Top Ten Canada Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Raft the Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser Rivers
By Bill McRae

Any place called Lava Canyon is going to create adventure: Chilko River, which comes spilling out of the canyon, drops 1,500 feet in just 15 miles, plunging through narrow passages in a series of big, churning drops, with near constant Class IV and V rapids. The Chilko then dives into the Chilcotin River Canyon, where more whitewater awaits. The joined waters rush through an increasingly wide and arid gorge to meet the Fraser, one of the most powerful rivers in North America.

It's one of the most exciting float trips in Canada. Covered with cattle ranches, the Chilcotin looks like a Saskatchewan prairie—except for the mighty glaciered peaks that tower above the grasslands. The rivers that drain the snowfields and lakes of the Coastal Mountains' eastern slopes trench precipitous canyons into the plateau as the waters rush to meet the mighty Fraser River in its vast desert gorge.

A number of outfitters offer guided raft trips along the entire Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser system; the entire 130-mile trip takes about four days. Shorter trips are also available; for total adrenalyne junkies, one outfitter shoots rafters through Lava Canyon twice in one day. Experienced rafters can take the Chilcotin on their own, but you're advised to take a guide along for the Chilko.


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