Active Adventure Program

[ Cattle Work | Trail Riding | Rodeo ]

The Big Creek Lodge is a real working cattle ranch in the mountains of British Columbia. The ranch is operated in old style, like 100 years ago, and runs the cattle on three big pastures, the Spring, Summer and Fall range.

Here you still can see real cowboying, we can't run the ranch without the horses and cowboys. The 3 ranges are more than 25,000 ha and consist of a wilderniss without any villages. Every week the cattle has to be checked and moved to another pasture. There is no other way to pass narrow forest trails than on horseback.

For more than 20 years we own a band of horses. Most of them we bred here at the ranch. Everybody, who wants to ride, will find his/her dream horse in our herd.

Most of our horses are Quarter Horses, famous for their fast speed, their endurance and the cow sense and known as the best ranch horses. But we also have Thoroughbred horses with great speed. For slow trailrides our guests love the Tennessee Walker, with their soft gait. These horses are also great for people, which usually don't ride a lot.

By the way, every guest can chose his horse by himself. We just help a bit. Most of the time the short or longer trailrides and the cowboying are the start of a long friendship.

Cattle Work
Cowboys & Cowgirls wanted!

[ Cattle Work | Trail Riding | Rodeo ]

We are a "Working Guest Ranch", we offer trailrides but also have cattle. So there is always a chance to join us with the cattle work.

In May we round up the cattle for branding. In June and September you can ride in a real cattle drive. Who didn't want to be a cowboy?

There weren't many changes at our ranch for many years:
Early in January we bring the cattle in to doctor them. The bulls will be separated from the herd, they will stay at their own corral, where they get fed with hay and grain. The cows are still at the Winter range, which is nearby the ranch's headquarter. In Spring they also will be in corrals, so we can separate these cows, which will have a calf soon.

During this time it's Canada-cold, that's why the mama cows spend the time after calving in out heated barn. Just one day later the calves will play with their mama cows in the pastures. As soon as the calves fur is dry they can bear temperatures till 30 degree minus.

We always get asked how many animals we lose during the Winter. The truth is, much less than in Summer! Usually no at all. In Summer we lose animals mostly due to predators.

On Mai 15 we have our first cattle drive. After branding the calves we move our herd to the Spring range. The branding is important, without a brand the calves wouldn't survive. Unbranded calves belong everybody and end up in a freezer pretty fast.

On June 10 the big cattle drive starts: after an exhausting roundup we move the cattle over long trails to the Summer range at Fire Creek. This is real cowboy work! This didn't change in North America during the last 150 years.

We use the Summer range together with our neighbour and friend, who has his ranch 25km north of our lodge. As soon as we are on the Summer range he will trail his cattle thru our empty Spring range, to bring them also to the Summer range. This will be June 15 - 19 and many hands are needed. Our guests are always welcome to help!

We have to make sure the pasteres won't be overgrazed, that's why we have to rotate the cattle every week. The cowboys move them to other pastures, check the cattle, if they are sick or injured. The cattle won't be sick quite often, but injuries by wolves and bears are possible. So we have to doctor injured cattle and the visit of people drives wolves and other dangerous animals away from the herd. Most of the time the cattle lives in small groups and the mama cows with their horns can chase away wolves and other dangerous animals, but most of the time a calf is already injured and needs help.

The next big event takes place in October: the Fall round up, the "home run", from Fire Creek back to the ranch. The cattle stays at the Winter Range till calfing time, then they come to the "homeland".


[ Cattle Work | Trail Riding | Rodeo ]

We offer daily trailrides, experienced riders are welcome to ride on their own or in small groups, without a wrangler. During these rides you can experience the wide landscape. But we suggest to explore the ranch with us, before you go out on your own, the ranch is in a really remote area and it would be a shame to get lost or to be back too late and miss dinner.

The Big Creek Lodge is located south of the small community of Big Creek, British Columbia, about 25 km (16 miles) north of the Coast Mountains. The Chlicotins vast and beautiful landscape is only dotted by a few gravel roads making access limited and keeping the land almost untouched by man. These roads are used by the local ranches that make up the community of Big Creek.

Ranch life hasn't changed much in the last few hundred years with the cowboy still being the most important person on the place. The cowboy's life is based around the ranch and livestock and takes a full days work to keep the place running. The job starts early in the morning and doesn't finish till all the work has been done; whether it's feeding the animals, moving cattle, breaking in young horses or fixing the fences.

