Tenquille Owl Lakes Recreation Area (TOLRA)

A Unique Alpine Wilderness Experience

Tenquille Lake Cabin belongs to the BC Provincial Government and is maintained and managed by volunteers from the Pemberton Wildlife Association. Constructed originally in the 1940s, Tenquille Lake Cabin was rebuilt by PWA members in the summer of 2011.

THE ‘VISITOR USE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY’ FOR TENQUILLE LAKE IS NOW COMPLETE!

This formal management plan has been created to manage ever-increasing recreation traffic and commercial pressure, and protect sensitive alpine habitats and wildlife while providing a quality Wilderness experience for the visitor.

This VUMS is the result of many years of advocacy, collaboration and cooperation between Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Lilwat Nation, N’Quatqua and community organizations such as the PWA. It is a framework that provides oversight, sound management and sustainable support resources for TOLRA.

Tenquille Owl Lakes Recreation Area (TOLRA) 

The Tenquille Lake to Owl Lakes Recreation Area is 730 hectares of wilderness threaded by four main trails (totalling over 50 Km with many Km of secondary side trip trails). The primary routes are:

  • Chain Lakes Trail
  • Chain Lakes to Tenquille Lake (multi-day traverse)
  • Lillooet River to Tenquille Lake (Historic Tenquille Lake Trail)
  • Branch 12(from Hurley FSR) to Tenquille Lake Trail

There are also 2 Wilderness Recreation sites:

  • Chain Lakes Recreation Site
  • Tenquille Lake Recreation site which includes wilderness camp sites and a cabin.

The PWA provides much of the maintenance and management of the Tenquille Lake Cabin, trails, and camps within the TOLRA through an agreement with the Provincial Government. Our mandate is to maintain the area for the purpose of recreational and conservation activities, providing safe, navigable trails into a wilderness environment for all non-motorized users†.

Club volunteers work each spring to open trails – clear brush fallen/overhanging logs and conduct repairs. Maintenance continues till early winter. Funding for materials, equipment, repairs and supplies is provided through donations, fees collected as well as support from Recreation Sites & Trails BC.

Construction of the NEW Tenquille Lake Cabin (summer 2011) replaced the original, built in the 1940s and was truly a collaboration of many community members. The PWA helped steer the administrative process in addition to managing the donations and funding. The PWA continues to help manage this cabin and provide upkeep and repairs.

TOLRA - Trails Overview

Donations to help maintain the Tenquille Owl Lakes Recreation Area are gratefully accepted.

Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) mapping for the Tenquille Lake area is now posted on the Avalanche Canada website.

MOTORIZED USE ON ALL THESE TRAILS IS PROHIBITED.

Please stay on established trails only and leave the motorbike / ATV at home.

Traveling on these wilderness trails is wholly at the user’s risk. There is no cell phone coverage. Mountain weather is unpredictable and you may encounter black & grizzly bears, cougars, wolves and other wild creatures. Be prepared with proper clothing, food/water, footwear, map/GPS (and extra batteries), whistle and bear spray. Don’t hike alone and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. In winter and spring there can be high avalanche dangers on some trails. Prepare to encounter snow on the trails from late October to early July (at higher elevations).

These are also multi-use trails so be courteous to all hikers, fishermen and hunters [in the fall].

Garbage:  Please PACK OUT what you pack in, all food remains & wrappers – so that wildlife does not become a nuisance or a threat.

Tolra Map Website2
Click to view an Interctive Map of the Tenquille Lake Cabin area (opens in new window)

TOLRA - Listing of Trails & Details

CHAIN LAKES TRAIL

Difficulty: Short and easy, slight elevation gain.

Distance (one way): 2.5Km to first of 3 small lakes, options are to continue on via ‘Chain link Trail’ to end (located 7.4 Km past gravel pit on Westside Rd in valley bottom near Birkenhead River). OR continue up the trail to the left to Fowl Lakes (approx. 1.5hrs further).

Brief description: Easy hike through timber to the first lake, where there is a small wilderness campsite. Approximately 3 Km further on a flat trail to the third Lake. From here, the trail continues to remains of old trappers’ cabin before descending through timber to Birkenhead River valley. Best to leave a car at both ends if planning to do the complete trip.

