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Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake 
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:14 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Seattle, Wa
Post Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake
Planning a trip out for next summer.
I am looking at the route north out of Gold Bridge up to Swartz Lake and spending the night or two there.
Then continue North to Gaspard Red Mtn Road.
From there head East over to Chilko Lake for a night or two.
Then over to Middle Lake for a night or two.
From there to Charlotte Lake for a night then into Bella Coola. Looks like plenty of dirt roads to head out and camp along the Bella Coola River.
Then The Ferry down to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and back home from there...

Question, I found old articles (2008) on the trip up from Swartz Lake to the connection North with Gaspard Red Man Road.
Just North of Swartz Lake I have read several descriptions of the road, ie rutted out, jacked up, impassable unless on dirt bike or quad.
Anyone done this portion in the last year or two, how is it looking for a Jeep TJ?
Rock Jock rear, dana 44 front with ARB's in both and a 5.7 Hemi... 35x12.5 tires... Genright triangulated 4 link rear and Rustys radius arms in the front.
thank you for any info on this path...

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Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:12 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:47 pm
Posts: 4259
Location: Ladner, BC
Post Re: Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake
Hello

I highly suggest getting a Backroads mapbook of the area. It is a lot of help. They also offer a chip for Garmin that is good too. Both together work well. There is little to no cell service, even in the towns. There are still phone booths out there.

A few years ago, we went north from Swartz to Chilco Lake. The switchbacks down to Swartz and up from Swartz (other end of the valley) are rutted, but for a decent Jeep and driver do not pose a problem. Otherwise the road is good dirt or high grade gravel.

Your last gas is Braelorne pub or the self serve thing in Gold Bridge. Next gas is Hantzville/Lees Corner or in Nemiah Valley (if heading to Chilco)

Please note, most of the rec sites in the Nemiah Valley are no longer open to the public. Locals only. Ie Vedan Lake, Chaunigan, etc. BUT Tsuniah is still open as is the provincial park at Chilco.

Middle Lake is private property. The road is gated just south of Bluff lake. No access past there. The Three lakes including Bluff get busy as they are popular and good fishing lakes. Tatla lake rec site is not used much and provides outhouses and a small gravel beach.

Hotnarko Lake is a nice quiet spot (can be a 2-3' creek crossing) near Anahim. There is a POI on or just a bit further down the road to Hotnarko. Referred to as the Hotnarko Precipice. It is a crack in the plateau. Its been many years since I have been there. The road was blocked by lego blocks, we parked there and walked 30' through the trees following the water from a culvert from the roadway. the ground just gives way infront of you. Its quite the canyon.

Gas is not cheap out there and it is a long ways between gas stations. Not all towns on maps have gas.

Something else to watch for with the old brown forestry signs in the Chilcotin. They put them on the opposite side of the road than you expect. When looking for a site on your right, the sign will be on your left. And vise versa.

I believe you have some different ferry options as some scheduled ferries hop around a bit and others are a straight shot to Port Hardy. Be sure to book in advance.

HTH

Good luck in your journey

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Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:21 pm
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:14 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Seattle, Wa
Post Re: Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake
- I have the map roads books which are helplful, but I purchased the Back Roads maps digital version for my iPad and that blows away the books and any other mapping program I have ever bought. There are great layers to use on the digital version. The iPad runs off of the external GPS receiver mounted on the roof of my Jeep, love the setup. I also have a satellite phone so I am rarely without a signal on any device.
- Good to know about the road after Swartz, ruts are easy.
- Gas is good, I have the Genright 20 gallon tank and 4 Nato 5 gallon gas cans = net/net 40 gallons.
- Good info on the rec sites, thank you for that.
- Good call on Middle Lake, I will scratch that one off my list.
- So between Hartnarko Lake and Charlotte lake you would pick pick Hartnarko to camp at?
- Outside Bella Coola is Talchako River Forest Service Road. The bridge goes over the Bella Coola river. Once over the bridge you can go left or right. Either direction looks good to find a spot along the river to camp. Have you been up this dirt road, any good spots to pull out and camp?

Awesome info Wes, thank you very much I appreciate the insight!

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Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:01 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:47 pm
Posts: 4259
Location: Ladner, BC
Post Re: Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake
I have not been into Charlotte.
I explored a lot in that area when I fished with my dad. We picked the smaller lakes as we had just a 12' boat.

The furthest West I have been is Anahim/Hotnarko.

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Don't follow so close! I can go slower than you. All of you!

2005 TJ Unlimited... it no longer hums at 90+kmh

I live in Ladner. I own an armoured vehicle. Draw your own conclusions.


Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:58 am
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:14 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Seattle, Wa
Post Re: Gold Bridge - Swartz Lake - Chilko Lake - Middle Lake
Very good, thank you for the info....

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Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:34 pm
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