In This Park

Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Park Contact

Proudly operated by:
BC Parks
250 982-2701
Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Smoking is prohibited
During a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas of a park or protected area. Please read this Information Bulletin.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – South

Important Notice Attention Visitors – Important Notice!

  • September 7, 2018: Sugar Camp Creek Trail closed

    Due to wildfire damage, the Sugar Camp Creek Trail is closed until further notice.

  • September 7, 2018: The Rainbow Range area is now open to the public

    As there are still wildfires north of the Rainbow Range, visitors should be prepared to travel in smoky conditions, which can effect navigation in alpine areas. Please be prepared with GPS and/or map and compass. The Nuxalk-Carrier Grease/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail north of the Boyd Pass Trail will remain closed due to fires still burning in that area.

  • September 7, 2018: Facility Needs Assessment Underway

    BC Parks is seeking the views of park users as part of a study that is looking at current and potential future infrastructure that might be needed in the “Valley Corridor” of Tweedsmuir Park – South - that part of the park adjacent to Highway #20 below ‘The Hill’ and including the Tote Road.

    Would you like to see more or different kinds of trails in the Valley Corridor? What do you think of the day-use areas? The boat launches? Are there things that BC Parks could do that would encourage you to visit the Park more often or spend more time there?

    Considering all recreational activities during the different seasons of the year, the results of the study will help guide BC Parks infrastructure investments in the Valley Corridor over the next several years. Initiated by BC Parks Recreation Section for the Thompson-Cariboo Region, this work is being carried out with the assistance of a Bella Coola Valley consultant and NRG Research Group.

    Whether local area residents, tourism business operators, or visitors, here is an opportunity for everyone to have their say and express their views to BC Parks on infrastructure needs within the Valley Corridor of Tweedsmuir Park – South.

    Please visit this site to participate and complete the survey: www.BCParks.nrgsurveys.ca

    The public opinion survey will be available from April 3 through September 30, 2018.

    If you have any questions regarding this BC Parks study, please contact Joan Sawicki at parkcorridor@gmail.com.

    Thank you for your participation.

  • June 7, 2018: Tote Road and Stillwater Lake trailhead conditions update

    The Tote Road requires a 4x4 high clearance vehicle. Spring freshets and debris flow have damaged the road at Sugar Camp Creek, approximately 9km from Hwy 20.

    For park visitors accessing Stillwater Lake trailhead, please:

    • Do not park your vehicle near Sugar Camp Creek drainage or block the Tote Road with your parked vehicle.
    • Exercise extreme caution near Atnarko River tributaries during periods of heavy rain or snowmelt.

    Note the trail to Stillwater Lake has not yet been brushed. Expect to encounter windfall. For current conditions, please contact Mattias Morrison, Bella Coola Area Senior Park Ranger: 250 982-2701 ext. 2.

  • Bear Viewing

About This Park

Tweedsmuir South Provincial ParkPhotoGallery

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – South is one of the largest of B.C.’s several hundred parks. Located in the west-central region of the province, 480 km northwest of Vancouver as the crow flies, Tweedsmuir is roughly triangular in shape. It is bounded on the north and northwest by the Ootsa-Whitesail Lakes reservoir, on the west and southwest by the Coast Mountains, and on the east by the Interior Plateau.

Aside from offering some of the most spectacular scenery in North America, Tweedsmuir is a magnet for outdoor recreationists. Favourite activities include:

The Atnarko and Bella Coola Valleys provide critical habitat for bears and people need to be bear aware. Areas of the park are open to hunting during allotted seasons. Please consult and obey the British Columbia Hunting Regulations. Winter recreation is also popular at Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – South is partnered with Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – North.

Special Features: Shield volcanoes, Hunlen Falls, canoe chain and grizzly bears.

Established Date: May 21, 1938
Park Size: 989,616 hectares for the southern portion of Tweedsmuir Park.

