Bivouac.com Area Page Home Help Index Login
Tsilos Provincial Park (Chilko Lake Area)
Area: 3102 sq km.
Location: Chilko Lake and the newly created Tsylos Provincial Park are about 200 km north of Vancouver, and west of Williams Lake. It is at the edge of the coast range of British Columbia, about 50 km inland from Bute Inlet and Knight Inlet.
The Chilko Lake Area has for a long time been recognized as one of the most beautiful lake and mountain environments in British Columbia and perhaps Canada. It is the highest lake of its size in Canada. It has now been protected as a park and given the name "Tsilos" (pronounced "sigh-loss"). There are numerous variations in spelling such as Tsylos, Ts'ilos, Ts'il?os, Ts'yl-os, and Ts'il-os. The top end of the lake (north) projects out into the dry interior plateau, whereas the mountains at the south end are full blown coast mountains, covered with glaciers. Around Chilko Lake is one of the largest concentrations of 3000 m peaks in BC, until you get into the Waddington area.
Terrain: The diversity and contrast in landscapes and vegetation are a result of a rainshadow effect on the east side of the coast mountains. At the north end are numerous dry and rounded peaks which make pleasant day trips, whereas at the southern end the peaks are heavily glaciated and much more rugged. The streams are icy and the water in the lake is below 10 degrees C even in the heat of summer. However as you go to the north end of the lake, toward the headwaters of the Chilko River, the water becomes warmer and warmer. In the Chilko River the temperature is often as high as 17 C on a hot summer day, and a quick swim in the lake is often quite refreshing. As you go north, the mountains make a striking transition from the jagged grey peaks of the south end such as Good Hope to the rounded peaks of the Potato Range.
In the Jurassic era, the continental margin was inland of Chilko Lakes area, with an offshore island arc of volcanism. The basin in between received a mixture of volcanic and continental sediments. In the following Cretaceous era, subduction and collision of the continental and offshore plates, which created the island arc, began the uplift of the basin. Sedimentation then ceased. A second uplift was created by the intrusion of the deep Coast Range granitic batholith. This resulted in the segmentation of the volcanics/sediments and the ensuing erosion of the volcanic island chain. Isolated pendants of volcanic rocks were subsequently further dismembered by regional faulting along NW-SE axes (Tchaikazan, Chita and Twin Creeks faults). [Source: Pellaire Gold Mines Lord River Regional Mapping Project, 1998, Regional Geology, page 6] Porous volcanic rocks are evident along road cuts along Taseko Lake Road and Lord River Mining Road.