The Big Creek Provincial Park begins 10 km (6 miles) south of the Lodge and stretches itself nearly 40 km (25 miles) up into the Coast Mountains. The Big Creek Lodge, like most ranches in Big Creek, helped the community to push for the creation of this Provincial Park in order to keep the local lumber companies from destroying this pristine environment.

In the years prior to the parks establishment, the ranch had used this land for its cattle operation and trail rides with their guests. We were given the right to continue to use this pristine land as we had done for many decades.

Wilderness Adventure:
Camp Trip from the Big Creek Lodge to the Coast Mountains

For many years now the Big Creek Lodge has owned and operated a little camp at the base of Anvil Mountain for its cattle outfit and guest business. The camp is 32 km (20 miles) from civilization in any direction and can only be reached by horseback through the park.

It is made up of two cabins, a generator shed, a large corral system and a tack shed for all the gear. The remoteness of this camp means that it is a huge task to maintain the camp during the season and everything from hay to groceries is transported up to camp by horse drawn wagon or pack horse.

These trips to the camp can take up to 6 hours one way and makes up a whole days work. All this however, rewards the visitor with a once in a life time experience. You will always be surrounded by a new adventure from swimming in the crystal clear waters of Sherwood Lake, to watching the many different wild animals in their natural environment. Sherwood Lake is also home to some of the biggest and nicest rainbow trout you will ever see. So, for the fisherman in some of us there is nothing like catching your dinner and cooking it over an open fire.

The trip begins after a hardy breakfast at the Big Creek Lodge. The horses are caught in a corral, saddled up and loaded into a horse trailer so that they can be transported for the first 12 km (7.5 miles) of the trip. This is done in order to save both the horses and the riders' energy for the long trip to camp.

The horseback part begins at the entrance to Fire Creek where the horses are unloaded and the pack horses are loaded up with supplies. The ride then gets underway on the old trail which heads south into the mountains.

This trail is wide enough for only two horses at the best of times and is dotted with rocks, ruts and swampy ground making it even impassable for all wheel drive vehicles. As the ride makes its way up Fire Creek, you come to the first crossing through the cold blue glacier water.

The trail then winds itself through a dense forest coming out into an opening that we like to call "Rusty Meadow". This meadow stretches itself almost endlessly towards the mountains and the trail leading out is hidden by the same dense forest that surrounds you while you make your way to the camp. Only an experienced guide will be able to find this opening as you continue along the trail.

After 2 hours on horseback you will find yourself riding along the Nadilla, which is another one of the many streams that snake their way down the mountains. As you ride through this stream, you will begin to see a cabin which is used by the local ranches as a "cow camp". The cowboy's use this is a place to sleep and a base to ride out from as they search for their cattle.

As you continue on the trip you will dive in and out of huge meadow systems and untouched forests until you come to the final draw of Fire Creek. On your approach to the Anvil Mountain Camp you will first notice the "cook shack" which is where the guide sleeps, this is also where all the meals are prepared and eaten.

The guest cabin that sits behind the "cook shack" will be your home for the next few days. There is also a corral system in the camp where the horses are kept and a tack shed where the saddles and riding gear are stored. After a long day in the saddle and a hardy meal the outside camp fire makes the perfect setting for many stories to be told and where adventures from the day can be relived.

In the next few days you will do everything from riding around the beautiful landscape up onto Anvil Mountain, to fishing in the still waters of Sherwood.

As your trip comes to an end and you make your way back down to the truck and trailer, you will find it hard not to think of all the good times you have experienced.

Although after riding in a hard saddle over the past few days, a comfortable truck seat will feel better than it ever has!

>> HERE << you can find the rates for our activity program.

Williams Lake Rodeo

[ Cattle Work | Trail Riding | Rodeo ]

On June 29 the big R O D E O at Williams Lake begins. It's the nearest town, about 125km away from the ranch. At the rodeo the cowboys meet and compete in their riding and roping skills. It's the biggest rodeo in Britis Columbia and international accepted. That's why even cowboys from texas come to this rodeo.

These professional cowboys show the audience amazing skills. You have to see the well trained horses! The cowboys of the BC ranches love the wild cow milking and to catch, saddle and ride wild horses.

Every year more than 30,000 visitors are at the rodeo. Since 1983 we drive to town with our guests, to visit the rodeo. You really have to see that rodeo crazy small town!

Activities: Relax Program Navigation Activities: Children Program
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phone: +1 (250) 394-4831