Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park
- August 2016: Cottonwood Forks Camp Bridge (at approx. 50° 21’ 17.50”N / 122° 00’04.72”W on the Blowdown Pass) has been discovered as impassable. Cottonwood Creek is passable on foot during times of low water – which it is at this point – otherwise the Blowdown Pass route to the Stein Divide (at Cottonwood Falls) is impassable until the bridge is repaired. Please check back to this page for updates.
- Please note: There is no cost to hiking/camping in the Stein – the Stein is free and open to all who want to use the Stein – as long as there is no commercial activities associated with use (i.e. guiding, etc.). Please respect this beautiful back country wilderness area.
- As of June 28, 2016: Cottonwood cable car: Due to this cable car recently being struck by falling trees, it is out of service. At present, there are several trees left purposely across the trail right at the cable car. Please do not use this area – find an alternate location to cross. BC Parks is working on developing an alternate crossing in the immediate area.
Know Before You GoYear 1 of a 3-year trails upgrade in the Stein has been completed as of August 25, 2016. Due to collaboration of various parties and the hard work of Purcell Pride Contracting, the clearing/falling of trees, opening up and improvement of the trail bed, and improvement of rustic bridges was completed on the Stein divide (E-W traverse) from the suspension bridge to Tundra Lake. As part of this work an official campsite was created at Poppet (Puppet Lake) as well.
Year 2 will begin in the 2017 season as soon as weather is favourable – including the re-establishment of the bridge at Cottonwood Forks (Blowdown Pass divide) and an official crossing at Cottonwood Falls. Please stay tuned.
Trail Updates and Access Conditions
- View the latest trail report [PDF]
- BC Parks is requesting that all visitors to this park complete an on-line comment form so that management can obtain valuable information from those that have visited the park.
- The Lytton Ferry provides access to the main Stein trailhead. For current information about the Lytton Ferry please check the Drive BC website (click on Inland Ferry, click on or scroll down to Lytton Ferry, then click on Current Conditions and Events). The ferry is usually closed for significant periods from late May to early July because of high water.
- As per much of the province, the Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park is extremely dry. Please take utmost caution if using any cooking appliances – suggestions would be to bring food with you that does not need any cooking/heating.
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS.
- Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park is an area of cultural significance. All values need to be conserved in their natural state as much as possible. It is suggested that visitors do not bring dogs in to the park, primarily because digging in to the soil etc. is a natural behaviour for most dogs. If visitors insist on bringing dogs in to the park, please keep them under control and discourage digging behaviour anywhere in the park (including the parking area). As with all protected areas, please clean up after your dog.
- Park Use Permit Applicants: The Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park is co-managed via a Stein Management Board between BC Parks and the Lytton First Nation (see their website at http://www.lyttonfirstnations.ca/). In order for a Park Use Permit application to be considered by BC Parks, the application must be reviewed and agreed upon by the Lytton First Nation prior to submission. If an application is received by BC Parks proof of discussions with the Lytton First Nation will be required as part of the application process.
- Click here to learn about glaciers and glacier research. Preliminary efforts are underway to monitor glaciers within the Stein Valley Heritage Park.
- School Group Information – please read
- No open fires are permitted May 1 to September 30. Bring campstoves for cooking.
- Do Not Touch or Tamper with any Pictographs, Petroglyphs or Culturally Modified Trees. Contact between these artifacts and your fingers transfers oils and acids which damage them. In some cases these pictographs have existed for several thousand years. Please, join us in protecting them for future generations. It is an offence under the Park Act to damage or destroy any park resource, including cultural artifacts.
About This Parkhiking trails and routes, four cable crossings, a suspension bridge and several wilderness campsites.
The park offers limited opportunities for easy day hikes (primarily in the lower valley) and extensive opportunities for multi-night backpacking trips over moderate to difficult terrain. With limited Ranger and Stein Valley Warden patrols, visitors must be self-sufficient and prepared for all eventualities.
For more information about Stein Valley landforms, the Stein River and its tributaries, visit this page: Stein Valley Landforms.
Special Features: The park protects an intact watershed, in addition to preserving the First Nation’s history of the area.
Established Date: July 12, 1995
Park Size: 107,191 hectares. The Park boundary follows the watershed boundary for approximately 195 kilometres along a continuous line of summits and ridges.
- Vehicles are not permitted in the park – access is only via hiking; no horses or mechanized access (4x4s, ATVs, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, helicopters, float-planes) are allowed.
- Dogs should not be brought into the Stein. They can harass wildlife (and other hikers) and bring you face-to-face with an angry bear.
- Grizzly bears and black bears roam throughout the park but are not often seen. Avoid encounters by making noise as you hike, and keeping your food and garbage in a food cache or hoisted up a tree.
- Sections of the trails may be closed due to natural hazards of wildlife, weather, and trail conditions. Visit our Stein Valley Trails and Routes page for more details.
- Do not underestimate the demands of hiking the full length of the valley. Routes out of the valley include steep ascents and descents and rugged terrain.
- Weather changes quickly here. You may experience sun, rain and snow all on the same day. Be prepared.
- Sudden storms can cause white-out conditions and necessitate travel by compass, particularly at higher elevations. Solid route-finding skills are a necessity.
- Rugged terrain and deadfalls across the trail can significantly lengthen the amount of travel time required. Allow extra time to complete your trip.
