Chilcotin Cowgirl Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Tucked away in the southwest corner of British Columbia between the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau, you will be in the midst of ancient game trails, glacial fed rivers and wild flowering meadows. This area’s combination of glaciated terrain and rounded mountain tops are rarely found in North America, making the alpine tundra summits accessible to horseback riders.

Inhale the heady floral fragrance as the wild blooms paint the broad hillsides with their palette of royal blue Lupines, bright white and yellow Alpine Lilies, and deep red Indian Paintbrushes. Here, the California Bighorn sheep, Mountain goat, Grizzly, Black bear, Moose, Mule deer, Cougar and Wolf still reign. Witness eagles gliding on mid-day drafts or peer down into lush valley bottoms to see mother and cub Grizzlies feeding on lush shoots of Cow Parsnip and Horse Tail.

On this 8-day horse riding mountain adventure, you’ll find yourself surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas and panoramic views of wide open valleys. Be gently awoken out of your reverence as the wild native trout shatters the mountain reflections on the surface of the glacial fed turquoise lake. Overhead, summer blue skies are made more vibrant by the white of the mountain-tops dusted by snow.

The deluxe amenities of fresh alpine air, pristine glacial water and azure blue skies are all just part of the service. Here, Mother Nature has surpassed herself and you are absolutely invited.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Chilcotin Cowgirl Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Tucked away in the southwest corner of British Columbia between the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau, you will be in the midst of ancient game trails, glacial fed rivers and wild flowering meadows. This area’s combination of glaciated terrain and rounded mountain tops are rarely found in North America, making the alpine tundra summits accessible to horseback riders.

Inhale the heady floral fragrance as the wild blooms paint the broad hillsides with their palette of royal blue Lupines, bright white and yellow Alpine Lilies, and deep red Indian Paintbrushes. Here, the California Bighorn sheep, Mountain goat, Grizzly, Black bear, Moose, Mule deer, Cougar and Wolf still reign. Witness eagles gliding on mid-day drafts or peer down into lush valley bottoms to see mother and cub Grizzlies feeding on lush shoots of Cow Parsnip and Horse Tail.

On this 8-day horse riding mountain adventure, you’ll find yourself surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas and panoramic views of wide open valleys. Be gently awoken out of your reverence as the wild native trout shatters the mountain reflections on the surface of the glacial fed turquoise lake. Overhead, summer blue skies are made more vibrant by the white of the mountain-tops dusted by snow.

The deluxe amenities of fresh alpine air, pristine glacial water and azure blue skies are all just part of the service. Here, Mother Nature has surpassed herself and you are absolutely invited.

DAY 1: TRAIL TO ELDORADO

Meet at the Whistler floatplane dock (90 min drive from Vancouver) in the early morning for your scenic flight to your basecamp in the Chilcotin Mountains, near Gold Bridge, BC. Upon arrival, we take a 10-minute transfer to the Ranch for and the trip orientation. We will then set up tack and pack all our items into the pack boxes.

We aim to depart the Ranch at noon, bound for Eldorado Camp, enjoying a picnic lunch along the way. We arrive at Eldorado camp and help unload food and luggage, settling into our first mountain cabin. Your guides cook a hearty dinner while you chip in or relax and enjoy the wilderness.

  • Riding Time: about 5 hours
  • Mileage: approx. 16km
  • Trail Notes: this trail is all uphill. Be prepared to dismount and lead your horse up sections too steep for you to ride. NOTE: This trail is multi-use in both directions. It is used by packhorse trains, hikers, and mountain bikers, so ride with caution. 

 

DAY 2-6: EXPLORING CHILCOTIN

Each day’s ride (approximately 5 hours) will cover a variety of ground, from high alpine passes and ridge tops to meadows filled with wildflowers to evergreen and deciduous forests. Keep your cameras ready. The wildlife – marmots, mountain goats, deer, grizzly and black bears – is abundant.

Some days you’ll have time for additional activities such as fishing on Spruce Lake, hiking up surrounding ridges or through the meadows, snapping photographs, or simply taking it easy in camp.

Arrive in camp each day and enjoy a hearty meal prepared by your guides or camp host before relaxing for the evening. Each night you retire to your canvas wood framed tent or communal cabin. Curl up with your woolies as even in summer, the nights are frosty!

  • Riding Time: about 5 hours
  • Mileage: approx. 16km
  • Trail Notes:
    • Tyaughton Creek mid-section – It’s a roller coaster ride through forest bands and grassland meadows. There are four significant river crossings, generally knee deep, along the way. If water is up, it is possible to bushwhack high above to avoid.
    • Deer Pass Trail – There can be snow in sections. Since this is a pass, you will climb to the highest point and then descend.  
    • Mid Gun Creek Trail – The trail bed changes every km, from buffy sand to technical rock gardens. Plenty of shallow creek crossings, steep sidehill sections and mud holes provide interest and require attentive riding. Great views when in the frequent breaks of the loose, pine forest canopy and along Trigger and Hummingbird lakes.
    • Always be prepared to dismount and lead your horse up sections too steep for you to ride.
    • All trails are multi-use in both directions. It is used by packhorse trains, hikers, and mountain bikers, so ride with caution.

 

DAY 7: RIDE TO TYAX

Your final day’s ride brings you 25 km from Spruce Camp back to Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa, where you will enjoy dinner with your new friends and spend the last night of your Chilcotin Cowgirl Adventure in luxury. Rooms are shared (double occupancy) and have a lake view, a balcony and two queen beds.

  • Riding Time: about 8 hours
  • Mileage: approx. 25km
  • Trail Notes:  Gun Creek Trail – takes you from mid-elevation grasslands down and is the most used part of the trail. Sections are narrow (single track) with steep drops but your horses know this terrain. Connect with an an old mining road and ride down the road back to the Ranch.

 

DAY 8: HOMEBOUND

Enjoy a warm, hearty breakfast, say your goodbyes and enjoy the scenic flight back to Whistler via float plane. Arrival in Whistler is approximately mid-morning.


Riding Pace & Terrain

On our Chilcotin Cowgirl Adventure, the pace for the majority of this pack trip is a walk. This is due to the nature of the trails and the rough terrain experienced in the mountains, for the safety of both riders and horses, as well, there will be 1-3 pack horses in the group and they cannot go faster due to their heavy loads.

Mountain terrain is very radical and you have to be able to adapt your riding from going through 2 feet of snow, to 2 feet of mud, to crossing fast moving water to traversing across very steep hillsides and going up and down very steep mountainsides. The scenery is spectacular though (to reward your efforts) and your mountain horses are sure footed and familiar with the trails.

Western Style Riding & Tack

The saddles used on your Chilcotin Cowgirl Adventure are western style saddles. Therefore, you should be familiar with riding on a western saddle and neck reining. On western saddles, riders keep their legs straight, and sit neutral the saddle, for a more relaxed posture. Western trail riding on mountain horses is like riding in a Sport Utility Vehicle, and you should expect an ‘off-road’ experience!

The Horses

Our partner boasts a small but mighty herd of mountain horses that vary in breed but predominantly Appaloosas, Quarter Horses and Draft Cross Horses. These horses have spent their lives in the mountains, they are sure footed and have incredible endurance.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!