View topic - Atlin Lake - NW BC

Canadian Canoe Routes

Atlin Lake - NW BC
Page 1 of 2

Author:  superjens [ May 4th, 2008, 12:05 am ]
Post subject:  Atlin Lake - NW BC

Last summer my paddling partner and I drove up from Vancouver to Atlin, a little town just a few hundred kilometers south of Whitehorse. Our plan was to explore the southern end of Atlin Lake and to hike up to Llewellyn Glacier.

Click here for the Google Maps view.

edit for new links to BC Parks links:

All the tripping we'd done up until now was in the small lakes and rivers in the Laurentians in Quebec (a few hours drive NW of Montreal). For us, this was going to be a huge, once in a lifetime trip. We fared well, but had moments each day that had us questioning our sanity. Atlin Lake is huge, and every afternoon the winds poured off the glaciers and down the valleys onto the big long wide water and churned up waves we had no place being on.

We foolishly chose to paddle as the crow flies a few times, trying to save time by crossing wide expanses instead of hugging the shore. In hindsight we consider ourselves lucky to be alive; the water was constantly very cold (around 5c), we didn't have a spray deck or wet/dry suits. We never swamped, but looking back I think we were complete idiots for taking chances. We should have started our days much earlier when the winds were calm, and we should have never strayed as far from shore as we did.

The area is absolutely beautiful. Huge mountain ranges and crystal clear water all around. The lake wasn't as isolated as we'd thought, we ran into other paddlers every day and even had trouble finding free campsites. Everybody we talked to came from Whitehorse, except for one soloist from Switzerland who was fulfilling his childhood dream of paddling in the Yukon. His next destination, after hiking to Llewellyn Glacier like ourselves, was to follow Atlin Lake to the Yukon River and meet up wtih his girlfriend in Dawson.

I have a full writeup on the entire trip on my website:

edit for new links:
4 pages of photos: Atlin Canoe Trip

When I'm bored online I can spend hours looking at other people's trip photos, so I figured there must be other people who like to do the same. So aside from the multi dozens in the trip report I just linked to, there are a couple hundred more photos here, too:

Enjoy! I hope the reading isn't too dull, I wrote it mainly as a diary / reminder for myself. If anybody else is planning a trip up there and has some questions, fire away.

(links updated as I switched website platforms)

Author:  Canoeheadted [ May 4th, 2008, 12:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Awsome pics!

Atlin lk is very high on our "to do" list, and it just went up another notch.

Thanks for the effort, very appreciated.

Author:  Leopard [ May 5th, 2008, 6:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Excellent report and pictures. :clap: Thanks for sharing. Glad to see a 10 year plan work out and a dream fulfilled.

Author:  pknoerr [ May 5th, 2008, 8:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cool stuff. Spent two months of the summer of 1987 up in the Atlin area mapping the geology. Actually, we were in the vicinity of McKee Creek where the moly mine is. It's all accretionary terrain where island arcs slammed against the western North American Plate boundary. Some of the most messed up geology I've ever seen. We also did a trip to the southern end of Tagish Lake mapping that area as well. We did several hikes to the top of the coast mountains and then looked out over the Juneau Icefields towards the Inner Passage. Some of the most fantastic terrain, one of these days I should pull the slides out from that trip again. Thanks for the memories.


Author:  Hugh [ May 6th, 2008, 8:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for sharing.

We're going to be up that way this summer and will be doing a trip in Atlin.
Really looking forward to it and you've added to the anticipation!!!

We will be taking our dry suits and spray skirt.


Author:  Barbara [ May 6th, 2008, 8:20 am ]
Post subject: 

Wowza. Kinda got "lost" in your photo album.

Thanks for posting. :clap:


Author:  superjens [ May 7th, 2008, 11:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Barbara wrote:
Wowza. Kinda got "lost" in your photo album.

I know, I went overboard and took 1100 photos. Amazingly without even changing batteries!

Author:  Tom H [ May 26th, 2008, 2:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Nice photos. Is there no way to view them one after another in a slideshow-like format? After being used to just hitting a single button or doing a single mouse-click to go to the next photo in the bunch, it seems like a pain to have dismiss the current window, wait four seconds, go back to thumbs, click on the next pic, wait another 2 seconds, etc, etc. I probably just couldn't figure out how --- it's all your own content? I noticed it seems to be your own domain. Good for you for setting all that up. Everybody seems to just use Google's Picasa or Photo-Bucket or what have you because it's so easy.

