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Babine Mountains Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Joe L'Orsa Cabin Closure
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin will be closed for maintenance June 17 – 23, 2019. Access to the cabin and toilet facility will be restricted during this time. If you have any questions regarding the closure, please contact Peter Crawford, Babine Area Supervisor, at 250-847-7565 or Peter.Crawford@gov.bc.ca. Thank you for your co-operation.
About This Park
This area within the Skeena Mountains ecosection offers some of the finest hiking opportunities in west-central British Columbia. Glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks and extensive sub-alpine meadows provide day and overnight hiking opportunities.
Area habitat supports healthy populations of mountain goat, moose, marmot and many species of birds.
Rolling alpine plateaus, rugged mountains and an abundance of snow provides skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers with experiences for all skill levels.
Established Date: April 5, 1984
Park Size: 31,146 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Trail Report [PDF] (August 14, 2018)
- Bring your own water, as potable water is not available in the park.
- Bear sign has been seen on various trails throughout the park, just a reminder to park visitors to remain bear aware at all times.
- Biking is not permitted on McCabe, Lyon, Little Joe, or Eagle Pass trails.
- Dogs are not allowed inside the Joe L’Orsa cabin, and must be under control when left outside the cabin.
- The Onion Mountain, Orange, and Cronin Creek Trails are not entirely within Babine Mountains Provincial Park, but, as a result of direction provided by the Bulkley Valley Land and Resource Management Plan, they are managed by BC Parks under Section 6 of the Park Act. The Onion Mountain and Orange Trails are non-motorized during summer months. The Cronin Creek Trail is non-motorized during summer months from the Higgins Creek Trailhead onwards.
Location and Maps
Access to the west end of the park is off of Old Babine Lake Road, which leaves Highway 16 just east of the Bulkley River bridge. Follow the signs to Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park. The summer parking lot and information map are located 7km north of Driftwood Canyon. From there, the road is not passable to vehicle traffic. The closest communities, towns and cities are Smithers and Telkwa.
To access the east end of the park, turn onto Babine Lake Road, 4 km east of Smithers on Highway #16. The Little Joe and Cronin Creek trailheads are found at 30.5 km and 32.5 km respectively along the route.
Maps and Brochures
- Park Map [PDF]
- Park Brochure [PDF]
- Park Brochure and Map (print-ready) [PDF]
- Google Earth KMZ file of the hiking trails [KMZ] (For use with Google Earth or similar application)
- Google Earth KML file of designated Babine Mountains snowmobile areas [KML] (For use with Google Earth or similar application)
- Joe L’Orsa Cabin User Regulations [PDF]
Nature and Culture
- Conservation: The vegetation of the Babines includes sub-boreal spruce and alpine tundra. In the lower timbered areas are white spruce, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, trembling aspen, black huckleberry, bunchberry and feather mosses. In general, the soils in the Babines are not particularly rich. The climate restricts vegetative growth – in the lower areas vegetation is much quicker to recover from disturbances and in high elevations the recovery rate is extremely slow. One small area on the northern slopes of Mt. Cronin has been proposed as an Ecological Reserve to conserve the most northern known example of the Whitebark Pine. Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please don’t damage or remove them.
- Wildlife: The most noteworthy
species commonly observed in the area are mountain goats, moose,
black bear, ground squirrels, marmots and deer, as well as a host
of smaller animals. Of the larger animals, only mountain goats make
the area their year-round home. Occasionally grizzly bear, lynx and
wolverine have been observed. Park users
should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment.
Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. Get more information
on bear safety.
Wood ticks are most prevalent between March and June. These parasites live in tall grass and low shrubs, and seek out warm-blooded hosts. As potential carriers of disease, they should be avoided. Protect your legs by wearing gaiters, or pants tucked into socks. After any outdoor activities, thoroughly examine yourself, children and pets. If you find a tick embedded in your skin, the best way to remove it is by grasping and pulling it, gently, straight up and out with a small pair of tweezers, and disinfecting the site with rubbing alcohol. You may wish to save the tick in a small plastic or glass container for later inspection by your doctor especially if a fever develops, or the area around the bite appears to be infected.
- Culture: Babine Mountains Provincial Park lies within the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en and Ned’u’ten peoples, with the Wet’suwet’en occupying the Wetzin’Kwa (Bulkley/Morice River) valley and the Ned’u’ten occupying the Babine Lake area. Both nations have used, and continue to use, the area for spiritual and sustenance activities, including hunting, trapping and fishing. Many of the existing trails within Babine Mountains Provincial Park were originally trails used by the Wet’suwet’en and Ned’u’ten.
Activities Available at this Park
- Trail Report [PDF] (August 14, 2018)
Pets on Leash
- Pets/domestic animals should be on a leash and under control at all times. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears. Porcupines are quite common in the park and many dogs get “quilled” each year.
