Canoeing Adventures Along The Whistler Corridor
Some of the best canoeing adventures lie within the Whistler corridor. Beautiful pristine lakes with water so clear you could read a road map if it were lying on the bottom and you were sitting in your canoe 50 feet above.
We have deliberately displayed the lake photos full size for your enjoyment.
The Whistler corridor begins at Squamish and runs past Whistler and Pemberton. Just past Mount Currie it turns right and passes Lillooet River on the right, climbs up hill to pass the Joffre Lakes parking lot. Continuing east it offers the beauty of the pristine Duffy Lake, runs the switchback elevations alongside Cayoosh Creek and finally enters the ancient town of Lillooet.
There are many lakes and rivers to be found along the route for canoeing adventures. Between Squamish and Whistler you will find small lakes such as Alice lake, Reta Lake, and a host of small lakes along the highway.
Alta lake and Green Lake are both wonderful lakes right in the Whistler village territory. Both are very accessible. With the amazing Blackcomb and whistler mountains in the background you will be thrilled.
Continue east along highway 99 and you will come to the scenic town of Pemberton. Pemberton is really a hot place to visit and live as it is so near to Whistler but not as busy. A short distance ahead you will pass Mount Currie and just past that you will arrive at Lillooet Lake.
During the gold rush, from 1860 through 1900 this area was alive with the arrival of thousands of prospectors from all parts of Canada and the United States. They arrived at New Westminster by ship and found any kind of boat, paddle wheeler, canoe or barge to transport them up the Fraser River to Harrison Mills where they turned up river for their canoeing adventures.
They traveled up the Harrison River about 6 miles to Harrison Lake and then they traveled the 80 miles or so up the lake and into Lillooet Lake to Mount Currie which is today a first nations reserve.
If you arrange for a group of friends to leave some transportation at the New Westminster end and transport your canoes to Mount Currie, you will be ready to experience a leisurely 100 mile canoe trip of a lifetime through spectacular country with mountains rising to 6,000 feet.
Some 35 miles south on the lake you will come to the Skookumchuck Hot Springs. These undeveloped hot springs are also known as St. Agnes Well Hot Springs, are set in natural surroundings not far from the Lillooet river.
The hot springs are open year round. There is a private campground with soaking tubs open to the public. A user fee is charged. This facility will add to your canoeing adventures during your visit.
These hot springs are quite primitive and were privately owned up until 2008 when the owners sold the area to the Province of BC and are held in trust for the Inshuk-ch Nation until the land claim negotiations with the province are finished. The campground and hot springs are operated and maintained by a private contractor.
At the south end of the lake, the very popular Harrison Hot Springs Resort is the centerpiece of this fantastic setting. A large hotel with a private pool that is fed with water from the hot springs. The pool is for resort guests only, however, there is a large indoor public pool nearby. There are 2 indoor and 3 outdoor polls and the water is cooled to a temperature of 90F to 100F for comfort.
The outdoor pools have been built in a setting featuring a cascading waterfall with many beautiful plants simulating a west coast habitat. With the mountains in the background the scene is breathtaking.
The 120F mineral rich water in the public pool has been used for thousands of years by the Coast Salish Coast Natives who considered them as a healing place. They traveled here by canoe to enjoy the rejuvenating waters. The waters contain 8 minerals which averages 1,300 parts per million of dissolved mineral solids, one of the highest concentrations in the world.
If you choose to park your vehicles here while you enjoyed your trip from Mount Currie you are ready to head home. More canoeing adventures await you if you have decided to continue on down the Harrison river to the confluence of the Fraser River and onward to new Westminster. Be sure to stop at Fort Langley and visit this quaint town with a museum and remnants of the old for itself. It is truly worth the stop before completing these canoeing adventures.
Onward to other Lakes above Mount Currie
Birkenhead is definitely one lake you want to paddle your canoe during your canoeing adventures.
To get there you turn off highway 99 at Mount Currie and drive 30 miles to D'arcy. Just before you get there you will see the signs for Birkenhead. The lake is 13 miles from there and the park area is 10 miles ahead on the lake.
Once there you will find the beautiful Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, a 10,439 hectare area with camping and recreation facilities without a match.
The park was created to provide a conservation value of the sockeye Creek watershed. Here you will not only find the lake of your dreams with ample camping in the park but also some perfect camping areas around the shores of the lake.
The park provides a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, spotted owls, black and grizzly bears, mountain goats and deer roam the old growth forests. Hiking here is fantastic.
Anderson and Seton Lakes
In 1858 the BC governor James Douglas commissioned Alexander Anderson of the Hudson Bay Co. to search for a way around the rapids of the Fraser river.
Leaving Lillooet from the head of Seton Lake he reached the western end, portages 3 miles and found Anderson lake where he paddled to what is now the D'arcy village. From there he cut a trail down to Lillooet Lake thus establishing a trail for the gold rush prospectors to make their way to Lillooet and around the rapids of the Fraser.
Imagine what it must have been like while you retrace the paddling of these men during your canoeing adventures.
He named Anderson Lake after himself and Seton after his cousin Colonel Seton who was in charge of the ship HMS Birkenhead when she sank in 1852. He named the portage between the two lakes Birkenhead.
The trail was cut with the use of unemployed miners who worked for food and lodging only. The governor provided the men because he feared they would cause trouble if they stayed in Victoria. Later the Royal Engineers widened the trail. The trail was in use for about 7 years and lay dormant after the Cariboo Wagon Trail was completed into the interior of the Province in the mid 1860s.
The original name of Lillooet was Cayoosh which is the name of the creek flowing from Duffy Lake to Lillooet.
There are two ways to approach the lakes.
Along the way from Mount Currie you passed Duffy Lake. This jewel should not be missed during your canoeing adventures. The water is icy cold and fishing is good. There are a couple of campsites along the side of the lake. Once you pass the end of the lake heading toward Lillooet there are a few nice forestry campsites along the fast flowing Cayoosh Creek. These are free primitive campsites sites with pit toilets.