Know Before You Go

See also Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – North

The backcountry of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is an isolated wilderness with infrequent patrols by park staff. You should be experienced in wilderness travel, fit and well equipped. Snow is possible any month of the year in the mountains. If you plan to hike overnight or longer you should inform a responsible person or agency of your intentions, including estimated return time and destination. As in any wilderness setting, persons should be prepared to be self-sufficient. For those new to the wilderness adventure tour, guides are available in the area.

Weather

Weather conditions in the park are as variable as the topography. Moderate temperatures and extensive rainfall characterize the lower reaches of the Bella Coola Valley. At Stuie near the junction of the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers, there is an average annual precipitation of 720 mm with about 20% of this being in the form of snow. The interior plateau receives a greater proportion of snow and its winters are more severe. Temperatures in the southern section of the park can drop to -40°C in January and reach 30°C in July. Summers are usually fairly dry with June, September and October being the wettest months.

Bear Safety

Grizzly and black bears range throughout the park, and grizzlies congregate on the Dean and Atnarko, and Bella Coola Rivers between May and October when salmon are in the river. People should be particularly cautious when fishing, hiking, and camping.

Please read the BC Parks Bear safety information.

Get more information on bear safety at Tweedsmuir [PDF].

Bear Viewing

  • Peak viewing season September 1 to October 15.
  • Belarko bear viewing platform operates September 1st to September 30.
  • Closure area: September 1 to October 15 only
    • Esker trail from Stuie to Fisheries Pool campground
      • Includes all areas upstream of fish counting tower and sunset bluffs.
    • Belarko boat launch except for use by departing or arriving non-motorized vessels

Commercial Services

Commercial recreation opportunities are available for the Turner Lake Chain (canoe rentals) and in and around the Atnarko River. Please visit the following non-government websites.

There are further tourist facilities and supplies at Bella Coola, Hagensborg, Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake. Please consult the British Columbia Accommodation Guide for details. This publication is available from Tourism British Columbia, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4.

Trails

Please note: Tote Road is access to the Hotnarko parking area, and is a 4x4 high clearance vehicle only road. Expect rocks, ditches and brushed-in conditions. Please come prepared.

Trails in the southern portion of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park are not being regularly maintained. Please be aware users may encounter fallen trees and trail wash outs. Extra caution is advised.

Please be aware that Rainbow Range trails are used by both horse users and hikers. Please respect each other’s use.

  1. BC Parks has cleared portions of the trail system in the Rainbow Range during the summer of 2016. The portions that have been cleared are: Rainbow Range parking lot to Crystal Lake, Rainbow Range Trail, Boyd Pass to Rainbow Cabin; Tweedsmuir trail from Rainbow Cabin to Octopus Lake, Octopus Lake trail and portions of the Nuxalk Carrier Grease/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage trail from Hump Lake to Hwy 20 and from Rainbow Cabin to the alpine areas. Please note that the remainder of the Nuxalk Carrier Grease/Mackenzie trail has not been maintained and is not recommended at this time. The Rainbow Cabin is in need of repairs at this time and should not be used for accommodation purposes.
  2. The Tweedsmuir trail (route) from Octopus Lake to Hwy 20 has not been maintained and is not recommended.

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 southern portion of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is located on Highway 20, approximately 400 kilometres west of Williams Lake, midway between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. The highway from Williams Lake consists of both gravel and paved sections and is well maintained; travel time is between 4 1/2 and 6 hours depending on your destination within the park and road conditions.

The "Hill" is the stretch of highway 20 between Heckman Pass and Atnarko campground. It has quite a reputation, since over 16 km it loses over 4000 feet in elevation. Local residents built it in the 1950s, after they had been told by the government of the time that it couldn’t be done. However, nowadays it is well-maintained by highways contractors, and, though steep (up to 18% grades), it is passable throughout the year.

The park can also be reached by way of the Discovery Coast passage ferry from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, or by float plane from Nimpo Lake, Anahim Lake or Bella Coola, or by hiking in the backcountry.

You can obtain fuel, basic supplies, and motel accommodation in Anahim Lake or Nimpo Lake. The nearest RCMP office is in Anahim Lake, where there is also a 24-hour medical clinic. The closest hospital is in Bella Coola, over an hour’s drive from the parking lot.

