Kayaking Bowron Lakes Circuit

The Bowron Lakes Circuit is a 70 mile loop, contains 11 lakes, 3 rivers and 8 portages totaling 6 miles. The park has 57 campsites along the route and we found dry wood at all our stops. It rained, hailed, and we had strong winds on 24 mile long Isaac Lake.   We took advantage of the sun when it presented itself and dried out our tents.   Good tent designs, a dining area sun/rain fly, and fleece clothing kept us quite comfortable the entire trip.   Temperatures dropped to freezing several nights when it was clear.   We saw no bears or moose, but several loons, kingfishers and other waterfowl.
On the pathway of our first portage, we stopped to peel off layers of clothing.   We had started with full rain gear, which proved too warm.   The Park only allows 60 lbs to be carried in each kayak during the portages, so we had about 25 lbs each additional to carry in our packs.   The cart tires chew up the paths if they are overloaded. In these first few portages, we gained about 50 meters in elevation, so the rest of the circuit was more downhill. It was hard to tell on some of them as the paths went up quite high on the hillsides.   That's Larry on the left, Stan on the right.   Two really great guys.

Our first camp was located on Indianpoint Lake.   This view is looking west of Indianpoint Mountain at 7pm in the evening.   It had rained quite heavily earlier.

The evening sun breaking through at 7:30 pm glowed off Indianpoint mountain to the right with Mount Peever in the background.   The temperature got down to 32 F during the night, with a mostly clear sky.


At 9 am the morning fog was burning off and the sun was peeking through.   This Vancouver, BC couple were on their first canoe trip.   We met many couples on the circuit.   We took a more leisurely start than they did.

Canoe in the morning on Indianpoint Lake

Looking north at north end of Isaac Lake

Looking north at the elbow of Isaac Lake at mid afternoon.   We had little wind and nice sunshine this beautiful day, and were able to dry out our tents and gear in the warm sun.
Looking north at north end of Isaac Lake

Looking northeast, across Isaac lake, the whitecaps from the midday wind are apparent.   We stopped at our camp at noon, and were happy not to be out on the lake.

Isaac Lake, opposite Betty Wardle Creek

Looking southeast, across Isaac lake, the sun was shining on Mount Amos Bowman, a beautiful sight.   We were about midway down the lake across from the Betty Wardle Creek drainage at the group camp on a sandy point.   The wind died down completely after sundown and we had a peaceful night.
Canoe in the morning on Indianpoint Lake

My digital camera quit the next day with no warning, I suspected the lithium battery had died.   I had AA batteries, but they were packed away in the bow.   Retrieving them would require a trip to shore and unpacking with no real assurance that this was even the problem.   We covered nearly 20 miles this day, the south half of Isaac Lake, portages, and running the Isaac River, which was the highlight of the trip from a paddling sense.   I regret not having pictures of it all, but was a very full day, so I had little time for taking pictures.

At 8 am on Lanezi Lake at the base of of Needle Point Ridge, waiting for the sun to peek through the fog.
Base of Needle Point Ridge, looking east

Looking south east across Lanezi Lake in the early morning.   A dusting of snow was evident on the higher peaks.

Lanezi Lake, looking SE

Ishpa Mountain poking through the fog.   This was to be a familiar landmark throughout the rest of our trip.
Ishpa Mountain

Ishpa Mountain sparkled with a fresh dusting of new snow as the sun poked through.   The pictures don't do it justice at all.   It was simply breathtaking in it's beauty.   We are now in Sandy Lake.   The water has quite a milky look to it.

Canoe in the morning on Indianpoint Lake

Looking north at Kaza Mountain with it's dusting of overnight snow.   It stands at 2499 meters tall, only 31 meters less than Ishpa Mountain.   Sandy Lake, from where this picture was taken, is 908 meters above sea level.

Turksnose Mountain to the west came within view.   It has a distinctive band of white rock and a "nose", which makes it quite recognizable.   It is just west of the park boundary. Looking north at north at Kaza Mountain Looking east at Kaza Mountain from the shore of Sandy Lake.   At 6 pm, the shadows already engulf our camp and it is quite cold.

Turksnose Mountain

Our ride west toward Cariboo Falls, and the beginning of the only two side trips we made on the circuit.

Kaza Mountain

Turksnose Mountain is quite visible from this point.   It acts as guardian over the southern leg, which ends with warning signs for the falls beyond. Turksnose Mountain
This was the final leg.

Our first side trip is to Unna Lake.   Access is gained through a narrow slot in the grass.   A side view of Ishpa Mountain is presented here, quite hard to miss it from it's distinctive shape and height.
Unna Lake

A winding trail up over a pass and alongside a rocky slope reveals the top of Cariboo Falls.   This was quite spectacular, as the water thundered over about a 100 foot drop, creating rainbows in the sunlight.   It was difficult to see it because of the dense brush on the side of the hill.
Cariboo Falls

This was the end of our last portage.   Mike and Larry from Sumner, WA caught up with us and told us of how the World Trade Center and Pentagon had been struck by hijacked commercial planes.   They had heard the tale from some workers, who were re-roofing a parks shelter and had a radio.   This was 3 pm on Sept. 11.   None of us believed it.

The last Portage

Becker's Lodge and the end of our journey lies just on the other side of the cone shaped peak visible above on our north horizon.

Bowron River

Threading our way along the Bowron River.
Bowron River

The Bowron River ran on for miles, twisting it's way along through shallow, muddy trails, yet was a mile wide in places, shallow enough for a moose to wade across.   We saw many tracks, but no Moose.

From Becker's Lodge at the northwest corner of the circuit, one gets a nice view of Ishpa Mountain in the far background, reflecting in Bowron lake. Bowron Lake

Return to Menu