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Ts'yl-os (pronounced "sigh-loes") is one of BC's most breathtakingly beautiful parks. Located in the Chilcotin region, Ts'yl-os Provincial Park is the fifth largest park in British Columbia. This park includes the stunning blue-green Chilko Lake, Canada's largest high elevation lake (50 km/ 30 mi long), as well as ragged peaks, massive glaciers, and rolling alpine meadows. This diversity is in part due to the rainshadow effect experienced in the park, which creates a drier climate in the north and east portions of the park, but a wetter one to the south.


Ts'yl-os Provincial Park is located 160 km (100 mi) southwest of Williams Lake and about 250 km North of Vancouver. In order to reach the remote Ts'yl-os wilderness visitors must drive in along many kilometers of rough road, or fly in by float plane or helicopter. Visitors can drive or fly commercially from Vancouver to Williams Lake, where it is possible to rent a vehicle. From Williams Lake the east side of the park can be reached by following Highway 20 west to Hanceville, and then driving 121 km (75 mi) south along gravel roads. Alternatively, visitors can continue on Highway 20, past Hanceville to Tatla Lake, turning south onto a 63 km (40 mi) rough gravel road leading to the south end of the park. For visitors who would prefer to fly directly into the park, it is possible to arrive by small plane or float plane from Vancouver, and land either on Chilko Lake or the small landing strip nearby.

Click on the map to view an enlargement

"Ts'yl-os is one of BC's most breathtakingly beautiful parks."


There are many hiking trails in Ts'yl-os leading to alpine meadows and wonderful mountain views. Wildflowers are spectacular and abundant in the area, as are deer, moose, grizzly bears, mountain goats and sheep. Bird watchers enjoy the area, especially excited by the chance to spot the Peregrine falcon and Vaux's swift. Late August and early September are the major times of the local salmon spawning runs; Chilko River and Lake support three major salmon runs, Chinook, Sockeye, and Steelhead. These rich runs attract populations of grizzly and black bears. Of the three salmon species, the sockeye run is the largest - an average of over 500,000 salmon arrive to spawn each year. After having travelled over 800 km (500 mi) up the Fraser River from the sea to reach their birthplace these fish literally turn the river red at the spawning season with their brightly colored bodies.

" Ts'yl-os is a remote and little known treasure. "


Ts'yl-os is a remote and little known treasure. Its centerpiece is Chilko Lake, the highest large natural fresh water lake in North America. With glacier chilled turquoise blue waters surrounded by spectacular mountains, this is one of the most scenic sites in BC. Fishing draws many visitors here, as Chilko Lake is home to Dolly Varden, rainbow and lake trout, while chinook and sockeye salmon are found in the Chilko River. There are both concrete and natural boat ramps in the park, but boaters must take care, as strong winds can bring rough waters at a moment's notice. Early morning or late evening are the best times to enjoy the lake.

Accommodation options in the area span from basic undeveloped campsites, to first class resorts. There are twenty undeveloped campsites, with no supplied firewood or water, in two different campgrounds in the park. Take note that Gwa Da Ts'ih campground at the north end of the lake may be closed during late August and mid-September due to potentially high bear/human conflict.

Another choice is to stay at one of the area's rustic lodges, where visitors can indulge themselves in hiking, photography, guided horseback tours, and evenings spent around campfires watching the Northern Lights. For a more pampered visit, several resorts offer first class accommodations along with gourmet meals. Cabins or RV and tent sites can also be rented on Chilko Lake.

"Its centerpiece is Chilko Lake, the highest large natural fresh water lake in North America. With glacier chilled turquoise blue waters surrounded by spectacular mountains, this is one of the most scenic sites in BC."


The Ts'yl-os area was first proposed for protection in the 1940s by groups such as the Federation of BC Naturalists and the Federation of BC Mountain Clubs. In the mid-70s the BC government came very close to designating the area as a park, but backed away from it. It wasn't until the early 1990s when a renewed effort by environmentalists and the Xeni Tsilhquot'in (the Nemiah Valley Indian Band) resulted in government agreeing to set up a citizen's negotiation process. After this two year land use planning process all stakeholders, including the forest industry, recommended that Ts'yl-os be protected. The low forestry and mineral values, and high scenic and recreation values of this region helped to make this negotiation easier than in other areas.

Finally, on January 12th, 1994, Ts'yl-os was designated a provincial park. Ts'yl-os demonstrates an innovative approach to park creation as it is designed to be cooperatively managed with the Xeni Tsilhquot'in First Nations, in an agreement in which they can carry on traditional hunting, fishing and cultural activities.

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