Big Country

Traveling to Canada no longer comes with a discount, but our neighbor still has eight times as much wilderness as we do

Jul 4, 2008
Outside Magazine
Canada Wilderness

Chill out in one of Canada's great wild spaces    Photo: Darwin Wiggett/Digital Vision/Getty

Lake-Lodge Idyll
Surrounded by 12,000-foot glaciated peaks, 55-mile-long Chilko Lake is British Columbia's version of Tahoe. The one difference: There's not a single condo spoiling Chilko's shores. Last fall, the Tsilhqot'in First Nations group won title to 1,200 square miles of surrounding wilderness, all but ensuring that development will be held at bay.Have the place to yourself at the Lodge at Chilko Lake ($300* per person per night;, a remote fly-in retreat that opened last summer. The timber-frame complex has an airy, earthy feel, with vaulted ceilings, plate-glass windows facing the lake, and a sprawling front deck for lounging. It's a perfect place to unwind after catching 25-inch rainbows on the Chilko River, just out the back door; heli-hiking the high peaks of the Coast Mountains, three miles away; or rafting the Chilko's 20-mile-long Lava Canyon. The gorge contains the longest stretch of commercially navigable Class IV whitewater in North America. The easiest way to reach the lodge is via an hourlong bush-plane flight from Vancouver ($700 per person, round-trip); the lodge coordinates flights every Thursday and Sunday. In September, Nelson-based outfitter ROAM offers an eight-day rafting and kayaking adventure based at the lodge ($2,000; to coincide with the annual salmon run, which draws some two million sockeye to the headwaters of the Chilko River—not to mention dozens of grizzlies and bald eagles by the hundreds.