Topographic Maps

National Topographic Series Maps 92N/13, 93C/4, 93/5, 93C/12 and 13, 93D/8E and W and 93D/9 and 16 at a scale of 1:50,000 cover the Tweedsmuir 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.

Management Planning

Management Planning Information
  • Approved Master Plan for Tweedsmuir Provincial Park [PDF]
    Disclaimer:
    This is not the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.

Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

For a three to five day canoe trip through spectacular mountain scenery, try the Turner Lake Canoe Circuit, located south of Highway 20. The chain can be accessed via float plane from Nimpo Lake or by exiting Highway 20 onto Tote Road (12 km to trailhead), then by hiking for 16 km along the Hunlen Falls Trail. Canoe rentals and a campsite are available at Turner Lake. The canoe chain comprises approximately 18 km of lakes and 2.5 km of rivers and creeks. The portages are short, with the longest being 1 km. A fee is charged for camping. For more information on canoe rentals and access to the Turner Lake Chain, please check the following non-government website.
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

There are extensive fishing opportunities at this park. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

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.
  • July 19, 2018: Grizzly Bear Safety

    Rainbow Range – on July 19, a grizzly bear at M Lake Campground approached hikers and gained access to their backpacks. M Lake (McCauley Lake) is located approximately 6 km north of the Rainbow Range Trailhead.

    Hikers should be prepared with bear spray. Please carry the bear spray accessible on your person at all times. Please report any bear encounters in this area to BC Parks at 250 982-2701, extension 8.

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Recreational horse use is permissible in the Rainbow Range. This terrain is recommended for experienced riders only (see the Rainbow Range map, which has trails suitable for horses marked as such).
Hunting

Hunting

The park is open to hunting in certain areas of the park. Please refer to the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis for more information.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

If you must bring your pets into the backcountry, they must be kept 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.
Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is not recommended in the Bella Coola and Atnarko Rivers at the campgrounds. However, the alpine and subalpine lakes you encounter in the backcountry are delightful for swimming (though cold), especially from the white sand beaches of the Turner Lake Canoe Chain.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

The Atnarko/Highway 20 corridor of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is an area of excellent bear habitat and healthy populations of both grizzly and black bears. The platform is open from September 1st until September 30th with daily openings starting 7a.m. until 7p.m. Please click here to view the Belarko Wildlife viewing platform poster [PDF]

Bear Viewing Closure Areas

Closure area: September 1 to October 15 only

  • Esker Trail from Stuie to Fisheries Pool campground
    • Includes all areas upstream of fish counting tower and Sunset bluffs.
  • Belarko boat launch except for use by departing or arriving non-motorized vessels
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

There are downhill skiing opportunities in this park; a tow rope is operated by the Tweedsmuir Ski Club on Sundays during the winter. It is located approximately 3 km from the parking lot at the Rainbow Range trailhead.

There are approximately 15 km of set cross country skiing trails at the Rainbow Range trailhead during the winter. These are maintained by the Tweedsmuir Ski Club. There are snowmobiling opportunities in the Rainbow Range.

Facilities Available at this Park

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

There are single-wide car-top boat launches at Fisheries Pool Campground and Belarko boat launch along Highway 20. There is limited space available for parking at both boat launches.
Cabins / Huts

Cabins / Huts

The Rainbow cabin is located in the Mackenzie Valley below Boyd Pass. It is very rustic and without any sleeping platforms. It does, however, have a wood stove. It is only available in the summer and people should be prepared to camp outside in the event that the cabin is full. There is no charge to stay in this cabin and no bookings are needed in order to use the cabin.

The Tweedsmuir Ski Club operates a cabin close to the downhill ski area. Overnight stays can be reserved by calling the club at 250 982-2231. The Rainbow cabin, located in the Mackenzie Valley, is for emergency use only. Free winter camping is permitted in the Rainbow Range parking lot. There is an outhouse, but you must either bring your own drinking water or melt snow.

Campfires

Campfires

Vehicle accessible campgrounds: Firewood can be purchased from the park operator at the campgrounds, or you can bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t 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. You can conserve firewood and improve air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented and some parks may use communal fire rings. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.

