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Advisories

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Total number of campsites
Total vehicle-accessible sites: 24
Total walk-in sites: 2
Backcountry camping

At the Turner Lake and Hunlen Falls area, there are designated camping sites with bear caches and outhouses. 

Backcountry camping fee is $5 per person per night (age 6+)

The BC Parks backcountry permit registration service allows you to purchase a backcountry camping permit before leaving home. Although this does not reserve a campsite, it provides the convenience of prepaying for your 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.

Wilderness camping is also available in this park.

Cabins and huts

The Rainbow cabin is in the Mackenzie Valley below Boyd Pass. In the summer of 2019 the historic Rainbow Cabin was overhauled by a team of ranger, student ranger and volunteers and is open to backcountry travellers. It has a new roof, windows, floor, wood stove, bunk beds, an outdoor counter and wash up area. There is a primitive pit toilet and a bear cache available nearby. The cabin 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 it.

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. During the winter, 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.

Vehicle-accessible camping

This park offers 24 vehicle-accessible campsites and two tenting campsites. All are available on a first come, first served basis located on Highway 20.

The Atnarko campground offers 15 campsites nestled amongst an old-growth forest on the Atnarko River, at the bottom of “the Hill”. 

The Fisheries Pool campground is situated near Stuie and the site of an old fish hatchery (run by DFO). It attracts lots of anglers to its nine high-density, open campsites and two tenting campsites. Fisheries Pool has a self-registration kiosk. Please display your permit (from the registration envelope) on your vehicle dashboard. Staff will be at the campground at least once a day during the camping season.

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. 

Both facilities contain water, firepits, tables, firewood, and accessible pit toilets. Most trailers and recreational vehicles can be accommodated although no hook-ups are provided. There is also a sani-station open from May 1 to October 15. 

 The closest store is approximately 50km away in Hagensborg.

Vehicle-accessible camping fee$20 per party per night
BC seniors’ rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only)$10 per senior party per night

For information on the BC seniors’ rate, see the camping fees page. 

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 Ptarmigan Lake areas, the campsites marked on the map have at least minimal facilities. There are 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.

The Rainbow Range north of Highway 20, offers a network of excellent backpacking and horsepacking trails as well as wilderness campsites. There are incredible views of the surrounding Coast Range Mountains from the open, sub-alpine meadows. 

  • On the Rainbow Day-Use Trail there is some overnight camping but no facilities at the lake. 
  • On the Crystal Lake Trail there are campsites at Lester's Camp on Young Creek and on the lakeshore at Crystal Lake. 
  • Boyd Pass area has the newly restored Rainbow Cabin (aka, Mackenzie and Walker cabin); there is a bear cache and a primitive pit toilet. 
  • Octopus Lake Trail provides Octopus Lake Hikers Camp (bugs are very bad in July and August). A horse camp is on the opposite side of the trail 1km to the west of the lakeshore. 
Accessibility information

Accessibility information is available for these areas of the park:

Drinking water

There are water handpumps in the campgrounds.

There is a water tap and grey water system at Fisheries Pool. Boil or treat water before drinking. Use the grey water system for cleaning dishes only. Strain and deposit food scraps in the bear proof garbage bins.

 The water tap at the sani-station is not suitable for drinking. 

In the backcountry, bring your own drinking water, or boil or treat water before drinking.

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.

Sani-station

The Tweedsmuir Park (South) sani-station is open for use from June 15 to October 15, when the campground is operational. The sani-station use fee is $5 per discharge and only loonies and toonies are accepted.

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. 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.

Picnic areas

This park has 5 picnic areas that have picnic tables and pit toilets. Locations along Highway 20 are from east to west: 

  • Rainbow Range trailhead
  • Camera Channel day-use area
  • Fisheries Pool
  • Stupendous Lookout 
  • Nuxalk-Carrier Grease/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage trailhead.
Pit or flush toilets

Pit toilets are located throughout the park and flush toilets are located near the sani-station.

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. 

Please view the trail information page for more information on the various trails of this park.

Swimming

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

Canoeing

The Turner Lake Canoe Circuit is a three to five day canoe trip through spectacular mountain scenery located south of Highway 20. The canoe chain comprises approximately 18km of lakes and 2.5km of rivers and creeks. The portages are short, with the longest being 1 km. The gate to the Turner Lake Chain is open from June 15 to September 15.

The chain can be accessed via float plane from Nimpo Lake or by exiting Highway 20 onto Tote Road (12km to trailhead), then by hiking for 16km along the Hunlen Falls Trail. 

