This area within the Skeena Mountains ecosection offers some of the finest hiking opportunities in west-central British Columbia. Glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks and extensive sub-alpine meadows provide day and overnight hiking opportunities.
The area supports healthy populations of mountain goat, moose, marmot and many species of birds.
Rolling alpine plateaus, rugged mountains and an abundance of snow provides skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers with experiences for all skill levels.
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin (54°54'37.56"N x 126°53'10.73"W) is located in the Silver King Basin of the Babine Mountains. It is accessible via the Silver King Trail and is available to the public year-round. Please review the regulations below.
The cabin will sleep 15-20 people comfortably and is subject to the first-come, first-serve rule. Be prepared to sleep outside if the cabin is full.
The cabin is 9x8.5 metres (log construction), is heated by a wood stove (firewood provided) and is fitted with a gray water disposal system. There is a galvanized steel counter for visitors to operate their camp stoves on and a pit toilet located outside the cabin. There is a creek adjacent to the cabin for water. All water should be treated or filtered prior to drinking. There are sleeping bunks in the cabin but no mattresses or blankets are provided. Visitors are expected to bring their own cooking stoves, pots, and utensils. Please take everything that you bring up to the cabin out with you when you leave.
There is a backcountry fee charge of $10.00 per adult (age 16+) per night and children (age 6-15) at $5.00 per night . It can be paid in advance to BC Parks in Smithers or deposited into a fee vault box located at the cabin. The money generated from the cabin will assist BC Parks with ongoing maintenance of the facility and firewood costs.
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin was named in memory of local resident Joe L’Orsa, who spearheaded the effort to create a park in the Babines. This cabin was made possible through the donations of many local businesses in the area. Access to the cabin is via the Driftwood Road and the Silver King Trail.
Wilderness camping is allowed. There are rudimentary pit toilets located at Lower Reiseter lake, 6 km along the McCabe Trail, and 7.5 km along the Lyon Creek Trail. To reduce the spread of impacts in alpine areas, camp at these or other previously impacted sites. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics.
While campfires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using camp stoves instead, especially in alpine and subalpine environments. A fire ring is provided for outdoor fires behind the Joe L’Orsa cabin. Please use the wood provided in the wood shed and do not collect firewood from surrounding areas. When having fires in other parts of the park, please use dead, downed wood. Do not cut live vegetation. Please do not burn wood from old buildings.
Pit toilets are present at the summer parking lot on the Driftwood Road and at the Joe L’Orsa cabin.
Check for trail condition reports in the summer months. 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.
Fishing is allowed in the park at the Lower Reiseter Lake. Please read the BC Fishing Regulations and anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Bicycles are permitted on Harvey Mountain Trail, Silver King Basin Trail, Onion Mountain Road/Trail, Cronin Creek Road/Trail and Higgins Creek Trail. For further information please review sections on hiking and walking trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
For details on e-biking within Babine Mountains Provincial Park, see the e-biking section.
Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are permitted on signed or designated trails within Babine Mountains Provincial Park, provided they meet the definitions and criteria for e-bike use as outlined in the BC Parks cycling guidelines.
Horses are permitted on Harvey Mountain Trail, Silver King Basin Trail, Onion Mountain Road/Trail, Cronin Creek Road/Trail and Higgins Creek Trail. Horseback riders must have a written letter of permission before heading out on the Lyon Creek Trail. This can be obtained from BC Parks in Smithers. For further information please review sections on hiking and walking trails.
Hunting is allowed in the park. All hunters to the area should refer to the current BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis.
Babine Mountains Provincial Park contains significant avalanche terrain. Winter users should be well educated about avalanche terrain and managing risk while travelling in such terrain. Please refer to the Avalanche Canada website for information on current avalanche conditions, trips, and terrain ratings for this park.
Caution: Skiers and snowshoers may travel in the designated snowmobile area if they wish. If you choose to do so, yield to snowmobilers as you can hear them coming but they cannot hear you.
