Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, British Columbia, Canada in the Central Coast Region is a rugged, wilderness park providing amazing scenery and adventure. The park is so large it is divided into two parts - a North and South Tweedsmuir. Both beautiful, both wild and together cover over 981,000 hectares of wilderness backcountry.
Some of the summer activities enjoyed include long haul backpack trips, canoe portages, day hikes, wilderness camping opportunities, horseback riding and fishing trips. During the winter a blanket of powder snow covers the trees, rivers and lakes. It is then, when the park trails easily become snowshoe, cross country ski and snowmobile routes. Then there is the glaciers and mountain peaks which become popular heli skiing drop zones for some prime powder skiing and snowboarding.
The two communities of Bella Coola and Hagensborg on Hwy 20 reside on the west side of South Tweedsmuir Park which explores high mountain views of the Rainbow Range and gravel road switchbacks (The Hill) dropping into a lush valley of west coast forests and tumbling rivers.
On the east side of South Tweedsmuir Park, accessed by Highway 20, are the communities of Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake. Just past the recreation community of Anahim Lake the paved Highway 20 turns gravel. The road slowly explores the alpine forests of the Chilcotin Plateau leading to Heckman's Pass.
The three most popular wilderness adventure destinations include the Rainbow Range Trails, Hunlen Falls and the Turner Lake Canoe Paddle Route. The Park Headquarters and the Antarko Provincial Campground are where you can access many of the trails in the region. Both are located at the bottom of the "The Hill" on the Bella Coola side after the gravel road turns back to pavement.
Rainbow Range Trailhead is located near Heckman's Pass on Highway 20, north of the Park Headquarters. It connects to a network of trails including the Crystal Lake, Octopus Lake, Capoose, Tweedsmuir and the historic Alexander MacKenzie Trails. The Tweedsmuir and the Alexander MacKenzie Trailheads can also be accessed south of the Park Headquarters on Highway 20.
The Rainbow Range trail network is an opportunity to view mountain peaks like Mount Walker, King Mountain and Mount MacKenzie.. while exploring along rivers, valleys and plateaus leading to lakes like Fish, Octopus, Crystal, Sitkatapa and Bead Lakes. The trails permit hiking, backpacking and horseback riding only. Along the routes please stay on the trail and use the designated wilderness campsites (pack in - pack out) with pit toilets and, many, provide food caches.
The Hunlen Falls and Turner Lake Canoe Paddle Route begins on Tote Road located just before the Park Headquarters and the campground. Some start here as the road is 4x4 only, others with 4x4s can drive Tote Road to the upper parking lot near the Hotnarko River and the Hunlen Falls-Turner Lakes Trailhead. The 16.4 kilometre Hunlen Falls Trail leads to Turner Lake, the Tweedsmuir Wilderness Campground and a host of other trails.
From Turner Lake canoes start paddling and backpackers start hiking other trails. The canoe paddle route is best enjoyed starting from one of the fly-in resorts located on Turner Lake, as portaging a canoe along Hunlen Lake Trail is a looong portage. Air transport companies - many from Nimpo Lake - will fly groups into the lodges accessing the Turner Lake Canoe Paddle Route.
The other hiking trails from Turner Lake include the Ptarmigan Lake, Panorama Lake and Junker Lake Trails. The trails explore a series of lakes connected by creeks and rivers surrounded by mountains like Marvin, Caribou and Glacier Mountains. Located along the trails and the canoe route is a series of wilderness campsites with pit toilets and, in many cases, food caches. Must have a valid fishing license to fish in the lakes in this park.
The Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is a gem of a wilderness experience. But it is a gem that requires good equipment, good health and good preparation as weather changes quickly and conditions can be rough. Some of the great viewpoints also can be accessed by tour groups by helicopter. During the winter some provide air transportation for heli skiing opportunities in the park.
The park is also home to much wildlife including black and grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, deer, beaver, mountain goats, caribou, moose and more. Be aware and and make noise in bear country. Bears usually are active in the morning and evening, plan accordingly.