Canoe rentals and a campsite are available at Turner Lake.  A fee is charged for camping. For more information on canoe rentals and access to the Turner Lake Chain, please contact us.

Fishing

There are extensive fishing opportunities at this park.  Pink, chinook, and coho salmon, as well as char, trout, and white fish are caught in the Bella Coola and Atnarko Rivers. The Dean River is renowned for its fly fishing. 

The backcountry lakes and rivers provide some excellent sport fishing for coastal cutthroat along the Turner Lake Canoe Circuit. The lakes of the area can be fished for Dolly Varden, cutthroat and rainbow trout. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.

There is a trailhead just before you reach the Fisheries Pool campground. This 1km trail leads to a popular fishing hole, but take great caution as it is also very popular with bears. 

Wildlife viewing

The corridor of Atnarko and Highway 20 has healthy populations of both grizzly and black bears. Grizzlies congregate on the Dean, Atnarko, and Bella Coola Rivers between May and October when salmon are in the river. 

BC Parks and the Nuxalk Nation co-operate a wildlife viewing platform within the park, which wildlife viewers are encouraged to use. The platform is accessible from September 1 to September 30. Open daily from 7am to 7pm.

  • Peak viewing season is September 1 to October 15.
  • Fisheries Pool is not a designated bear viewing area. Visitors are strongly encouraged to use the Belarko Wildlife Viewing Area. 
  • The day use area at Fisheries Pool is a multiuse area. Bear viewers use at their own risk.
  • Belarko Wildlife viewing platform poster [PDF] 

Please be aware of the closure areas from September 1 to October 15 only:

  • Esker Trail from Stuie to Fisheries Pool campground (this includes all areas upstream of fish counting tower and Sunset bluffs).
  • Confluence Trail at Fisheries Pool, 30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunrise
  • Belarko boat launch except for use by departing or arriving non-motorized vessels
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 the potential for problems with bears and other wildlife. 

Cycling

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

Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within Tweedsmuir Park (South). E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy will be for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.

Hunting

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

Winter recreation

Skiing

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 3km from the parking lot at the Rainbow Range trailhead.

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

Snowmobiling

An area is zoned for snowmobiling at Heckman Pass. Snowmobiling is not permitted elsewhere in the park. The snowmobile area is accessed through the Rainbow Range trailhead, about 40km west of Anahim Lake on Highway 20. 

View a map of the snowmobiling area.

The Rainbow Range is the winter home of a large herd of woodland caribou and mountain goats. Both these populations are considered threatened, and animals are easily disturbed by recreationists. 

In winter, caribou favour open windward slopes where snow is thin and they can access their staple food, ground lichens. However, caribou will sometimes use deep snow for lift to reach lichens hanging from tree branches. Mountain goats also eat exposed vegetation, and tend to stay near the steep rocky terrain they use for an escape route. They can become particularly stressed when approached from above. 

If you go, please read and observe the following:

  • Stay within the snowmobile boundary shown on the map. This area is regularly patrolled by BC parks staff.
  • Use only the designated snowmobile trail to access the overnight cabin, ski hill, and snowmobile area.
  • Carry out all your garbage.
  • Stay clear of ski trails.
  • Never run your machine over areas bare of snow, as this can destroy the lichens on which the caribou depend.
  • Avoid snowmobiling over exposed tree tops.

Use the following procedures around wildlife:

  • If you observe caribou or goat tracks, do not follow the tracks.
  • If you see caribou or goats, do not approach them. Turn off your snowmobile and allow the animals to move away quietly.
  • After animals have departed, leave the area. Make every effort to minimize disturbance.
  • Chasing wildlife on a snowmobile can be fatal for the animals, who often die of exhaustion after struggling through deep snow. 

Safety

Anywhere there is snow lying on a slope, there is the possibility of an avalanche. These snow torrents are deadly and deserve the utmost respect. Take an avalanche safety course and be aware of weather forecasts and snow conditions. For more avalanche information, contact the Canadian Avalanche Association. Each person should carry rescue gear: shovel, probe, and avalanche rescue beacon.

Suffocation is a common cause of death after being buried by an avalanche. It is crucial to find the victim within minutes. The use of beacons greatly increases the likelihood of survival. Probe and shovel are necessary because avalanche debris sets up like concrete, making digging very strenuous.

The Rainbow Range is very remote and is subject to sever winter weather. Snowmobilers should prepare for emergencies such as breakdowns and injuries by carrying tools, spare parts, extra gas and oil, a first aid kit and survival gear including a portable stove.

Facilities

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.

Map

1:50,000 NTS topographic maps include: 93C/12