Notice: In the winter, the Driftwood Road is not plowed to the summer parking lot. It is an additional 4km from the winter parking lot to the summer parking lot, making the ski/snowshoe to the Joe L’Orsa Cabin substantially longer.
Silver King Basin: From the parking area north of Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, the trail follows an old mining road and climbs gradually through the heavily forested valley. Sunny Point is reached at 6 km, and at 12 km skiers reach the sub-alpine and views of the surrounding peaks. Exercise caution: under certain conditions there can be avalanche hazard from 12 km to near the Joe L’Orsa Cabin at approximately 13.5km.
Lyon Creek Trail and Harvey Mountain Trail: Ski tourers and snowshoers often use the Lyon Creek Trail and the Harvey Mountain Trail, which leave the Driftwood Road about 1.5 km and 4km beyond the winter parking lot respectively. A loop can be made by ascending the Lyon Creek Trail and coming back down the Harvey Mountain Trail.
Please Note: The Smithers Snowmobile Association will be collecting trail fees for use of the groomed snowmobiling trails leading to Onion Mountain Cabin and into Babine Mountains Park. Snowmobile club members, who obtain an annual membership, are not required to pay trail fees. For those who are not members, a $20.00 day pass is required. Fees go towards grooming the trail(s), maintaining emergency shelters, providing insurance and promoting avalanche awareness. Snowmobile day passes can be purchased in Smithers, at Trails North Powersports, Evergreen Industrial Supplies and Wayside Industries, and online from the SSA Website ( smitherssnowmobileassociation.com) and on the trail.
BC Parks, in consultation with various user groups, has designated certain areas for snowmobiling. View the Babine Mountains Snowmobile Map [PDF] and the Google Earth file of designated Babine Mountains snowmobile areas for more information. Please respect these boundaries. Skiers and snowshoers may be encountered travelling in the designated snowmobile area. If you choose to do so, yield to snowmobilers.
Ganokawa Basin Area: From the junction of Old Babine Lake Road and Babine Lake Road, follow the Old Babine Lake Road northwest (toward Smithers) about 3 km to the Onion Mountain Trail and parking area. This trail provides access to the Ganokwa Basin snowmobiling area. The Smithers Snowmobile Association grooms the trail and maintains the Burdette Cabin. Please contact the Smithers Snowmobile Association for information regarding cabin usage. Please refer to the information above regarding trail use fees for snowmobiling on the Onion Mountain Trail.
Harvey Mountain Viewpoint: The corridor to Harvey Mountain provides access to the viewpoint only. Please stay north of the posted boundary signs.
Cronin Creek Basin and Four Lakes Area: These two areas are accessible to snowmobiles by special permit only. A limited number of permits are available on an annual basis. For further information, please contact BC Parks in Smithers.
Access to the west end of the park is off of Old Babine Lake Road, which leaves Highway 16 just east of the Bulkley River bridge. Follow the signs to Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park. The summer parking lot and information map are located 7km north of Driftwood Canyon. From there, the road is not passable to vehicle traffic. The closest communities, towns and cities are Smithers and Telkwa.
To access the east end of the park, turn onto Babine Lake Road, 4 km east of Smithers on Highway #16. The Little Joe Creek and Cronin Creek trailheads are found at 30.5 km and 32.5 km respectively along the route.
Wood ticks are most prevalent between March and June. These parasites live in tall grass and low shrubs, and seek out warm-blooded hosts. As potential carriers of disease, they should be avoided. Protect your legs by wearing gaiters, or pants tucked into socks. After any outdoor activities, thoroughly examine yourself, children and pets. If you find a tick embedded in your skin, the best way to remove it is by grasping and pulling it, gently, straight up and out with a small pair of tweezers, and disinfecting the site with rubbing alcohol. You may wish to save the tick in a small plastic or glass container for later inspection by your doctor especially if a fever develops, or the area around the bite appears to be infected.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.