- Sections of some trails may be wet, steep or difficult to see. Bring appropriate footwear, a good map and compass and watch carefully for trail markers.
- In most locations of the park you will be several days from any form of help. Bring a good first aid kit and exercise caution.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. Lytton Ferry. After disembarking from the ferry, follow the road to the right for 4.8 kilometres to the junction with the Stein Valley Road (marked). Turn left and follow it to the parking lot.
Alternative access to the main Stein Valley trailhead is available via the Westside Road south from Lillooet, on the west side of the Fraser River. This is a slow 2-3 hour drive on a rough dirt road. There is also a pedestrian walkway along the CN railway bridge that crosses the Fraser River south of Lytton. The trailhead is roughly 8 km north from the west end of the bridge. Other trailheads for accessing the park are located at Lizzie Lake, Blowdown Pass and Texas Creek. See Trail Updates and Access Conditions [PDF] for current road conditions to these trailheads.
General Enquiries for road conditions:
- VSA Highway Maintenance Ltd.
1-888-315-0025 or 1-250-315-0166
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- History: The park was established on November 22, 1995, following a 25 year debate over development versus protection. The name comes from the Nlaka’pamux word “Stagyn”, which means “hidden place”, referring to the fact that the valley and the extent of the watershed is not very noticeable from the Stein River’s mouth on the Fraser River. The valley has been extremely important to the Nlaka’pamux people for thousands of years, both spiritually and for sustenance. This is evinced by the large number of pictographs [PDF 337KB] still visible today in various parts of the valley, ranging in size from single symbols to one of the largest pictograph sites in Canada. One such site is Asking Rock near Stryen Creek. Here the Nlaka’pamux stop to pray and ask permission to travel the valley safely. Some make offerings of burnt sage and tobacco to accompany their prayers. Please respect the rock-paintings and do not touch them.
- Conservation: The Stein Valley straddles the transition from the dry interior to the wetter Coastal Mountains. This, combined with the large elevational gradient, has resulted in very diverse vegetation communities within the park. Dry ponderosa pine forests characterize the lower valley, while Douglas fir is predominant in the mid-valley and hemlock, cedar, spruce and fir become predominant in the western end of the valley. Patches of cedar exist throughout the valley, even at the eastern end in moist, cool locations along creeks such as Stryen and Teaspoon. Floodplain forests along the river are dominated by black cottonwood mixed with aspen and birch. Higher elevations are noted for stands of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir, and above those are white bark pine and alpine tundra. Spectacular flower blooms occur in the spring and summer, particularly at higher elevations.
- Wildlife: Due to its size and relative lack of disturbance, the park contains populations of many species of wildlife that indicate its relative health as wilderness. It is thought to contain over 50 species of mammals, including mountain goat, cougar, wolverine, black bear and grizzly bear. Bird species include golden eagles, sharp shinned hawks, barred owls, pigmy owls, white-tailed ptarmigan, pileated woodpeckers and rufous hummingbirds, as well as several species of chickadees, warblers and nuthatches. The Stein River contains dolly varden char, rainbow trout and Rocky Mountain whitefish, as well as steelhead trout, coho, pink and chinook salmon that return to the river at certain times of the year to spawn.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Management Plan [PDF 1.5MB] is available in pdf format.
Activities Available at this Park
The Stein offers a wide variety of hiking opportunities:
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Large groups (over four) need to contact the Thompson Southern Rivers staff of the BC Parks office in Kamloops during the planning phase for the Stein – please do not go until you coordinate with the BC Parks staff. This park has a limited carrying capacity (i.e. limited resources in small areas) and we need to minimize negative impacts to the environment and/or other backcountry campers.
For planning purposes: campgrounds that are currently set up to accommodate larger groups include: Devil’s Staircase, Teepee, Suspension Bridge, and Cottonwood Creek. Please use the ‘Contact Us’ link on the webpage and/or call 250-371-6200 to discuss the Stein with the Thompson Southern Rivers staff with BC Parks.
The following table provides recommendations regarding group sizes:
Recommended Group Size
Maximum # of People
|Lytton Trailhead to
Suspension Bridge Camp
|Suspension Bridge Camp to Scudamore Creek||
|Scudamore Creek to Tundra Lake, Blowdown Pass Trail||
Pit or Flush Toilets
- In the lower and mid valleys, there are 11 developed campsites. In the lower valley visitors must camp only at these sites. In the lower valley from the trailhead near Lytton to Cottonwood Cr. each campsite has a pit toilet and a metal food cache.
- In the mid valley from Scudamore Cr. to Stein Camp each campsite has a rustic backcountry toilet and a metal food cache.
- Visitors must use the food caches provided. The incidence of bear/human conflict has greatly decreased with the use of the food caches. For visitor safety and to lessen the impact on the environment, a metal food cache and backcountry toilet have been installed at Brimful Lake. If you must camp where there is no food cache, use a rope cache, ensuring the food is 4 metres off the ground and 1 metre from the trunk. In other areas of the park where there are no developed campsites, please camp where your presence will have the least amount of impact on the environment. Or, camp where it is obvious others have camped.
- Visitors should ensure they are totally self-sufficient. The nearest amenities including pay phone is in Lytton.
- Due to the low snow levels in the Lytton area, there is opportunity for visitors to camp in the lower valley during the winter.
- Due to the low snow levels in the Lytton area, there is opportunity for visitors to camp in the lower valley during the winter.