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5-1164-Echo-Valley
Horseback riding, Echo Valley
(Albert Normandin photo)

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Climate & Weather

This vast Cariboo Chilcotin Coast consists of three sub-regions.

Firstly, the Cariboo to the east, is a land of lakes, evergreen forest and rolling mountains.

Secondly, the Chilcotin, located between the Fraser River and Coast Mountains, consists of rivers, lakes, sprawling grasslands and plateaus; it is home to some of the world's largest cattle ranches.

Thirdly, the Coast is furthest west, from where the land rises abruptly into the glacier-clad Coast Mountains to the Pacific Ocean; along the central coastline, deep fjords cut inland up to 70km from the ocean to small coastal settlements set in rainforest wilderness.

As you can see from the charts, precipitation, as well as high and low temperatures, can vary considerably within the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. These two charts are most indicative of the weather within the region. Bella Coola is situated on the region's more isolated coast; Williams Lake is located further inland in the Cariboo.



The climate changes dramatically as you travel across the region. The Cariboo and Chilcotin areas enjoy a drier, continental climate thanks to the Coast Mountains blocking the moist westerly air flow.

Here, summers are warm and dry and winters are cold but not damp. August and September are ideal months to visit, after the first frosts put an end to insect season. The Coast is mild all year-round, with October to February the wettest months and May to August the driest months.

Spring

In the Cariboo and Chilcotin, most snow packs melt by early April and average daily highs reach 13-15°C. On the Coast, the weather is mild throughout the year, with average daily highs through spring of 16°C.

Summer

The Cariboo and Chilcotin experience warm summers along with frequent dry spells. Daytime highs average a warm 19-22°C through July and August. Temperatures become cooler as you travel north. On the Coast, May to August are the warmest and driest months, with average daytime highs of 22°C.

Autumn

September and October are classic autumn months in the Cariboo and Chilcotin. Trees are awash in golden foliage and the pesky insects have disappeared. Weather can be unpredictable during this time and early snowfalls can occur in late September. Daytime temperatures often reach highs of 15°C but easily drop to freezing at night. On the Coast, expect considerable rainfall from October to February.

Winter

Snow can start to fall anytime after mid-November in the interior regions. Expect temperatures that range from a high of -4° to a low of -12°C. On the Coast, rain falls seemingly continuously from October to February. Because of mild ocean currents, land near or at the coastline receives little snowfall, while temperatures reach an average daytime high of 5°C.

What to Wear

Layer, layer, layer! Bring long and short-sleeved t-shirts, micro-fleece sweaters, shorts, pants, light down vests, wind jackets and rain gear for summer. You'll want to keep a layer between you and the pesky mosquitoes which can be a nuisance anytime except mid-winter. In the winter, you'll need a heavy coat, micro-fleece or wool sweaters, scarves, hats, warm gloves or mittens and boots.