Where is Chilcotin Ranges on map

North America

Highways and Roads Atlas


Chilcotin Ranges

Wild sedge, bunch grass, open rangeland-this is the heart of the Chilcotin Ranges, an almost uninhabited plateau of lake-studded rolling hills between the jagged snowcapped Coast Mountains to the west and the mighty Fraser River to the east. Cowboys first tamed the Chilcotin, and cattle ranching has been a mainstay along the Fraser since the 1860s. Gang Ranch and spectacular Chilko Lake are the two main features of the region. Whether you hike, fish, kayak, or camp, the Chilcotin's fiercely beautiful sites will amaze you.

Rapids on the Chilko River

Gang Ranch [B6] Once the largest cattle ranch in North America-and at over 400,000 hectares it is still one of the continent's biggest working ranches-The Gang Ranch began in the 1860s, when the Harper brothers drove their herd of cattle from the U.S. to B.C. for the Gold Rush. Like many others, they stayed. It is believed that the ranch got its name from the multibladed gangplow the Harpers used. Ranch headquarters are about 8 km west of the junction of the Empire Valley and Gang Ranch Roads. There's a cookhouse, bunkhouse, post office, one-room school, and a small guest house, all painted red. Although there are no visitor accommodations, with some luck, you might meet a real cowboy. Hiking and wildlife viewing are permitted.

Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park [A6] At the junction of the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers, this park was established to protect the breeding, lambing, and winter range of a significant herd of California bighorn sheep. The unusual landscape is marked by rolling grasslands, eroded gullies, cliffs, and hoodoos, providing the sheep refuge from predators. The park supports a variety of wildlife, and several threatened or vulnerable species exist here, including the prairie falcon, upland sandpiper, rubber boa, and long-billed curlew. The park features over 40 species of butterflies, and a number of ecosystems and distinct landscape features: Douglas fir pockets, grasslands, and a living crust comprised of bacteria, algae, lichens, mosses, fungi, that help bind the soil together and impede weeds.

Marble Range Provincial Park [D8]

Located within the Pavilion Ranges, this park gets its name from the unusual karst (limestone) topography, with sinkholes, caves, and disappearing streams. The 17,920-hectare park protects populations of California bighorn sheep and mule deer. Nearby is Edge Hills Provincial Park, which extends the range for species that require large and diverse ecosystems.

Ts'yl-os Provincial Park [D1-E1] Pronounced "sigh loss," this vast wilderness park-the size of Prince Edward Island-surrounds and protects Chilko Lake, the area's dominant feature. The landscape is comprised of rugged mountains, clear lakes, waterfalls, and alpine meadows. In addition to some of the best wilderness hiking and camping around, Chilko Lake is popular with experienced boaters and kayakers. Campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. Roads are rough and conditions vary with the weather. High-clearance vehicles with four-wheel drive are recommended. 61 Two trails worth hiking are the Tullin Mountain trail at the north end of Chilko Lake, a 6.2 km day hike, and the five-day Yohetta Valley, Spectrum Pass, and Tschaikazan Valley loop. The Xeni Gwet'in offer round-trip boat shuttles to one of this trail's access points. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and both black and grizzly bears are common. Peregrine falcons and Vaux's swifts are two of the park's specialties.


The Chilcotin War

Throughout history, British Columbia's Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin) people resisted the invasion of gold seekers and road developers, choosing to forge alliances only with fur trappers.

In 1864, Victoria entrepreneur Alfred Waddington (after whom Mount Waddington is named) was trying to build a road from Bute Inlet on the coast as far as Quesnel amidst the Cariboo goldfields, a route that would take him through Tsilhqot'in territory. On April 30 of that year, a few Tsilhqot'in warriors attacked and killed 18 road builders and packers. Troops were called in and peace talks were proposed; however, war chief Lhatsas'in and four other men were arrested and executed. The road was never finished.

In 1993, the men executed were pardoned posthumously and honored with a memorial in Quesnel. In more recent times, the Tsilhqot'in resisted the logging of their traplines and fishing grounds-a confrontation which resulted in the creation of Ts'yl-os Provincial Park, in which the local Xeni Gwet'in (a member band of the Tsilhqot'in once known as the Nehemiah Band) try to cling to the old ways as much as possible.

Map of Chilcotin Ranges. Detailed map of the highway and roads of Chilcotin Ranges with cities and towns

Map of Chilcotin Ranges. Detailed map of the highway and roads of Chilcotin Ranges with cities and towns