Three Places to Stargaze in the Cariboo Chilcotin

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Warm summer nights are the perfect time to head to the country, far from big city lights, and treat your partner or the whole family to an unrivaled experience: stargazing and planet-watching.

Whether you are out on a camping, hiking or canoeing trip, avoid the temptation of crawling into your tent as soon as the sun goes down, especially on clear cloudless nights when summer temperatures are pleasant.

I am going to take you to three places in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC, where the night skies are clear and crisp and where each star, satellite, or falling comet can be seen plainly and distinctly. Telescopes and photography gear can add to your evening pleasure and fun, but they certainly aren’t necessary. Where there is no light interference, these exquisite details can be enjoyed free of all technical devices!

1. Grasslands Near Williams Lake

Star trails over the grasslands

Star trails over the grasslands

Just west of Williams Lake, lies the largest and most pristine temperate grasslands on the planet. It’s a friendly environment to hike in during the day and to camp at in the evening. Because I enjoy photography, I set up my tripod with a wide angle lens on my camera, and make time exposures during the night. In the above photograph, I painted the grass in the foreground with my flashlight while capturing the stars over a 20-minute long exposure.

2. Itcha Mountains

Starlit night from a burnt forest

Starlit night from a burnt forest

This photograph was taken while camping in a forest which had burned the previous year. The burnt tree trunks became exquisitely statuesque against the night sky. While I was taking this image, an inquisitive owl flew in to check me out; unfortunately I was unable to capture him sitting on one of these branches.

3. Chilco Lake

The North Star over Chilco Lake

The North Star over Chilco Lake

There are many lakes in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC, each offers an incredible opportunity to camp and stargaze at night. In this image I pointed my lens toward the North Star in the upper right of the sky. During my hour long exposure, the earth’s rotation portrays the stars as circular trails of light around the North Star

So, next time you are out in the country, choose a warm clear night and sleep out under the stars. Guaranteed, you won’t regret it!