Chilko Explorer Ride

British Columbia Canada: (GRBC01)

British Columbia Canada
The remote wilderness lodge and base for this trip is located at the north end of Chilko Lake, British Columbia, the gateway to Ts'yl-os Park. This is the dividing point between the stunning Coast Mountain range and the Chilcotin Plateau, where the crystal clear Chilko River winds its way down to the coastal watersheds. The area offers excellent riding country and superb world class fly fishing.

Riding is a physical experience. It makes our senses come alive. It is the smell of a good horse, leather, the fresh scent of a pine or fir forest. It is the sound of cantering hooves, of crackling leaves, of horses snorting or a soft whinny. It is the sight of new country and spectacular vistas unexplored. It is the feeling of a strong animal beneath you, of you own strength and ability, and although few words are spoken, lines of communication between horse & rider are shared and understood. It’s the freedom to just ride for miles!
The Chilko Explorer Ride was designed for the intermediate to advanced rider looking for an exciting riding adventure in breathtaking country while enjoying the comforts of a wilderness lodge at night. The daily rides from the lodge offer a variety of riding experiences - ride up Mount Tulin and enjoy some of the most superb views over Chilko Lake - then explore the Chilcotin Plateau with its open grasslands, rolling hills, numerous small lakes, adjacent mountain peaks with unmatched vistas and a couple hundred miles of riding trails. You will love it!

After an exhilarating day in the outdoors, you can play volleyball or horse-shoes, relax in the whirlpool on the front porch overlooking the Chilko Valley, or just relax in front of the large wood-burning fireplace exchanging stories with your fellow riders. Exceptional meals and fine wines are served family style. On one day during the week you will take part in a float trip down Chilko River or sightseeing boat ride up Chilko Lake.

In late September and early October we are offering week long Grizzly Bear viewing and Photography classes in combination with a little time for riding through the fall landscape.
There is no more pure symbol of the Canadian wilderness than the grizzly bear and to see it in its natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience. Our guided grizzly bear viewing vacations take advantage of the peak fall season when the bears are drawn to the Chilko River to feast on the bountiful salmon that fill its waters.The Chilko Valley has one of the largest concentrations of grizzly bears during the peak season in the fall. It is not uncommon to see many large boar grizzly bears as well as many sow and cub combinations. It is exhilarating to see a mother grizzly passing her fishing knowledge down to her cubs and witnessing their first catch. Watching these wonderful bears playing and fishing in their natural environment is an experience you will never forget.


This is a stationary ride, so all nights will be spent at the same location.

The wilderness log lodge provides a warm and welcoming gathering place to enjoy good times with your fellow travelers. Situated adjacent to the Chilko River, the location of the lodge and guest cabins all take advantage of offering you beautiful views of the river, valley, and the Coast Mountains. The lodge hosts the dining area, the great room with a big stone fireplace, a fully stocked bar of beer, wine, and spirits, Jacuzzi, barbecue area, and big decks. The lodge is a great place to share a drink, play a great game of cards, soak in the Jacuzzi over looking the river, or take advantage of the big deck while viewing millions of stars. Of course an option is to sit by the roaring fire sharing  a great story of the day. Canoes and kayaks are also available for use.
Please note there is no cell phone reception or WIFI. 

Cabins/ Rooms
We have 3 log cabins and 4 rooms in the lodge to accommodate up to 16 guests (a mix of riders, fly fishers, or bear viewers. Riding groups are kept to 6 to 8 riders max). Each unit is set up for two people and offers private bathrooms, comfy beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and duvets, gas fireplaces, or a wood burning stove. The accommodations are very comfortable. There is daily maid service to ensure that your room or cabin is kept comfortable for your stay at the lodge. We have a laundry machine available and clothesline at the lodge, which can be used in the evening- otherwise the cabin attendant can do laundry for a small fee.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement will include a private room but may have a shared bathroom with the same gender.


All meals are included in this trip from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on your last day. Life at the lodge is focused around the great outdoors.

The gathering of everyone for meals is a special time of the day. We serve all meals at the lodge "family style."
Wonderful Canadian breakfasts as well as fresh fruits, cereals, yogurts, and juices are served before you active day on the river, lake or trail.
Lunch is spent streamside, on top of a mountain, or wherever your wanderings have taken you, giving you total freedom throughout the day.
The evening meal is especially nice. After a great day, everyone can relax with a good dinner, a glass of wine, and great company, sharing stories from their adventures. Wonderful meat dishes, breads, salads, pastas, vegetables, delicious desserts and table wines are served. This is all "no guilt" eating, as your active day ahead needs the energy!

Another highlight is a fully stocked bar located within the lodge where you can purchase drinks for an extra fee. It is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail while you sample tasty appetizers made by the in house chef. The bar is fully stocked with an assortment of spirits, beer and wines. Wine is included with dinner only.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to vegetarians with prior notice.

Note: During Grizzly Bear Photography weeks, breakfast is earlier (7:30am) and dinner is later (7:00pm).

