Ask Dean

Dean has been guiding on the Bowron Lakes since 1974. He knows more about this region than almost anyone alive. So, if you a question about this unique trip… he probably has the answer!

How many days should I take to do the circuit?
Many people take 3-5 days. I always suggest taking 7-8 days because it gives you time to paddle shorter days and enjoy each campsite.

Our group are all experienced campers but not experienced canoeists. Do you think we could do the circuit?
Yes, you could do it but I would suggest you have at least one canoeist who can read water on rivers. The Cariboo River is a grade one river but there are sweepers and a few tricky spots and I have seen many canoeists have unpleasant experiences after tipping on the rivers.

What are the best ways to avoid bear encounters on the lakes?
Keep your camp clean. Make noise on the portages. A good way is to travel in a group as I believe there is not a documented case of bear attacks in groups of over 5 people.

What is the best month to go to the lakes?
It definitely depends on what you are looking for. June is a great month because there are very few people on the lakes. The moose have their calves and there is a tremendous variety of birdlife that tends to thin out later in the summer.

Are the campsites crowded?
Yes particularly in July and August. You should be prepared to camp early or you may be forced to move on when you are tired. One of the big advantages of travelling with Pathways is that we have private campsites reserved for us.

Which lake has the best fishing?
Maybe the best fishing spot on the lakes is on Isaac Lake, just off the point of Wolverine Mountain.

Is there a lot of wind on the lakes?
It can be windy, especially on Isaac, Lanezi, and Bowron Lakes. Be sure to travel close to the shore and not in the middle of lakes. Winds come up quickly.

Is the weather very rainy?
It can be for sure. However, it can also be sunny. I would advise you to err on the side of caution and prepare for rain. Take really good rain gear. I use rubber because ,if you are sitting on a wet seat all day, you want to be sure nothing is getting wet. Also, rain at the Bowron is cold. They are mountain lakes.

Are the lakes swimmable?
You can swim in all the lakes but most of them are pretty refreshing. The best lakes for swimming (that is the warmest lakes) are Rum, Unna, and Kibbee.

What are the portages like?
The longest ones are basically 2 km. There are three of them (2km) plus a few shorter ones. The trails are good. The roughest portage is around the cascades. It is rocky and very muddy.

Is there anything else I should see while I am in the area?
Yes, Barkerville, the old gold town is a must see and the town of Wells is an interesting spot also. There are many artists there. There are all kinds of art for sale. The Hubs motel is a classic place to spend some nights and my favourite British Columbia restaurant- The Bears Paw- is A MUST MEAL location.

Dave and Cheryl are great hosts. They have all sorts of stories. You will laugh all the time you are there and they often have entertainment. Now for the best part- best food in B.C.

What would be some advice you would give me that I wouldn’t expect?
I guess the one that I most emphasize is to take refuge from the sun. Most people don’t realize the effect of sun and water. The rays come at you from both directions. So, be careful about getting a tan.

When you realize that you have enough sun, it is often too late. I wouldn’t wear shorts and short sleeved shirts all day. I find that I prefer light, long sleeved shirts and full, cool pants. HATS AND SUN GLASSES ARE A MUST. Also put on lip balm as lips are a target as are the under parts of your face from the reflection of the sun’s rays. A good trick is to wet your clothes to keep cool.

Do you offer lessons?
Although we offer complete canoe instruction for all our guests, some people like to get a jump on canoe skills. Others want to brush up on river skills before going on one of our Yukon adventures. If this is you, contact our friend Dave Wooldridge of Ridge Wilderness Adventures for exceptional courses.

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