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Exploring the Interior Plateau

Half-Day, 318 km (197.6 mi)

The Interior Plateau and the nature surrounding Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake is vast, wild, and sparsely populated.

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Take the day—or stay overnight along the way—to explore the scenic wilderness of the Interior Plateau along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake.

Road conditions in this sparsely populated part of the province can vary. Before you begin your journey, please check DriveBC for the latest road conditions.

Note: This road trip was updated specifically for the unique travel circumstances of 2021. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm availability and familiarize yourself with their COVID policies.

Part 1

Start Your Trip

If you’re coming from Vancouver or the Lower Mainland, your trip begins by following the Trans Canada Highway 1 east towards Hope before heading north through Lytton and Cache Creek. From here, you can continue on Highway 97 north through 100 Mile House to Williams Lake.

Part 2

Williams Lake to Riske Creek

Williams Lake | @aaron_froese

The adventure starts on Highway 20 at Williams Lake. Fly direct with Pacific Coastal Airlines and rent a car at the airport, or make your way there in your own vehicle. By car, Williams Lake is about three hours from Kamloops or from Prince George.

Find all the road trip supplies you’ll need in town, and consider starting out with a to-go feast courtesy of the Laughing Loon.

 

Part 3

Fraser River and Riske Creek

The Chilcotin scene near Williams Lake | Geoff Moore

Within a half hour’s drive headed west along Highway 20, the road swings through the forested beauty of Desous Mountain (a great mountain biking destination), crossing the mighty Fraser River before heading up other side of the valley. With the sweeping Chilcotin Plateau unfolding toward the Coast Mountains, you’ll start to feel like you’re entering a new world of adventure—a true entry point into a Land Without Limits.

About 50 kilometres west of Williams Lake, find the small community of Riske Creek and nearby Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park, home to a large herd of California bighorn sheep.

Part 4

Alexis Creek to Tatla Lake

Kinikinik restaurant, store, abbatoir, and accommodation | Robyn Hanson

Beyond Alexis Creek (named after a colonial-era chief of the Tsilcot’in) you’ll find picturesque Bull Canyon, a small provincial park that overlooks the milky green waters of the Chilcotin River. It is the only provincial campground on the route before Tweedsmuir. If you don’t have time to stay overnight, stretch your legs along the short trail that leads down to the riverbed.

Off Highway 20, KiNiKiNiK Restaurant, Store & Accommodations is a unique place to stop for a rest, and a must for provisions from their deli and butcher shop. Also beyond Alexis Creek is Puntzi Lake, famed for its kokanee and rainbow trout fishing.

As you head towards the Potato Mountain Range, you’ll pass the northern end of Ts’ilʔos) Provincial Park with its numerous high elevation lakes. Here, ice caves and fossils are evidence of an ancient seabed. Great hiking trails criss-cross the countryside, and great water views abound as you continue west towards Tatla Lake.

Part 5

Tatla Lake

Horseback riding above Tatlayoko Lake | Kari Medig

Gravel roads, some well maintained and others a bit rough, intermittently intersect the highway and lead to spectacular backcountry areas. Tatlayoko Road just east of Tatla Lake is definitely worth exploring. Tatlayoko Lake (31 kilometres south) is a great spot to drop a paddle or head to the backcountry. Stay the night at Homathko River Inn and keep exploring this pristine Chilcotin valley.

As you continue your journey along Highway 20, watch the landscape change from lake-dotted hills to expansive grasslands in valleys where accommodations nudge up against rugged mountains. Overnight options in the area include Tatla Lake Manor, located right “downtown,” and Eagle Bear Lodge, which offers log cabins with waterfront views a little ways off the main road.

Part 6

Towdystan and Nimpo Lake

Clearwater Lake Lodge | Robyn Hanson

As Highway 20 curves north, watch for the tiny roadside hamlet of Kleena Kleene. Find a cozy bed for the night at Clearwater Lake Lodge or Terra Nostra Guest Ranch, and plan to paddle a canoe or kayak on Lake Clearwater, enjoy a horseback trail ride (suitable for novice or advanced riders), and hike a sign-posted trail leading out from the lodge.

Drive another 30 kilometres and keep your eyes peeled for a quaint old barn on the left side of the road that marks the community of Towdystan, a major supply stop in the area’s early ranching days. Take a detour south to Charlotte Lake, where fishing and birdwatching are popular.

Farther along Highway 20, as you approach Nimpo Lake, watch for a paved pullout on the north side of the road along the Dean River. Look for the plaque commemorating one of the battles of the Chilcotin War in 1864.

 

Part 7

Anahim Lake and beyond

Making a campfire on the shores of Wilderness Lake | Kari Medig

Known as “the float plane capital of British Columbia,” Nimpo Lake is a popular launching point for aerial sightseeing tours and fishing fly-ins to some of the pristine wilderness lakes and rivers of the West Chilcotin.

Another twenty minutes’ drive, Anahim Lake is the site of a long-established Chilcotin settlement that expanded in the 1940s and 50s when the Carrier Peoples moved from more remote villages. It is also home to the area’s main airport.

Anahim Lake is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, with several resorts that offer packages as well as catering to self-guided fishers. This is also the eastern gateway to the southern reaches of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and its phenomenal wilderness recreation opportunities.

Travelling this route? Share your experiences with #explorebc.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
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  • 12 min
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