Let's Spend A Week On The Bowron Lakes
December 28, 2012 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Have you traveled the Bowron Lakes Provincial Park canoe circuit in British Columbia? We're wondering about...

...your experience.

We are well-equipped and experienced with many seasons in the Boundary Waters under our belts. We're thinking to register next month for a trip on the circuit. How did that process work for you? Do you have an opinion about the best time in the season to go there in terms of weather, mosquitoes, water levels, crowds, etc? Is the swift-water skill level above class 1? What about the weight restrictions for equipment? Do we really need wheels for the portages? Any other hints or secrets that might make our trip most enjoyable?

Are there any reasons you would discourage a trip to Bowron Lakes? Can you suggest any other flat-water voyages in western North America?
posted by partner to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I did Bowron with my grandfather and cousin maybe 15 years ago, when I was about 15. I used a sea kayak, my cousin and grandfather were in a Kevlar Wen-on-ah that had a already done a many years in Boundary waters and other places in Northern Ontario. We went in June, I think.

A few things stood out. It was rainy, and often got pretty windy in the afternoons, though that can happen at BWCA as well. You pretty much HAVE to camp at the designated campgrounds- there are essentially no other options. However, that means you often meet nice people, like the Germans that we ended up hiking in the Alps with the next summer.

I used wheels for my kayak, but my cousin just carried the canoe, since it weighed less than 40 lbs. Even on the really nice (by BWCA standards) trails, with my expensive wheels, I was often wishing that I could just carry the damn boat. I could carry a bunch of stuff in there though, which was nice.

The rapids were pretty minimal, at least when we were there- YMMV due to water levels. It didn't require any special skill that you wouldn't get from a small windy up north river.

I would probably go again, but I wouldn't head all the way west JUST to do the circuit. It's a lot of driving for a pretty crowded area(I really value solitude when in the woods). If I were in the west though, I would totally do it again.
posted by rockindata at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2012

June is always rainy and cool in British Columbia. May can be lovely but will be buggy. Actually it will be buggy any time you go. The nicest months in general are july through September
posted by salishsea at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2012

I have done the Bowron Lakes twice and it is a beautiful and quite manageable canoe circuit, even for fairly inexperienced canoeists.

Wheels for the portages are a good idea, since the trails are very well maintained and are often covered in gravel.

Another good option in B.C. is the Powell Forest Canoe Circuit. It is shorter and there are many fewer people, but the portage trails are much less well maintained.
posted by sindark at 1:13 AM on December 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all for the info.
posted by partner at 4:21 AM on December 29, 2012

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