Paddling Bowron Lakes: A Canoeist's Paradise

Thirty kilometers (19 miles) northeast of Barkerville over an unpaved road, there's access to a circle of lakes that attracts canoeists and kayakers from around the world. The 123,120-hectare (304,236-acre) Bowron Lakes Provincial Park is a majestic paddler's paradise set against a backdrop of glacial peaks.

The 7-day circular route is 120km (75 miles) of unbroken wilderness. It begins at Kibbee Creek and Kibbee Lake, flows into Indianpoint Lake, Isaac Lake, and the Isaac River, and continues to McCleary, Lanezi, Sandy, and Una lakes before entering the final stretch: Babcock Lake, Skoi Lake, the Spectacle Lakes, Swan Lake, and finally Bowron Lake. The long, narrow lakes afford visitors a close look at both shores. You'll catch sight of moose, mountain goats, beavers, black bears, and grizzly bears. Be prepared to portage for a total of 8.5km (5 1/4 miles) between some of the creeks that connect the lakes. The longest single portage is 3km (1 3/4 miles). You must pack everything in and out of the wilderness camps.

The number of canoes and people allowed to enter the park per day is restricted in summer. Permit bookings are handled by Super Natural British Columbia (tel. 800/435-5622 or 250/387-1642). Fees for a full circuit are C$60 per person per one-person canoe/kayak, or C$120 per two-person canoe/kayak. There's a reservation fee of C$18. After September 25, permits can be purchased at the Bowron Lakes Park office, at the start of the circuit (tel. 250/398-4414). The park does not close in winter, but there are no rangers in the park after mid-October, so extreme caution must be used. For information on the park, contact the District Manager, 301-640 Borland St., Williams Lake (tel. 250/398-4414;

You don't have to make the entire journey to enjoy this incredible setting. Open May through October, the campground at the park's entrance is a relaxing spot to camp, fish, boat, or simply observe the abundant flora and fauna.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.