Babine Mountains Provincial Park in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada is a wilderness outdoor playground enjoyed by many located north of the community of Smithers. Year round, people travel to the Babine Mountains Provincial Park to explore one of the many trails in the region leading to majestic mountain peaks, valley meadows, alpine forests, crashing rivers and pristine lakes.
The Babine Mountain Park trail system is a very well marked network of routes used by hikers, backpackers, wilderness campers, fly fisherman, mountain bikers and horseback riders in the summer and by xc skiers, snowshoers, tele-skiers and snowmobiles in the winter.
Selected activities like snowmobiling and mountain biking are permitted in selected areas only. Some areas require a special permit to access. It is very important to note when planning a trip into this wilderness park that you obey all trail signs in the park meaning, not all trails permit all kinds of activities. So plan your route.
The region covers over 31,476 hectares (80,000 acres) of wilderness space. An environment enjoyed and explored by both human and wildlife. At the higher elevations the eco system consists of sprawling sub-boreal spruce and alpine tundra plateaus backed by jagged mountain peaks and glacier fed lakes. Then at the lower elevations, sub alpine meadows are covered with trees like the white spruce, sub alpine fir, lodgepole pine, aspen and whitebark pine.
Most of the trails in the Babine Provincial Park permit hiking during the spring, summer and fall months. Harvey Mountain Trail and the Lyon Creek Trail tend to be the more popular day hiking routes. Not all trails are day hikes, some are multi day hikes with wilderness camping opportunities. While some hikers, when exploring the area, will also make time to drop in and explore the fossils in the Driftwood Canyon Park which is located just a few minutes south of the Babine.
Fishing is permitted only at the Lower Reiseter Lake in the park. Be prepared to show your fishing license if necessary. Mountain biking and horseback riding is mainly enjoyed and restricted to the Silver King Basin Trail, Harvey Mountain Trail, Cronin Creek Road/Trail, Onion Mountain Road/Trail and Higgins Creek Trail. Do not venture off trail as you will cause damage to the sensitive vegetation in the area.
In the winter the park usually is covered in a blanket pf powder snow. A time when many of the hiking trails become snow trails. Snowshoeing, tele-skiing and x-country is best explored throughout the Silver King Basin and Cronin Creek Basin areas or by following the Lyon Creek Trail and Harvey Mountain Trail. The Ganokwa Basin and around Little Joe Lakes becomes the designated snowmobile area in the park. Always be avalanche aware when exploring the alpine in the winter!
The Babine Mountain Park is vast. There are many routes that require more than one day to complete. Therefore some of these long haul routes are equipped with warming huts or cabins along the trail used for overnight accommodations in every season. The Joe L’Orsa, Burdette and Onion Trail Cabins to name a few.
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin is located in the Silver King Basin accessed best by the Silver King Trail. The cabin sleeps up to 20 people and is heated by a wood stove with firewood provided. The environment is a sensitive issue in the mountains so the cabin is outfitted with a a gray water disposal system, galvanized steel counter for camp stoves and a pit toilet outside.
There are pit toilets and picnic tables in the main parking lot located within the park at the Silver King Basin Trailhead. There are also pit toilets located at the entrances to some of the trails in the park. There are no motorized vehicles permitted on the trail system.
When exploring the Babine keep an eye out for wildlife (wildlife viewing depends on seasons) like mountain goats, grizzly bears, moose, black bears, ground squirrels, wolverines, marmots and deer.