Facilities: none

Trailhead access: Take Hwy 99 North from Pemberton, pass by right-hand turn off towards the town of Lillooet (church on corner), and continue straight on Old Portage Rd. through the village of Mt Currie. Go over train tracks, turn left onto Owl FSR approximately 4Km further. Owl FSR is steep and not recommended for 2-wheel drives. Watch for logging trucks. Travel 9.3 Km up the main road to the junction of spur road, take the right fork to Chain and Fowl Lakes trailhead.

CHAIN LAKES TO TENQUILLE LAKE (MULTI-DAY TRAVERSE)

Difficulty: High. A good map & GPS and navigation skills are essential to finding your way through the mountain passes. Everyone embarking on the traverse should be physically fit and have the appropriate gear. A minimum of 4 to 5 days is recommended for this trip. Suggest leaving a car at both ends or arranging pickup.

Distance (one way): 25Km + distance from Tenquille Lake out to various trailheads.

Brief description: The first section of the trail is a very easy grade to Chain Lakes. From Chain Lakes, a well-marked trail climbs at a moderate pitch into the pass. Here in semi-alpine, the trail weaves around small ponds and boggy sections then travel slightly downhill to Fowl Lake. Hikers should be aware that in bad weather or snow, the trail could be difficult to follow. The trail continues to Upper Fowl Lake – beyond here the trail becomes a route – marked only by rock cairns in some sections. NOT a place to get caught in bad weather! We encourage using existing campsites at Fowl, Upper Fowl, Ogre and Tenquille Lakes to minimize human impact on this wilderness area.

Facilities: wilderness campsites, cabin and outhouses at Tenquille Lake.

Trailhead access: Use the same directions as Chain Lakes or if starting from Tenquille Lake use Branch 12 or Lillooet River trailhead directions.

LILLOOET RIVER TO TENQUILLE LAKE (VIA HISTORIC TENQUILLE LAKE TRAIL)

WARNING!
Do not travel in high winds. Trees damaged from 2009 forest fires are vulnerable to falling in wind storms. High avalanche danger in winter and spring approaching Wolverine Creek and through Tenquille Pass.

Difficulty: Moderate. Long and steep, and should be attempted only by those in good physical condition.

Distance (one way): 9.5 KM

Brief description: Easiest to reach with any vehicle. Although more difficult than the more popular ‘Branch 12’ route to Tenquille Lake, this trail winds through open forest and offers excellent views of the rich Lillooet River valley below. En route, you’ll cross several small ephemeral streams and pass through small meadows. After crossing Wolverine Creek, the trail meets up with the alternate Branch 12 route, soon climbs through Tenquille Pass then descends to Tenquille Lake.

Facilities: Cabin at Tenquille Lake, wilderness campsites, outhouses.

Trailhead access: This trailhead can be accessed with 2WD and is located approximately 25 KM from the village of Pemberton. Travel North on Pemberton Meadows Rd, take a right turn on the Hurley FSR @ 23Km and continue for approximately 2 km to the bridge crossing Lillooet River. Cross the bridge and park immediately on the other side. Trailhead is approximately 50 meters up spur road to the right.

BRANCH 12 (FROM HURLEY FSR) TO TENQUILLE LAKE TRAIL

WARNING!
High avalanche danger in winter and spring through Tenquille Pass. From spring to mid-summer, exercise caution when crossing snow bridges across creek gullies.

Difficulty: Moderate. Generally easy grade with some steeper sections.

Distance (one way): 6 Km

Brief description: The trail leads northwest, swinging around the south side of Goat Peak, ascending the upper Wolverine Creek drainage where it meets the trail from the Lillooet River bridge(above). The grade of this trail is generally quite gentle, and the route offers views of the Pemberton Valley, Copper Dome and other mountain peaks. After hiking for approximately 5 km, you’ll reach the meadows at Tenquille Pass before descending to Tenquille Lake.

Facilities: Cabin at Tenquille Lake, wilderness campsites, outhouses.

