Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Top of the World Provincial Park

  • Please Note: A cooking area has been constructed, complete with a grey water pit, benches, tables, and bear proof storage lockers. Please use this area to keep food smells away from tenting pads. Please remember to remove all contents from storage lockers when leaving the park, and keep food smells to a minimum by sealing your food in air tight containers.

Know Before You Go

Access and Trails

Click here for the latest Trail Report [PDF]
Please note: Trail reports updated regularly May-August as trails melt out.
  • The White-Ram Forest Service Road (Lussier River) in the vicinity of Ram Creek is closed to all traffic east of the Ram Creek hot springs. This closure is required for protection of the environment. Top of the World Provincial Park and the upper Lussier River will continue to be accessed via the White-Swan Forest Service Road. If you have any questions regarding this road closure, please contact the Rocky Mountain Forest District (Engineering Department) at 1902 Theatre Road, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 7G1 - or at 250 426-1700.
  • Hikers planning to use the first section of the horse trail (alternate trail to Fish Lake) to Sayles Meadow will have to ford the Lussier river, and do so at their own risk; travel on this section of trail is not recommended for hikers. The second section of the horse trail will still be accessible via the main Fish Lake trail via Sayles Meadow, this is a good option to explore Crazy Creek and Crazy River side trail on route to Fish Lake.

Be Prepared

Persons visiting Top of the World Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind. All arrangements for supplies and transportation must be made beforehand. All park visitors should wear strong waterproofed, lug-soled boots and carry a daypack with raingear, extra warm clothing and food. Weather conditions can change suddenly in this area and lightning storms with hail and snow are common in summer. For overnight trips, a sleeping bag, groundpad, waterproof tent or bivouac bag and lightweight stove are essential. Only experienced climbers practiced in crevasse rescue and properly roped should venture onto snowfields and glaciers.

Weather

Weather conditions are typical of the southern Rocky Mountains. About half of the days in summer are sunny, with temperatures soaring to 30 degrees celsius. At nights, the thermometer will often drop below the freezing mark. In July and August, precipitation, mostly in the form of rain, totals about 110 mm. Fish Lake is usually free of ice by mid-June, with freeze-up occurring in late October. The access trail is passable on foot from early June to November. Snow and wet spots are present until late June. Alpine meadows and trails are not free of snow until mid-July.

General Notes

Loaded logging trucks and other industrial traffic may be encountered while accessing this park. Drive with extreme caution and for your safety always yield to industrial traffic.

Public communications are not available at this park.

Top of the World Park is a non-motorized park.

About This Park

High in the Kootenay Ranges of the Rocky Mountain region of south eastern British Columbia is one of the alpine gems of our park system, Top of the World Provincial Park. An area of great beauty, the park is part of the Top of the World Plateau, most of which is at an elevation in excess of 2,200 metres. The jagged peaks of the Hughes Range form a backdrop to the west of the park, and the Van Nostrand Range dominated by Mount Morro--at 2,912 metres marks the highest point in the park.

Camping and hiking are popular activities in this backcountry park that has many family-friendly features. An easy, improved and well maintained trail leads to Fish Lake, where a 16 site lake-side campground is located. There is also a public cabin available accommodating 14-18 people.

Although remote, Top of the World Park is beautiful in winter, and is popular with cross-country skiers and ice fishers alike. The Lussier Forest Service Road is not plowed from km 25 to the Top of the World trailhead.

Park Size: 8,790 ha
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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. Top of the World Park is located 48 kilometres northeast of the village of Kimberley, access is via White Swan and Lussier Forest Service Roads, and extreme caution must be exercised at all times while travelling these roads. The access route is normally passable from late May until late October.

Via Whiteswan Lake: Turn east off of Highway 93/95, 4.5 kilometres south of Canal Flats. At kilometre 21.3 take the fork to the right (Lussier River Junction). At kilometre 29.6, turn right and cross Coyote Creek. Continue straight at kilometre 30.7, staying on the main road till reaching kilometre 52. The trail begins at this point.

National Topographic Series map 82G/14W (Queen Creek) at a scale of 1:50,000 covers the park area. These maps are available from most map retailers in British Columbia.

Maps and Brochures

Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
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Nature and Culture

  • History: The area encompassed by Top of the World Provincial Park is within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation. During pre-colonial times, visitors came from as far away as the interior of British Columbia, Montana and Alberta to obtain chert, a grey, translucent, obsidian-like rock that was mined at Top of the World Park and traded as well as worked into tools and weapons. Removal of archeological artifacts within the park is prohibited.
  • Conservation: At mid elevations, the forests in Top of the World Park consist primarily of old growth balsam and Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce with some lodgepole pine below 1,700 metres in the Lussier Creek drainage. Sitka alder is common in the lower reaches of the Summer Creek drainage and is found along the Lussier River and around Fish Lake. Near the timber line, alpine larch and white bark pine are interspersed with fir and spruce.