- A trapper operates in the park from November to the middle of February. Dogs not on a leash could get caught in traps.
- Dogs are not allowed inside the Joe L’Orsa cabin. Dogs must be under control when left outside the cabin. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement appropriately.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Caution: Skiers and snowshoers may travel in the designated snowmobile area if they wish. If you choose to do so, yield to snowmobilers as you can hear them coming but they cannot hear you.
Notice: In the winter, the Driftwood Road is not plowed to the summer parking lot. It is an additional 4km from the winter parking lot to the summer parking lot, making the ski/snowshoe to the Joe L’Orsa Cabin substantially longer.
Silver King Basin: From the parking area north of Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, the trail follows an old mining road and climbs gradually through the heavily forested valley. Sunny Point is reached at 6 km, and at 12 km skiers reach the sub-alpine and views of the surrounding peaks. Exercise caution: under certain conditions there can be avalanche hazard from 12 km to near the Joe L’Orsa Cabin at approximately 13.5km.
Lyon Creek Trail and Harvey Mountain Trail: Ski tourers and snowshoers often use the Lyon Creek Trail and the Harvey Mountain Trail, which leave the Driftwood Road about 1.5 km and 4km beyond the winter parking lot respectively. A loop can be made by ascending the Lyon Creek Trail and coming back down the Harvey Mountain Trail.
Please Note: The Smithers Snowmobile Association will be collecting trail fees for use of the groomed snowmobiling trails leading to Onion Mountain Cabin and into Babine Mountains Park. Snowmobile club members, who obtain an annual membership, are not required to pay trail fees. For those who are not members, a $20.00 day pass is required. Fees go towards grooming the trail(s), maintaining emergency shelters, providing insurance and promoting avalanche awareness. Snowmobile day passes can be purchased in Smithers, at Trails North Powersports, Evergreen Industrial Supplies and Wayside Industries, online from the SSA Website (www.smitherssnowmobileassociation.com) and on the trail (when User Fee Collectors are present).
BC Parks, in consultation with various user groups, has designated certain areas for snowmobiling. View the Babine Mountains Snowmobile Map [PDF] and the Google Earth file of designated Babine Mountains snowmobile areas for more information. Please respect these boundaries. Skiers and snowshoers may travel in the designated snowmobile area if they wish. If you choose to do so, yield to snowmobilers, as you can hear them coming but they can’t hear you.
Ganokawa Basin Area: From the junction of Old Babine Lake Road and Babine Lake Road, follow the Old Babine Lake Road northwest (toward Smithers) about 3 km to the Onion Mountain Trail and parking area. This trail provides access to the Ganokwa Basin snowmobiling area. The Smithers Snowmobile Association grooms the trail and maintains two day-use cabins in the area, the main cabin (out of the park) and the Burdette Cabin. Please contact the Smithers Snowmobile Association for information regarding cabin usage. Please refer to the information at the top of this web-page regarding trail use fees for snowmobiling on the Onion Mountain Trail.
Harvey Mountain Viewpoint: The corridor to Harvey Mountain provides access to the viewpoint only. Please stay north of the posted boundary signs.
Cronin Creek Basin and Four Lakes Area: These two areas are accessible to snowmobiles by special permit only. A limited number of permits are available on an annual basis. For further information, please contact BC Parks in Smithers.
Facilities Available at this Park
Cabins / Huts
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin is located in the Silver King Basin of the Babine Mountains. It is accessible via the Silver King Trail and is available to the public year-round.
The cabin will sleep 15-20 people comfortably and is subject to the first-come, first-serve rule. Be prepared to sleep outside if the cabin is full.
The cabin is 9x8.5 metres (log construction), is heated by a wood stove (firewood provided) and is fitted with a gray water disposal system. There is a galvanized steel counter for visitors to operate their camp stoves on and a pit toilet located outside the cabin. There is a creek adjacent to the cabin for water. All water should be treated or filtered prior to drinking. There are sleeping bunks in the cabin but no mattresses or blankets are provided. Visitors are expected to bring their own cooking stoves, pots, and utensils. Please take everything that you bring up to the cabin out with you when you leave.
There is a backcountry fee charge of $10.00 per adult (age 16+) per night and children (age 6-15) at $5.00 per night. It can be paid in advance to BC Parks in Smithers or deposited into a fee vault box located at the cabin. The money generated from the cabin will assist BC Parks with ongoing maintenance of the facility and firewood costs.
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin was named in memory of local resident Joe L’Orsa, who spearheaded the effort to create a park in the Babines. This cabin was made possible through the donations of many local businesses in the area. Access to the cabin is via the Driftwood Road and the Silver King Trail.