Trailhead access: Drive past Lillooet River access(above) on Hurley FSR – zero your odometer at bridge, at approximately 7KM take RH (up) turnoff to towns of Bralorne/Goldbridge. Approximately 20 Km past Lillooet River bridge, look for the Hurley River/Tenquille Branch sign (‘Branch 12’) – turn right here. Mainly 4×4 access beyond turnoff, distance to the trailhead is approx. 5 KM. Some 2WD vehicles with good clearance can drive part way down Branch 12 and park in the designated parking area approximately 2 Km from turnoff, 4X4 vehicles are only recommended beyond this point.

TOLRA - Tenquille Lake Cabin

Tenquille Lake Cabin is currently closed – opening late Spring 2022 under a Fee & Reservation Only System booked through the PWA website.

Camping at Tenquille Lake will also transition to a Fee & Reservation Only System co-managed by the PWA and Recreation Sites & Trails BC and booked through the PWA website.

A new cabin was funded and built with a huge community effort.  Please RESPECT this cabin and the work that built it for you to use and enjoy.

Cabin Facilities

Facilities Description
Heating Wood stove. Use of stove to be minimized as firewood is in short supply. Not to be used for cooking.
Lighting Solar LED, use sparingly and consider bringing propane lamp to preserve solar power.
Kitchen Propane camp stoves – bring your own ‘Green Propane' cannisters. Kitchen has all cutlery, plates, pots and pans.
Sleeping Upper loft floor, sleeping pads supplied.
Capacity up to 12 people.
Outhouses Urine diverting toilets. Bring your own hand sanitizers and toilet paper.

Cabin Rules

Please help the PWA make the experience of staying at the Tenquille Lake Cabin as comfortable and safe as possible. Learn about Cabin Rules by clicking the headlines below. When you click on a headline, more information appears in each section.

Welcome!  Please take a moment to read this notice. The Provincial permit to build this cabin stipulates the following “rights of use and occupation”:

  • The cabin is provided as a public service for the benefit of all back country mountaineers and the general public.
  • The cabin shall strictly be used for NON-COMMERCIAL recreational use.
  • The cabin belongs to the Provincial government, but is maintained and managed by volunteers from the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA).  

Guidelines from the Volunteers who built this cabin:

  • Please keep the cabin clean and tidy.
  • Leave your muddy boots outside.
  • Please sign the journal – but do not deface the cabin by writing or carving on the walls, tables, etc.
  • Welcome and make room for everyone who has a reservation for the cabin. Work together to have an enjoyable stay.  At night, respect others who wish to sleep!
  • Please do not chop or cut wood in the cabin or on the front porch. Bring your own axe and use only on the chopping block outside on the ground.
  • Use the LED lighting system sparingly. Best used for getting organized then switch to your propane lantern. Reduce electrical draw by turning off main floor, loft or outside lights when not needed.
  • Close all windows and lock door when finally leaving cabin.
  • Propane stoves are provided for cooking. Bring 1lb. ‘green’ tank.
  • Do not place stoves on birch counter top – use them on the tables.
  • Do not take any dishes, pots, cutlery outside. The kitchen supplies belong in the cabin and are to stay inside.
  • If you prefer to cook outside over an open fire you must provide your own cookware.
  • Clean up before you leave.  Pack out all of your garbage and empty propane tanks.
  • The sink drains into a bucket under the sink. Please do not let the bucket overflow. Dump it well away from the creek.
  • Do not leave food in the cabin. It will only attract rodents – if you packed it in you can pack it out!
  • The wood stove is not intended for cooking
  • Please minimize use of the stove to save firewood. Use only when necessary – (wet or cold conditions).  A small, short fire will keep cabin warm for a long time.  Too much fire will make the loft too hot to sleep.
  • Firewood is provided. It is recommended you bring your own axe or hatchet. To ensure the stove performs well, please burn only clean, dry wood. Do not burn building materials which are stacked near/under cabin.
  • Do not cut standing trees. Some trees around the cabin have been damaged by indiscriminate use of axes & saws. There is plenty of deadfall near the cabin or in nearby passes.
  • A fire extinguisher has been provided for emergencies. Be sure the fire has burned out before leaving the cabin (do not use water to put the fire out).
  • Be careful when closing the stove door so that the glass on the stove door doesn’t break!
  • Air for the fire and how fast it burns your wood is controlled by the lever (damper) below the door.
  • No boots upstairs!
  • Help us preserve the ladder and keep the sleeping area clean.