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Mount Edziza Provincial Park
About This Park
Mount Edziza Provincial Park encompasses over 230,000 hectares of the Tahltan Highlands in northwestern British Columbia. This remote park showcases a spectacular volcanic landscape that includes lava flows, basalt plateaus, cinder fields and cinder cones.
Mount Edziza itself, (peak elevation 2,787 meters) is a composite volcano consisting of thin basalt flows and a central dome of andesite, dacite and rhyolite with a glaciated crater nearly 2,500 meters in diameter. The eruption that built the mountain and its central cone began approxmiately four million years ago. Successive lava flows raised the dome above the encircling plateau and spread lava over an area 65 kilometers by 25 kilometers. The last basalt flow occurred only 10,000 years ago, at which time it solidified in place and plugged the central vent.
In the years since Mount Edziza became dormant, numerous small eruptions have taken place around it, creating more than 30 cinder cones. Perfectly symmetrical Eve Cone rises 150 meters above the plateau, as do Coffee and Cocoa craters, aptly named for their deep colours. It is estimated that these cones were formed no more than 1,300 years ago and are basically unaltered by erosion.
There are also five lakes of significant size within the park. Mowdade, Mowchilla, Kakiddi and Nuttlude form a chain along the eastern boundary, while Buckley Lake is on the northern border. All the lakes except Mowdade drain north into the Klastline River, a tributary of the Stikine.
To the south, Raspberry Pass separates the Edziza area from the Spectrum Range. Formed from lava flows, these mountains are named for their brilliant red, yellow, white and purple rock. This altered rhyolite resulted from staining by sulphurous mineral waters. Subsequent erosion has resulted in the combination of many hues, giving the landscape the appearance of a vast water colour. There is no vehicle access to Mount Edziza Provincial Park, and there are only a very few basic facilities. This isolated wilderness area, accessible by hiking trails or a float plane, offers wilderness camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, nature study, and wildlife viewing.
Established Date: July 27, 1972
Park Size: 266,180 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Motorized vehicles are not permitted within this park for the protection of the very sensitive landscapes, plants and animals of the area.
- Any visitors wishing to fish/angle in BC Parks on the Highway 37 corridor should strongly consider obtaining a BC Freshwater Fishing Licence while they have access to internet and a printer, there are very limited opportunities to obtain a fishing licence on the Highway 37 corridor.
- Carry proper equipment
Satellite communication devices are recommended when backcountry recreating. A communication device will allow you to alert others to an emergency situation or if you are overdue at your destination. This equipment is an essential part of your survival kit and should be compatible with your activities and location.
Bear-proof containers are recommended for the safe storage of food above the tree line. There are bear-proof metal caches available for public use located at Mowdade and Buckley Lakes. Bear deterrents such as bear spray and or bear bangers should be carried on your person at all times in case an encounter does occur.
- Park access
Access trails into Mount Edziza Park are not maintained and are overgrown in sections. Creek crossings may not have bridges, so use caution.
Summer is short at Mount Edziza Provincial Park, where snow lingers year-round on Mount Edziza itself. Although temperatures may hit the 30°C range in mid-summer during the day, it can drop below freezing that same night. Snow and freezing rain are possible any day of the year. Generally, weather suitable for backpacking occurs between July 1 and September 15. Be prepared for adverse weather conditions that can include white-outs and high winds. Be sure to factor weather into your trip plans.
Snow packs can obscure the trail on the plateau and cause the creeks to rise suddenly on warm days. Always use extreme caution when crossing creeks.
This is an isolated wilderness area with no facilities and visitors are very much on their own. Suitable clothing offering protection from wind, cold and rain are essential, as well as equipment for outdoor living. Travelers should be equipped with a compass and topographic maps (see above) for the routes they plan to travel. It should be noted, however, that on the plateau, magnetic properties in the rocks may affect the accuracy of your compass.
If you have questions or can provide information about current conditions or hazards within the Stikine Area, please contact the BC Parks Stikine Area office, at 250 771-4591. Thank you for your cooperation.
Stay on the trail
- Hiking or taking shortcuts through the lava fields is not recommended because it is very difficult and potentially unsafe.
- The volcanic cinder cones on Edziza Plateau are delicate and subject to surface scarring from foot traffic. If you must climb Eve’s Cone or other cinder cones, please stay on established routes. A designated route has been established on the north-east ridge of Eve’s Cone.
Stay safe in bear country
- Store all food and attractants in a personal bear-proof container or in a bear-cache if provided. (Caches currently only exist at Mowdade and Buckley Lakes)
- Food/attractants must be stored properly anytime you are away from your campsite and during the night
- Cook meals and store food/attractants at least 50m away from your tent
- Carry and know how to properly use bear deterrents, such as bear spray and bear bangers
- Never approach or feed bears – stay at least 200m away at all times
- Report ALL bear sightings and encounters to BC Parks Stikine Area (250-771-4591) or via the RAPP Line (1-877-952-7277)
- Please reference Section 27 (1) and (2) as well as Schedule A of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulations.
- Private aircraft are permitted to land within the park, with the exception of the lava flows (on the Kitsu Plateau situated south-southwest of Raspberry Pass) at Mount Edziza Park, from an elevation of 5,500 feet or higher. A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is required for landing on Buckley Lake, Mowchilla Lake, Little Ball Lake and Little Arctic Lake. To obtain an LOA, please contact the BC Parks Stikine Senior Park Ranger at 250 771-4591 ext.2 or Michael.Janzen@gov.bc.ca
- Any commercial air charter must hold a valid Park Use Permit to land (on water or grounds) within BC Parks.
- Only permitted air charter companies are authorized to fly into Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
- Alpine Lakes Air Ltd.
