobiling area.

The Rainbow Range is the winter home of a large herd of woodland caribou and about 100 mountain goats. Both these populations are considered threatened, and animals are easily disturbed by recreationists.

In winter, caribou favour open windward slopes where snow is thin and they can access their staple food – ground lichens. However, caribou will sometimes use deep snow for lift to reach lichens hanging from tree branches. Mountain goats also eat exposed vegetation, and tend to stay near the steep rocky terrain they use for an escape route. They can become particularly stressed when approached from above.

If you go, please read and observe the following:
  • Stay within the snowmobile boundary shown on the map. This area is regularly patrolled by BC Parks staff.
  • Use only the designated snowmobile trail to access the overnight cabin, ski hill and snowmobile area.
  • Carry out all your garbage.
  • Stay clear of ski trails.
  • Never run your machine over areas bare of snow, as this can destroy the lichens on which the caribou depend.
  • Avoid snowmobiling over exposed tree tops.
Use the following procedures around wildlife:
  • If you observe caribou or goat tracks, do not follow the tracks.
  • If you see caribou or goats, do not approach them. Turn off your snowmobile and allow the animals to move away quietly.
  • After animals have departed, leave the area. Make every effort to minimize disturbance.
Chasing wildlife on a snowmobile can be fatal for the animals, who often die of exhaustion after struggling through deep snow.

Anywhere there is snow lying on a slope, there is the possibility of an avalanche. These snow torrents are deadly and deserve the utmost respect. Take an avalanche safety course and be aware of weather forecasts and snow conditions. For more avalanche information, contact the Canadian Avalanche Association. Each person should carry rescue gear: shovel, probe, and avalanche rescue beacon.

Suffocation is a common cause of death after being buried by an avalanche. It is crucial to find the victim within minutes. The use of beacons greatly increases the likelihood of survival. Probe and shovel are necessary because avalanche debris sets up like concrete, making digging very strenuous.

The Rainbow Range is very remote and is subject to sever winter weather. Snowmobilers should prepare for emergencies such as breakdowns and injuries by carrying tools, spare parts, extra gas and oil, a first aid kit and survival gear including a portable stove.

The Tweedsmuir Ski Club operates a cabin close to the downhill ski area. Overnight stays can be reserved by calling the club at (250) 982-2231. The Rainbow Cabin, located in the Mackenzie Valley, is for emergency use only. Free winter camping is permitted in the Rainbow Range parking lot. There is an outhouse, but you must either bring your own drinking water or melt snow.

You can obtain fuel, basic supplies, and motel accommodation in Anahim Lake or Nimpo Lake. The nearest RCMP office is in Anahim Lake, where there is also a 24-hour medical clinic. The closest hospital is in Bella Coola, over an hour’s drive from the parking lot.

1:50,000 NTS topographic maps include: 93C/12