I have some trip reports you can look at if you're bored sometime:

The closest beach to me here in Surrey is Blackie Spit --- where you guys went flying, and there's some photos of Crescent Beach/Blackie Spit and some whales I shot last summer, too.

Author:  superjens [ May 26th, 2008, 3:29 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree, I didn't lay things out as well as you see on some other sites, for sure I'll never claim to be a competent designer! I'm a sysadmin by trade, and my website is pretty much my "test bed" on my own hardware, and I switch platforms on a yearly basis so I'm forced to try things out. This year it's running on Microsoft Sharepoint, which is really handy for some things but not so wonderful for photo sharing.

There is a slideshow view, but I think it only works on Internet Explorer, maybe Firefox, for sure not on Opera.

If you start from here ( ... mplate=109), you'll see all the photo folders in the Outings section. Go inside any of them and hit Actions / View Slide Show. This works fairly well, but then there are no thumbnails to jump ahead, you have to see them one at a time. I see the appeal of Picasa and the others.

Great photos on your link by the way, I just picked up my new canoe a few weeks ago and am on the lookout for places to go and you're giving me some good ideas. I did nearly the same Indian Arm trip as you this weekend, started at Belcarra and went North and around into Bedwell Bay, then came back down to just across from Barnett Park. I was planning on doing Blackie Spit yesterday but got sidetracked, ended up at Burnaby Lake in the evening which was pretty dissapointing. Constant highway noise and nothing interesting to see.

I'm looking forward to going back up Widgeon Creek, the clear water and big mountains, that trip has an amazing Wow factor!

Author:  Tom H [ May 26th, 2008, 4:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Its surprising just how many little lakes and rivers and beaches to paddle in the lower mainland. Starting from Crescent Beach there's the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers. If you look at the Semiahmoo Indian Reserve on a map or Google Earth there's a cool little windy river that you enter from the ocean by going under a railroad trestle --- you have to go at high tide otherwise the beach is too exposed, but tides are high twice a day and you can park for free on the road into the reserve, not far from river's mouth. I was suprised at how wild it seemed after getting past the first couple bends, it really feels like a wilderness river, no buildings or garbage and lots of wildlife (but some highway noise). A tree lies across it a km or so up from the trestle so I couldn't go far enough upstream to see if it's clear all the way under the highway --- if it is, then you could paddle all the way through the golf course on the other side of the highway. That might be interesting --- until you get nailed by a golf ball.
Wigeon is great, Chilliwack Lake is magnificent --- the silence is deafening.
The Fraser is high right now, raising water levels in Pitt Lake and Wigeon --- you can get MUCH further upstream along the various windy little tributaries on Wigeon than you can during the dry season.
Enjoy --- and take pictures!

Yeah, see? I knew I just couldn't figure out how to do get into 'slide-show' mode. I didn't know there was a drop-down list under, "Actions". I should have just clicked around more.

When you're deciding where to go paddling on the lower mainland, if you have any questions about parking or anything like that, feel free to PM me --- I've been to most of the local paddling spots and would be happy to help. has local paddling destination trip-reports with maps and charts all the info you could want about parking, how to get there, amount of wildlife, etc. Many of them are for trips on the strait and to the Gulf Islands hence not really suitable for an open canoe, but there's tons of lake and river trip-reports that contain much useful information for a canoe paddler.
Like any group of people, the westcoastpaddler gang is a mixed bag. The vast majority are intelligent, friendly, fair minded, decent people who're highly knowledgable about paddling. It is a well known fact, however, that a small number of admins and their retinues of lesser lights, have developed a consistent reputation for occaisionaly autocratic and atavistic behaviour.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ February 5th, 2009, 10:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atlin Lake - NW BC

Any chance the Atlin links can be fixed?

Author:  Tom H [ February 5th, 2009, 10:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atlin Lake - NW BC

Atlin Links? What are they?

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ February 5th, 2009, 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atlin Lake - NW BC

The ones in the first post in this thread:

Author:  Barbara [ February 5th, 2009, 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atlin Lake - NW BC

4 pages of photos:

Click: Atlin Canoe Trip

New links to BC Parks' Atlin Lake pages:


Author:  Tom H [ February 6th, 2009, 5:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Atlin Lake - NW BC


Yeah they keep changing the park websites.

Looks liike a nice place.


Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group