Backcountry camping: If you must have a fire in the backcountry, please burn only dead and down wood and be sure to extinguish the fire fully. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil so please use it conservatively, if at all. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.

Drinking Water

Drinking Water

There are water handpumps in the campgrounds and a water tap at the sani-station; the water at the sani-station is not suitable for drinking. In the backcountry, bring your own drinking water or be prepared to treat surface water, as potable water is not available in the park.
Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

This park has 4 picnic areas that have picnic tables and pit toilets. Locations along Highway 20 are (from east to west): at Rainbow Range trailhead, Big Rock/Kettle Pond, Fisheries Pool and Mackenzie Heritage/Grease trailhead.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit toilets are located throughout the park and flush toilets are located near the sani-station.
Sani-Station/Dump

Sani-Station/Dump

A sani-station is located near Atnarko campground, and is available during the camping season for a fee.The water at the sani-station is not suitable for drinking or washing.
Sani-station Use Fee: $5.00 per discharge
Vehicle Accessible Camping

Vehicle Accessible Camping

This park offers 24 vehicle accessible and 2 tenting campsites on a first-come, first-served basis; campsite reservations are not accepted.

Tweedsmuir Provincial park contains two vehicle-access campgrounds, both located on Highway 20:

Atnarko Campground

  • Atnarko offers 15 campsites nestled amongst an old-growth forest (on the Atnarko River at the bottom of “the Hill”).

Fisheries Pool Campground

  • Fisheries Pool, (situated near Stuie and the site of an old fish hatchery run by DFO), attracts lots of anglers to its 9 high-density open campsites and 2 tenting campsites.
  • June 7, 2018: Fisheries Pool Campground Community Celebration Event: June 24, 2018

    Stuwicmc Staltmc Lhkw'anaats Conrad Clellamin, in collaboration with BC Parks, is inviting the community to witness the blessing and raising of the Belarko Welcome Pole, and the blessing of the Fisheries Pool Shelter and unveiling of its carved doors.

    This community celebration is taking place on Sunday, June 24, 2018.  You are invited to arrive at Belarko Wildlife Viewing Area at 10:30 am.  The ceremony will begin at 11:00 am.

    Following the blessing of the Welcome Pole, carved by Nuxalk Carver Lyle Mack, the community will raise and set the pole.  Strong, able-bodied community members are asked to assist with the pole raising. Nuxalk singers are also requested to attend and bring drums.

    Following the Welcome Pole ceremony, we will move to the Fisheries Pool site to bless the new Fisheries Pool Shelter building and unveil the stories held in its cedar doors, carved by Nuxalk Master Carver Qwaxwqwaxwanm Alvin Mack. After the ceremonies, we invite you to join us in sharing a meal around a fire.

There is parking available for extra vehicles at the Atnarko campground, but not at Fisheries Pool. It is often difficult for big rigs to turn around when the park is full.

If staff are not available when you arrive at the campground, choose your site and pay later. Staff will be at the campground at least once a day during the camping season. The closest store is approximately 50 km away in Hagensborg.

Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $20.00 per party/night
BC Senior’s rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $10.00 per senior party/night. Read the user fees policy for information on senior camping discounts.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

There are many primitive campsites dotted throughout the park; please read the hiking page for more details. Some provide facilities such as pit toilets and bear caches; others are more basic. The wilderness sites are open year-round when accessible. In the Rainbow Range and the Ptarmigan Lake areas, the campsites marked on the map have at least minimal facilities – pit toilets and some have bear caches. Please use these sites as you will have less impact on the delicate alpine environment. Please read and observe “Leave No Trace” ethics.

At the Turner Lake/Hunlen Falls area, sites are designated, and more developed; bear caches and outhouses are provided. The gate to the Turner Lake Chain is open from June 15 – September 15 and the portage will open dependent on water levels.

Backcountry Camping Fee: $5.00 per person / night for all persons 6 years of age or older.

Backcountry Registration System

BC Parks Discover Camping 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.