Set on the Bonaparte Plateau, a large mid-elevation plateau lake setting has no roads. The area has wild fish stocks and high wilderness recreation values for hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, hunting, and adventure tourism.
There are unique geological features including the volcanic plug of Skoatl Point and Stockton Hill south of Bare Lake. Only very rustic camping sites exist, so visitors must be self-sufficient and be prepared for wilderness camping. The park also contains many trails and four fly-in fishing resorts.
Established Date: May 20, 2004
Park Size: 11,811 hectares
Motorized vehicle prohibited area (except aircraft – float plane
access is open for private use; commercial airlines require a Park
There is a snowmobile use area in the southern portion of the park. No Park Use Permit or Letter of Permission are required at present.
If you are interested in finding out more details about the park trails and accesses, there is a book written by Richard Alan Youds called “The Bonaparte Plateau – An Access Guide” that may help with your next visit to the park.
Location and Maps
Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
The park is located on the Bonaparte Plateau south of Bonaparte Lake, approximately 55 km northwest of Kamloops. The park is accessed via logging roads up Jamieson Creek, which is 25 km north of Kamloops on the Westsyde road. Roads are limited, with access by floatplane and horse. Float plane access is open for private use; commercial airlines require a Park Use Permit. Limited mechanized access (snowmobile) is allowed in specified areas.
Nature and Culture
History: The park was created April 30, 1996 as a result of recommendations made in the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Plan.The park is a wilderness area that is not regularly serviced or patrolled. The park will be managed according to the Interim Management Direction Statement for Bonaparte Park.
Cultural Heritage: Many native place names give evidence of native use in the area. Native groups may have traveled into the park for hunting and gathering activities. There is a rich lore of information about the historic use of the area for fly-in fishing camps and historic ranching activities.
Conservation: Bonaparte Park protects over 5000 hectares of undeveloped watershed in the upper Deadman River region, and Montane spruce and Engelmann spruce-Sub alpine fir forests. It is an excellent example of typical Northern Thompson Uplands Ecosection: lakes, sedge meadows and riparian. The park encompasses important habitat for fisher and Sandhill Crane, and protects lakes with wild rainbow trout stock. Also, marten, moose, timber wolf, Common Loon, Barrows Goldeneye, Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse, Osprey and Great Horned Owl are present in the park. Unique geological features include the volcanic plug of Skoatl Point and Stockton Hill south of Bare Lake.
Wildlife: Includes fisher, marten, moose, timber wolf, sandhill crane, mule deer, black bear, beaver, waterfowl, grouse, and numerous other small mammals and birds.
Wild and stocked rainbow trout are found in most lakes. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence. Check the B.C. Fishing Regulations for seasons and closures.
Primitive, non-maintained trails are found between various lakes. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Persons wishing to ride horses in this park must first obtain permission
from Parks and Protected Areas Program, Thompson Region at: 250 371-6200.
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
There is no viewing platform but wildlife viewing is an increasingly important part of this park experience.
There are no maintained cross-country ski trails. Snowshoeing provides a way to experience the park in the winter but there are no designated trails. There is a snowmobile use area in the southern portion of the park – no Park Use Permit or Letter of Permission are required at present.
Facilities Available at this Park
Cabins / Huts
In this park at Hiakwah Lake, there are two cabins maintained by the local snowmobile club. They are rustic cabins primarily intended for use by the Kamloops Snowmobile Association and associated snowmobilers. The use of the park by long established wilderness lodges provides opportunity for people to experience the wilderness in relative comfort and security. All other lodges in the park are privately owned and not for public use.
No firewood is available and no fire rings are installed. If a campfire is used, please keep it small, and ensure it is completely out before you leave. Only wood that is dead and lying on the ground can be used for campfires. Camp stoves are recommended for cooking. Check for campfire bans before entering the backcountry. In some parks, campfires are not permitted at any time.
There is a Forest Recreation Site with pit toilets and picnic tables just outside the southeast corner of the park, at Windy Lake. This site is accessible by vehicle and makes a good base for hiking to Skoatl Point and exploring the southern part of the park. User-maintained very rustic campsites exist at various lakes. Note that there are privately-owned resorts offering guided fishing and accommodation.