Just over an hour's drive from the town of Houston (which is located on Highway #16) you can enjoy the start of a wilderness canoe/camping trip in the Nanika-Kidprice Lakes Basin. This basin lies on the eastern slope of the Coastal Mountain Range and forms the upper watershed of the Morice-Bulkley Rivers. The basin area is 920 meters above sea level and is surrounded by glaciated and snow-capped peaks that rise as high as 2400 meters.
The canoe trip goes from the road-accessible Lamprey Lake to Kidprice Lake. The 30 kilometre round trip can be made in 3 days, but 5 to 6 days allows the adventurer the opportunity to explore the lush alpine meadows of Tableland and the Sibola Range. View moose, black bear, mountain goats, bear and other small animals, and watch eagles and osprey fight over freshly caught fish, or the numerous other birds, and photograph the mountain and lake scenery with the ever changing lighting effects. Then there is the Nanika Falls that drop 18 meters from Kidprice Lake into Nanika River, and alone is just about worth the trip.
The canoe/camping adventure starts on the north shore of Lamprey Lake, where there is a large camping area and vehicle parking site. A short paddle across Lamprey Lake to the south shore, brings the adventurer to the first portage (1.5 kilometres) Canoe resting supports are located along the trail, and planked-over wet areas make the trail easy to travel.
The next remote Lake is Anzac Lake, with its many water lily filled bays and an island with a good camping site. An excellent area to watch moose feeding along the lake in the early mornings and evenings. A short portage trail (.5 kilometres) from Anzac lake leads to the east end of Stepp Lake. This lake has many nice sandy beaches and areas to camp and enjoy the surrounding area. There's good Cutthroat fishing in this lake. At the west end of Stepp Lake, the longest portage trail to Kidprice Lake begins (2 kilometres). Once Kidprice Lake is reached there is a great camping area on the end of the lake with a view of the snow-capped peaks.
Four kilometres up the lake on the north shore, the lower Nanika River begins and a short distance down stream the river drops over the Nanika Falls. Great fishing for rainbow trout and bull trout in the numerous pools down the river. A true wilderness area for groups of all ages to enjoy.
From the Yellowhead Highway, approximately 2 kilometres west the town of Houston, turn south on the Morice River Forest Service Road. This Forest Service Road (FSR) is marked in kilometres starting at the Canfor Mill site near the Yellowhead Highway.
Driving 27 kilometers will bring you to the junction of the Francois Lake and Morice Lake Roads. Turn right onto the Morice Lake Road and continue southwest approximately 38 kilometres. This brings you to the 65-kilometre marker on the road. Turn left and continue on to Lamprey Lake and the start of the canoe/camping trip.
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Posted By: Mysocksarewet
- Sun Dec 14 02:56:22 UTC 2008
CommentI was back in 2008. The Nanika-Kidprice Canoe Route is now a Provincial Park and the Park crews have been busy. All the foot bridges and boardwalks have been rebuilt and upgraded, and the trails have been cleared of overhanging branches and windfalls. New signs along the trail marking the distance are helpfull too.
A big thank you to the Parks Crew. Nice Work.
Posted By: Mysocksarewet
- Fri Feb 01 04:53:53 UTC 2008
UpsideDid this trip in June 2007. The weather was great till the trip back. Scenery is stunning . All the trails were well marked and easy to follow. All in all, a fantastic trip. DownsideThe heavy snowfall of 2006/07 caused alot of damage to the foot bridges and board walks and brought down a few trees across the trail. The high water level flooded some of the camp sites and caused a higher than normal mosquito population. CommentI'll be back in 2008 (with better bug dope). A couple points: We tried running the creek between Stepp lake and Kidprice Lake because the water level was high enough. I wouldn't recomend it because there are many log jams and even with the water level high, we hit our fair share of sharp rocks. Also, be careful of the strong currents near the falls on kidprice lake. It might be best to go ashore near the cable car and hike to the falls if you are not a strong paddler.
Posted By: kanoeheadted
- Wed Aug 09 04:17:08 UTC 2006
UpsideHey tom, the cart idea would not work so well on these portages. Rent or borrow a lighter boat. DownsideWinds pick up early afternoon, so tackle Stepp in A.M. CommentMake a sail for Stepp on the way back. Camp just before the two longer portages, that way you're well rested.
Posted By: tomh
- Mon Jul 24 03:57:20 UTC 2006
CommentQuestion: could you get away with a cart, (the 2 wheeled kind) for the portages? My canoe is about 90lbs dry, and 2 klicks can be a very long walk with that on the base of your neck. thanks Tom
Posted By: Hart & Nell
- Mon Aug 15 04:48:01 UTC 2005
UpsideA beautiful quit trip for myself and Bob my border collie. We Kayaked to the end of Kidprice. A good selection of camp sites along the way. Trail was good with no blow down. I came out in one day asthe weather was changing for the worse. I had the wind to my back. The portages were very clean as was the campsite I stayed in on the N.E. end of Kidprice Lake. DownsideNo down side to this route. I just wish I would have done it years ago. CommentThe Kayak was a little hard to portage but will work on that for the next trip.
Posted By: kanoeheadted
- Mon Jan 05 06:26:42 UTC 2004
UpsideFirst portage is .5km easy uphill, then 1km med.-dif. down. Second portage .5km easy level. Third portage 2km easy level. All excellent trails. Downsidenone CommentWorth every bit of sweat. Kidprice lake could be paddled to in one long easy day.(weather permitting).
Posted By: hawke_gh
- Tue Dec 16 06:56:32 UTC 2003
UpsideNice photos & good instructions on finding the trailhead. The map picture helps too DownsideYou don't mention whether there is much elevation gain/loss during the portages. CommentAre there any steep scrambles or are the portage trails fairly flat?