- BC Yukon Air
- BC Parks requests that extreme care be taken to preserve the extraordinary landscape and ecosystem within Mt. Edziza. In an effort to minimize disturbance to wildlife, please maintain a distance of more than 1,500m line of sight/500m vertical from all wildlife and use terrain masking techniques where the weather conditions make this impossible. Take offs/landings are not permitted on sensitive areas (i.e. lava flows, calcite deposits, hot springs etc.) and volcanic cones/features throughout the Park. Park visitors should report any obvious signs of aircraft disregard or damage (i.e. tire tracks, skid tracks, rotor wash damage etc.) to sensitive areas and volcanic cones/features. Observations and/or photos can be submitted to the BC Parks Stikine Area office on Telegraph Creek Road, or via telephone at 250 771-4591.
- A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is required for visitors who wish to use horses within Mount Edziza Provincial Park. There is a mandatory “weed-free feed” requirement for any horses entering the northern parks, meaning that horses must be fed certified weed-free pellets for 72 hours prior to entering the park and throughout the duration of their stay within the park. The primary reason for the weed-free feed requirement is the growing concern of introducing invasive plant species (either through non-permitted feed or horse droppings) into a natural and pristine ecosystem in the park. To obtain an LOA, please contact the BC Parks Stikine Senior Park Ranger at 250 771-4591 ext.2. If there is no answer, please leave a detailed message stating your request for an LOA, your name, contact information and the date you wish to visit the park.
National Topographic Series Map Sheets 104G/7/8W/9W/1014E/15E/15W and 16W, all at a scale of 1:50,000, cover the Mount Edziza area. These maps are available from most map retailers in British Columbia.
Access to Mount Edziza Provincial Park comes via several overland hiking routes or through one of the air charter companies that service the area. Overland routes are not regularly maintained, and knowledge of the area is required to safely use these routes. Contact the Stikine Area BC Parks office at 250 771-4591 for up-to-date information.
Nature and Culture
- History: On the east bank of Mess Creek and through Raspberry Pass are the remnants of the Yukon Telegraph line which was constructed to provide a communications link as far north as Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. The telegraph line was in use until 1936 when it was replaced by radio.All that remains are a few poles and collapsed line cabins which once stood every 32 kilometres along the route. The trail is overgrown and no longer passable.
- Cultural Heritage: Since time immemorial, the area was heavily used by Indigenous peoples, who manufactured obsidian cutting blades and projectile points and traded them throughout northwest America. The area is still culturally significant for the Tahltan Nation today. Archaeological finds (including obsidian, tools, and other artifacts) are to be left in place and reported to the local BC Parks or Tahltan Central Government office.
- Conservation: Along the park’s western boundary, Mess Creek flows north to enter the Stikine River three kilometres below the community of Telegraph Creek. Eleven kilometres upstream from this confluence, Mess Creek plunges into a gorge nearly 800 metres deep. To the north of the park boundary, the Stikine River, which means "Great River" in the language of the Tlingit, has carved a tremendous, Grand Canyon-style passage through eons of volcanic and sedimentary rock deposits. Tree types and vegetation will change with elevations. Telegraph Creek to Buckley Lake area is characterized by a mosaic of shrub fields, wet grasslands and peat meadows. This zone has long, severe winters with deeply frozen soils and short growing seasons. The forests in the lower elevation valleys, Mess Creek and the Kakiddi/Klastline drainage are composed of white spruce as the dominant conifer with an intermixing of lodgepole pine and trembling aspen on the drier sites. On the wetter sites, balsam poplar is also found, often adjacent to creeks, lakes and on delta soils. At elevation between 900 and 1800 metres, the winters are cold and snowy, the summers are short and warm. The soils in this area are commonly frozen before snowfall.
- Wildlife: Moose populate the area, and small herds of Osborn caribou may be seen in the alpine and sub-alpine vegetation zones on the west side of the plateau between Mount Edziza and the western escarpment. Mountain goats and Stone's sheep can often be viewed on the south, east and west slopes of Mount Edziza, particularly on the western escarpment and in the Spectrum Range. Visitors may encounter black and grizzly bears. Grizzlies are occasionally seen above timberline where Arctic ground squirrels are abundant. Wolves are sometimes seen or heard. Buckley Lake supports a large waterfowl and shorebird population, which are but a portion of the wide variety of bird species that can be seen in the park. The more conspicuous birds in Mount Edziza include the raven, owl, gyrfalcon, ptarmigan (willow and rock), grouse and migratory songbirds. Typical waterfowl species include goldeneye, grebe, white winged scooter and scaup.
Activities Available at this Park
A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is required for visitors who wish to use horses within Mount Edziza Provincial Park. See the Know Before You Go section for details.
Hunting is permitted within Mount Edziza Park. Please note that the hunting of caribou, mountain sheep, and mountain goat in the park is by Limited Entry Hunting Authorization only. Please refer to the current British Columbia Hunting Regulations synopsis and Limited Entry Hunting synopsis for LEH area boundary maps. Please refer to the hunting synopsis for additional information on seasons and bag limits.
Links to the BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis and Limited Entry Hunting Regulations Synopsis are available on the BC Parks Fishing and Hunting page.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals in the frontcountry must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. Pet owners are responsible for pet behaviour and must dispose of excrement in a manner that is not a public inconvenience or annoyance. In backcountry areas larger than 2,000ha, pets are permitted off leash and under control. Please refer to the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulations (Section 19) for more information.
Facilities Available at this Park
Check for campfire bans and the fire Danger Rating for the area you are visiting before lighting a fire in the backcountry. To maintain a healthy ecosystem community, please don’t gather firewood from the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and contributes to healthy and fertile soils.For more information on campfires in the backcountry.
Always carry a cooking stove, use fire rings, and only build a fire when necessary. Keep fires limited to locations where they will not cause environmental damage.