Sweeping valley in the Itcha Illgatchuz Park.
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Itcha Ilgatchuz Region

"There is no greater pleasure than to see wild country from the back of a horse." - Pan Phillips

The Itcha Ilgatchuz Ranges (also spelled Ilgachuz, Ulkatcho and many other ways) are a vast, unroaded wilderness region and excellent example of lonely, barren shield volcanoes that rise up to 7900 feet above sea level or over 4000 feet above the Chilcotin Plateau.

Made up of alpine grasslands with some of the rarest of alpine plants, and the pristine wetlands important to wildlife, the area was designated a park in 1995 to protect the largest woodland caribou herd in British Columbia.

There are no roads in this vast wilderness and its remoteness from even the smallest Chilcotin communities protects it from the ravages of over enthusiastic visitors that can unknowingly destroy its fragile ecosystem. What it does provide is some of the most extraordinary trailriding and hiking in British Columbia.

It was through these mountains that Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips of cowboy lore pushed a horse trail to found some of the most isolated ranches in North America. These two hardy individuals, one a cow poke and one an ex-stockbroker caught in the stock market crash that brought on the Depression, sat down in the bunkhouse of a Midwestern ranch late one night to pore over a map of British Columbia. That map showed nothing but a huge blank spot in Central West British Columbia, now known as the Chilcotin. That's where these two erstwhile adventurers decided their future lay.

Rich Hobson wrote three books about their trials and tribulations involved with finding and settling rich ranch land in a remote region that involved rough pack trips, tortuous cattle drives, and the incessant run ins with grizzly bears. Those three books have brought settlers and visitors from all over the world to the Chilcotin, including yours truly. The header picture on this page of the wide sweeping valley among old volcanos is called Pan Valley and named for Pan Phillips.

The country is no tamer than it was then, although now more people travel the old trails and access the back country using horses, floatplanes, by hiking, and through the limited use of snowmobiles in winter.

There are outfitters that take visitors up into the alpine, including descendants of the folks that helped Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips to realize their dream. The outfitters will take you on a few days to a week long pack trip where you will see wildlife and alpine plants particular to that region, enjoy camp cooking over an open fire, and the special camaraderie that can only be found on a trail ride. Some of the outfitters will also provide horsetrekking trips where you get to hike this magnificent country, but the horse does the carrying!

If you would like more information from Parks about the amenities available to those of you who would like to take a self guided trip into the region, you will find it at Itcha Illgatchuz Park.

Operators - Itcha Illgatchuz Region

Escott Bay Resort
Anahim Lake
Itcha Illgatchuz Mountain Outfitters
Anahim Lake
   
Belly of horse frames a man sitting on the ground.
 
Wildflowers in front of a calm lake.
 
Trailriders around a campfire.
 
Rocky slope with three horsemen.
 
Water pools in the bottom of a volcano.
 
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