    Alpine flowers carpet much of the plateau in July and early August, with glacier lilies, mountain forget-me-nots and western anemone being the most abundant. At lower elevations, there are globe-flowers, Indian paintbrush, broad leafed arnica, bunchberries and yellow columbines adding their vivid splashes of colour.
  • Wildlife: The park is home to several species of large mammals, occasional sightings are made of moose, elk, white-tailed deer, wolverine, bear and porcupine in the Lussier River and Coyote Creek watersheds. Mule deer frequent the alpine meadows and marmots are found at higher elevations. Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep may be seen in the vicinity of Mount Doolan and near Mount Morro, and mountain goats are seen on the ridges that form the western boundary of the park.

    Birdlife is abundant around Fish Lake. Clark’s nutcrackers, Steller’s jays, grey jays, varied thrushes and pine grosbeaks inhabit the lake area throughout the summer. Scaups, buffleheads and other waterfowl, including loons, often rest upon the lake; bald eagles and ospreys are seen in the spring when the fish are spawning. Fish Lake, the largest body of water in the park, is noted for its cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden fishery.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
  • Online Management planning information for this park is not available at this time.
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Activities Available at this Park

Cycling

Cycling

Cycling is permitted at this park. Mountain bike enthusiasts may only ride the 6-km hiking and horse trail between Nicol Creek trailhead parking lot and Fish Lake. These busy trails are used by young families, therefore cyclists must use extreme caution. Bicycles must keep to pathways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

Fishing is a major attraction at this park, particularly in Fish Lake which has a trail circumnavigating the lake for access. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

There are several great hiking trails in this park. 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.
Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on the Fish Lake horse trail and on the Coyote Creek and Galbraith Creek trails only. Overnight grazing is prohibited, except in the vicinity of Coyote Creek campsite and Sayles Meadows. Use of pellets and other feed concentrates is encouraged. Grazing should be limited to one night per party in each location. At Fish Lake, horses must be kept 100 metres away from the lake.
Hunting

Hunting

Hunting is permitted only during an open season as described in the Wildlife Act and BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations. All guided hunts are by permit only.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
Swimming

Swimming

There is swimming available at Fish Lake.
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

Depending on road accessibility to the trailhead, Top of the World provides excellent cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities from the trailhead to Fish Lake and surrounding area.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

The Fish Lake cabin is located on the shore of Fish Lake. The cabin is available on a first-come, first-served basis and accommodates 14 to 18 people on bunks along the perimeter of the cabin walls. A wood stove is located in the center of the cabin; please note that firewood is not provided from October to March. There are also two tables located inside the cabin. An axe is available. Use extreme caution when cutting wood. Do not split firewood inside the cabin. Trees, dead or alive, are not to be cut for any reason. You must bring in all other camping gear and amenities including sleeping pads and cooking/eating utensils. Please pack EVERYTHING out of the park that you brought in and, when leaving ensure that the cabin is left in a tidy condition and that nothing is left inside the cabin, especially garbage and food. No pets or smoking is allowed inside the cabin.
Cabin Use Fee: $15.00 per person / night
Cabin Use Fee: $30.00 per family / night
Campfires

Campfires

Fires are allowed in fire pits only, however visitors should check with the Forest Service or at park trailheads to see if fires bans are in effect. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please do not gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. Use firewood that is provided at Fish Lake. Conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. This park has communal fire rings only, bring a portable stove for cooking.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

This park has pit toilets located at the Nicol Creek trailhead, Fish Lake campground, Fish Lake cabin and Coyote Creek campsite.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

At Fish Lake there is a public cabin with a woodstove accommodating 14-18 people; this is available for overnight use, on a first-come, first-served basis with stove included (fees of $15 per person or $30 per family are levied). However, please note that firewood is not provided from October-March. Use extreme caution when cutting wood. There are numerous designated campsites ($5 per person) located at Fish Lake. Please use the sanitary facilities that are supplied so that lake pollution can be prevented. The cabin is to be left in a tidy condition. Do not split firewood inside the cabin. No pets or smoking is allowed inside the cabin. Trees, dead or alive, are not to be cut for any reason.

When toilets are not available – bury human waste at least six inches in soil and 30 metres from water. To ensure drinking water is safe, it must be boiled for at least 5 minutes. Register a trip itinerary with friends, check in and check out. When practical, use impacted campsites, otherwise practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics. If you have a fire, build it on rocks, or remove sod, have fire, then replace sod.
Backcountry Camping Fee: $5.00 per person / night for all persons 6 years of age or older.
Backcountry Registration System
BC Parks Backcountry Registration System allows you to purchase a backcountry camping permit before leaving home. Although the system does not reserve a campsite, the system provides visitors the convenience of prepaying for their trip and not having to carry cash. We encourage all visitors to register online so we can reduce the need to collect fees in the field.
Winter Camping

Winter Camping

Winter camping is available depending on the accessibility to the trailhead via the Forest Service access road.
Backcountry Camping Fee: $5.00 per person / night for all persons 6 years of age or older.