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience

All riders must be physically fit, able to mount and dismount both sides of a horse, walk, trot, canter, and saddle up. Guests are usually intermediate riders allowing us to enjoy great canters through the forests or across open meadows. Riding is a physical experience. It makes our senses come alive. If you are returning to the sport of horse riding after some time off, we highly recommend taking some lessons prior to your arrival at the lodge. It will make your trip all that much better! 

Rides are from 10-25 km longs and are from 4 -6 hours in duration. Our daily rides from the lodge offer a variety of excellent riding experiences. Explore the Chilcotin Plateau, which offers open grasslands, rolling hills, numerous small lakes, adjacent mountain peaks with unmatched vistas and a couple of hundred miles of riding trails. Tree riding is a big part of your week. We like to take some of our exciting windy trails at a fast trot or slow canter; we even named one of our rides as the "roller coaster". It is great for stretching your ability and improving your confidence. It is a lot of fun and we know that you will love it! 

We normally keep around 45 horses. The number one standard for our horses is attitude.  You can train everything else, but attitude is hard to change. Our horses are friendly and a joy to ride. The herd is a mix of many different breeds including Arabs, Quarter, Appaloosa, Paints, Draft, and Thoroughbreds. And you will be amazed at how well they do their job! We have many different types of horses to suit all different riders. No matter the breed of horse, our horses are chosen for their disposition, endurance, and strength. They are all very comfortable on the trail and in the mountains. A soft hand, a tasty apple treat, a nice brushing, and a good scratch is always welcome!

The guides love the outdoors, riding, and are experienced horse people. If you have never ridden with Western tack or saddle, do not worry. They can help you make the transition from English riding to the Western riding style. Your guide will show you the proper horse cues and show you how to tack your horse up. The guides can ensure that you are matched with the right horse for your riding ability and personality. Our equipment and tack are well maintained and fitted to the individual horses. All riding groups are kept small (max 8 riders in a group). 


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

One day during the week, usually after the longest ride, we give the horses a rest and we take a boat and head up the lake to explore Chilko Lake. This fifty mile lake is surrounded by 10,000 foot jagged peaks and fed by glacial streams. While on the trip we look for Mountain Goat, Mule Deer, Moose, black Bear, or Grizzly Bears. We beach the boat and take a hike to a jewel of a hidden lake and beautiful waterfalls. The day is capped off with a tasty lunch on a pristine beach. Chilko is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful Lakes in North America.

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
A 9:30am charter flight takes you from Vancouver across the magnificent glaciers of the coastal mountains to Chilko Lake, where our host will greet you at the private landing strip of the ranch. After lunch and a short introduction, you get a chance to test your horse on an afternoon ride.

Day 2 (Monday): Green Lake Ride
After breakfast we ride through fir forests to Green Lake. Along the way we stop for a picnic at the lake. In the afternoon there are some wonderful opportunities to canter on soft forest trails.

Day 3 (Tuesday): Chilko River Ride
Today’s ride is along the Chilko River and through the forests. A mix of walking, trotting, and some great canters.

Day 4 (Wednesday): Mount Tulin Ride
We ride up the steep trails of Mount Tulin. The ride takes us through magnificent fir forests to the timberline. From the summit it takes a 20-minute hike to reach the top of the mountain. Soak in the panorama of the Coast Mountains and 55 mile long Chilko Lake with its turquoise waters and the breathtaking beauty of Tsylos Park.

Day 5 (Thursday): Chilko Lake Ride
One day during your stay  the riders will head up beautiful Chilko Lake. Pristine Chilko Lake is the largest natural high mountain lake in North America. Surrounded by glaciers, rugged towering peaks, roaring creeks and rivers, waterfalls, and of course the wildlife. Due to the glacial silt, Chilko Lake has a gorgeous turquoise coloring. The views, whether looking down on her or up from her, are unbelievable. You might have a chance to visit the old mining cabin at Franklin Arm and hike up to the waterfalls, or hike to a secluded glacial lake.

Day 6 (Friday): Rollercoaster Ride
We enjoy many brisk canters across the Chilcotin plateau and along the Chilko river. Advanced riders will enjoy the "rollercoaster" rides on narrow, windy forest trails. Due to the fast pace of these rides you have to be able to develop a good feeling and communicate well with your horse. It is excellent for stretching your riding abilities and building your confidence. Both the horse and rider find it fun and challenging. But not to worry, the horses are well trained and easily controllable. We stop for a nice picnic by the river with its fast flowing waters.

Day 7 (Saturday): Henry's crossing Ride
A brisk ride takes you along the Chilko river to Henry's crossing. Enjoy a well deserved lunch break on the only bridge that spans the river. In September you can watch natives fishing for salmon here. In the afternoon we canter along the east side of the river to Canoe Crossing always with the whole mountain range in clear view. The horses swim across the river and freely gallop home while a boat ride takes you back to the ranch. In the evening a fabulous farewell dinner with barbecue awaits you.

Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
Return flight after breakfast or start of another wilderness ride.

If you are travelling with a non-riding companion, he/she could join one of the following tours.

Grizzly Weeks
The Grizzly Photography package includes fully guided excursions by boat to view and photograph grizzly bears and other wildlife. Generally in the early morning and late afternoon (for best lighting conditions) to get a good look at these magnificent animals. The photography package is offered from Mid-September to the end of the season. So if you love to ride, but your travel companion loves to photograph, the bear photography package might be an option for you. Join up at the end of the day. 

Whether you are experienced at fly fishing or a beginner, both the Chilko River and Chilko Lake are a great spots to enjoy the sport of fly fishing. This fully guided 8 day excursion with our excellent guides will ensure your fly fishing trip is the best it can be. Our packages are from Sunday to Sunday, offering you six and half days of excellent fully guided fly fishing for wild trophy rainbow trout.

Rates and Dates for Chilko Explorer Ride

Rates include:

Lodge ride: Accommodation, All meals including wine with dinner, 6 riding days, 1 day lake trip by boat for hiking and sightseeing & Use of canoes and kayaks
Saddle bags are provided
Bear photography: Accommodation, All meals including wine with dinner, 6.5 days of bear photography (1 guide per group of 3 photograpgers - max 9 pax) & Use of canoes and kayaks

Packages and Options

Minimum Deposit: ~$50.00 per person

GST (VAT): 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)

Rates Note:

Single supplement will include a private room but may have a shared bathroom with the same gender.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
    GST (VAT) 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)

Rates Note:

Single supplement will include a private room but may have a shared bathroom with the same gender.

Transfer and Other Charges:

2023 Transfer by charter flights from/to Vancouver & Xeni Gwetin First Nations User Fee (mandatory) $800
2023 Room & MRDT Tax $77 per week per person (mandatory) $77

Dates Note: Sunday start date.

Rates do not include:

Lodge ride: Alcoholic beverages other than wine with dinner, Charter flight to lodge (mandatory), Xeni Gwetin First Nations User Fee (mandatory), Fishing or fishing licenses, Gratuities & Taxes
Bear photography: Alcoholic beverages other than wine with dinner, Charter flight to lodge (mandatory), Xeni Gwetin First Nations User Fee (mandatory), Fishing or fishing licenses, Photography gear, Gratuities & Taxes

Other Info
Meeting: Chilko Lake
Airport: Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Transfer: South Terminal Signature Building

                                            Alexis Creek area














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The months during which we operate our trips (May, June and September) are usually warm during the daytime, but can get cool in the evenings. During July and August you can expect temperatures in the low 70's to mid 90's Fahrenheit (18 to 30 °C).

Spring is a burst of new energy and the warmth of the sun. It is new vibrant colors from the first blade of green grass, to the budding of a new leaf, crisp blue skies, and snowcapped peaks. With the spring the river gains in size and large migrations of Sockeye Salmon fry and smolt take place. With a billion one-year old Sockeye heading to the Pacific Ocean and billions of minute fry hatching and making their way to Chilko Lake, the Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout congregate in the river for a feast. Steelheads are spotted spawning in the shallows and leaping out of the Chilko River to have a look around. Wild roses and Sunflowers are starting to bloom on the side hills, giving the land more and more color.

Summertime means big hatches, blue skies, warm days, alpine trips and wildflowers. Dry fly fishing on the river starts and the laughter can be heard from trail where the riders are cantering through the trees along the water. Life does not get any better than this!

Indian Summer
Indian Summer in September and October is a very special time of year at Chilko. It is an explosion of autumn colors, an abundance of wildlife, and an orchestra of sounds. With the changing seasons the Sockeye & Chinook salmon return in vast numbers, spawning on the river and lake. The water wiggles with red spawning fish, bringing down the Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Herons, Ducks, Ospreys, and other wildlife to feast on the dead salmon that have already laid their eggs for the cycle to begin all over. This is a wonderful time to visit!

Soft falling snowflakes bury the earth and silence falls within our valley. The Trumpeter Swans move into Chilko and add their grace and beauty to the splendor of the frozen land. Only the running water of Chilko River reminds us of earlier times, and the seasons to come.

What To Bring:
Weight restriction for your luggage is 40lbs. Please pack in soft-sided luggage.
Our weather can be hot, cold, or wet, so appropriate attire suitable to the great outdoors and changing weather conditions is a must. Dressing in layers that you can add on or take off is best.

- Riding gloves
- Riding boots with heel
- Wide brimmed hat or helmet (we do not have any to borrow)
- Bandana
- Riding chaps
- Water bottle
- Comfortable riding pants
- Rain gear
- Warm jacket
- Riding socks

Around the Lodge

- Camera
- Batteries
- Flashlight
- Sun screen
- Bug repellent
- Swimsuit for Jacuzzi
- Comfortable clothing and footwear for around the lodge
- Fleece jacket or sweater for cool to cold evenings
- Shorts
- Toiletries
- Special medications