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Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Hiking and Wilderness Camping

Buckley Lake to Mowdade Lake
If backpacking, we recommend that visitors start from Buckley Lake at the north end of Mount Edziza Provincial Park and proceed south to Mowdade Lake. This route avoids a long, strenuous climb up Chakima valley to reach the treeline.

Length and Time Required:
The route will vary in length as you choose your route across the plateaus, but is approximately 75 km in length from Buckley to Mowdade Lake. We recommend a minimum of 7 days to hike this route, generally covering 10-15 km per day. Remember to consider additional time if planning on using the Kinaskan, Klastline, or Buckley Lake access routes.

Route Description:
Elevation gain from Buckley Lake to treeline is a gradual climb, then relatively flat across the plateaus to reach more challenging terrain at Taweh Creek crossing and beyond through Cocoa and Coffee Craters to Chakima Creek valley. Climate and weather can change extremely fast in this area, especially up on the alpine plateaus. Visitors must be prepared for all weather conditions at any time of the year.

Please note:
A guide camp is located adjacent to the BC Parks Buckley Lake Camp. Please do not use tent poles or corral poles leaning in nearby trees for firewood! All campsites are user-maintained so pack-out what you pack-in.

Upon leaving Buckley Lake camp the trail leads 1 km downstream along Buckley Creek before crossing a log bridge. The trail then climbs gradually towards the Edziza Plateau, passing through intermittent wet sections and sub-alpine fir and pine to eventually parallel an old lava flow originating from Eve Cone. Sidas Cone will come into view here, the first of many volcanic cinder cones along this route. Scrub birch becomes the dominant vegetation and just as the edge of tree-line is reached you will see the first camp, known as the “Willie Williams” camp. Drinking water can be found here as well as moderate protection from the elements.

Please note:
Water is scarce from Willie’s camp to the Oasis and from the Oasis to Tsekone Ridge. Please ensure you fill up your water bottles prior to passing through these areas. The “Oasis” is located at GR 0311 on map 104G 15E

From “Willie Williams” camp, the route leads above tree-line and continues to do so until the Elwyn Creek valley is reached. The trail continues to follow the lava flow edge from Sidas Cone to pass by Eve Cone. Eve Cone is famous for its dark colour, impressive size, and perfectly geometric crater rim. BC Parks requests your cooperation in keeping trail use to the one main trail up Eve Cone (if you decide you must climb to the crater rim) as other trails leading up the crater have scarred the dark coloured sides. The main trail is located on the southeast side and leads to a small bench on the northeast side.

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After passing Eve Cone, the trail fades away and visibility becomes unlimited as you start across broad plateaus with the summit icecap of Mount Edziza above.  Approximately 3.5 km from Eve Cone, the route crosses a narrow pass between Tsekone Ridge and Pillow Ridge. The 3.5 km between Eve cone and the pass has no cairns or trail to follow. Once the trail fades away at Eve Cone, the route heads towards the pass on a bearing of Approximately 200 degrees (SSW). The route then descends onto another vast plateau. The plateaus are covered by a thin layer of lichen, moss, and grasses until you reach branches of the Elwyn Creek. There are 2 crossings over branches of Elwyn Creek. This is an exceptional place to see Osborn caribou as visibility (unless hampered by weather) is at a premium. From Tsekone Ridge, the route follows a series of rock cairns, which can be see from one cairn to the next, especially with the aid of binoculars. There are several creek crossings along this route and a pair of lightweight sandals is invaluable. Creek crossings may require some scouting to find the best route at varying times of the season, depending on water levels. Usually, the best crossing locations are marked with cairns, but caution should always be used and you may decide to wait until early morning to cross.

After crossing the northern branches of Taweh Creek, the route twists and winds its way back through spectacular volcanic landforms, passing through valleys filled with white, black and red pumice rock to arrive at a high pass – views of Cocoa and Coffee Crater should be visible. Caution: This pass should not be undertaken in severe weather. Caution must be exercised while choosing a route over the toe of the ancient remnants of Tencho Glacier, as it is covered in a deep layer of pumice rock and sand. This section of the route is completely devoid of vegetation. Next, the route descends to pass by Coffee Crater and over vast fields and bizarre lava forms. Obsidian may be found along this section of the route and we remind visitors that it is prohibited to remove these pieces and other souvenirs from provincial parks. Please take photographs only.

Soon the route climbs up and over a shoulder near Cartoona Peak and crosses a very flat, open expanse covered once again by ground vegetation. Another descent, marked by cairns, will cross a medium-sized creek (northern branches of Walkout Creek) to head up a narrow valley, ascending into Chakima Pass. From this location, Kakiddi Lake is visible (depending on weather conditions). The route then descends moderately into sub-alpine fir and wildflower meadows. There are no cairns after Chakima Pass, but the route is clearly visible. There is a guide camp approximately 1/3 of the way down the valley which has good drinking water, a fire ring, a table, a bench, and a few tent pad areas. The route continues to descend, paralleling Chakima Creek, with 3 creek crossings (all bridges have been washed out) to arrive at the pine and aspen flats approximately 2 km from Mowdade Lake camp.The creek crossings can be difficult in high water, and hikers need to be prepared for these crossings. For the last kilometre or so, Chakima Creek has braided and some branches of the creek follow the trail bed so soggy feet should be expected! Once you arrive at Mowdade Lake camp you will find tent pad areas, a dock, a fire ring, a pit toilet, an information shelter and a bear-proof metal food cache available for public use.

Access: For access routes to Mount Edziza click here.

Transportation to Buckley or Mowdade Lake: A list of permitted air charter companies is provided on the Mt. Edziza park page, under special notes, click here.

Return to Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
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