Tumbler Ridge is known in birding circles as “the place where east meets west”, for it is here that species separated for ages by glaciation now meet again at the extremes of their respective ranges. The mixture of habitats – lakes, rivers, canyons, deciduous and coniferous forests, sub-alpine and alpine tundra – contributes to the diversity. The bird list now stands at 229 and is steadily increasing, with new species still being discovered. The best time for bird-watching is just after sunrise in May and June.
Whether you’re an ardent “twitcher” in search of rare species, or simply want to hear some melodious birdsong, our fascinating avian population offers hours of enjoyment. All three species of ptarmigan, varieties of hawks, wrens and warblers, nesting Trumpeter swans, and the thrilling spring and fall migration of 6,000 (approx.) golden eagles soaring overhead at speeds of up to 120 km (75 mi) an hour are part of what draws eager bird fanciers.
The BC Field Naturalists held their 2004 AGM in Tumbler Ridge, attracted by the region’s ornithological claims to fame. Birdwatchers will appreciate the Tumbler Point bird sanctuary, where 170 species have been identified. An easy, two-hour ramble along the TR Point Trail provides plenty of opportunities to hear and view songbirds.
For a detailed bird watching list click here
Bullmoose Marshes Wetland Interpretive Area
So far, 74 bird species have been identified in the Bullmoose Marshes, 24 km (15 mi) from Tumbler Ridge on Hwy. 29 toward Chetwynd. The Sora and Bittern Trails, built in 2003 as a co-operative effort between business, environmental groups and local citizens, provide excellent viewing of varied wildlife, vegetation and birds. Both trails lead through changing forest, meadow and wetland habitats to viewing platforms.
The Sora Trail (500 m return) leads through willow, balsam poplar and young spruce with lots of warblers, including Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia, American Redstart and more. At trail end, look for Wilson’s Snipe, Solitary Sandpiper, Tree Swallows, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Mallard, and others that populate this region. Sora are common here, but more often heard than seen.
The longer Bittern Trail
(1300 m return) provides lovely views of the marshes and Bullmoose Mountain in the distance. Listen for Blackpoll Warbler in the spruce forest. The final viewing platform on this trail has provided one of the few American Bittern sightings in the region.
For more detailed information, pick up the free brochures “Birds of Tumbler Ridge” and “Bullmoose Marshes Hiking Trail and Wetland Interpretive Area” at the Visitor Centre
The fine art of canyoning (or “canyoneering”) uses every part of your body and requires all kinds of skills – scrambling, climbing, jumping, sliding, abseiling, swimming and exhilarated shouting as you make the journey down natural rock canyons, water-polished chutes, waterfalls, pools and rivers.
Quality Canyon is close to town, and a full descent includes three or four waterfall rappels, although it’s possible to scramble into and out of some of the most impressive sections without rope. Tentfire Canyon is another great spot, usually done as an ascent. A dozen or so small waterfalls need to be negotiated with some simple rock scrambling.
Apart from the thrills associated with leaping off waterfalls and sliding down glass-smooth rocks, canyoning is an enthralling way to interact with nature in ways few others get to experience. July to September is the best time for canyoning in Tumbler Ridge.
For more information, contact the Visitor Centre.
Caving is an exciting new adventure in Tumbler Ridge, and you don’t have to be a seasoned spelunker to enjoy our subterranean scenery. An impressive array of small caves – up to 200 feet deep – and British Columbia’s only known ice caves and first underground icefall (Sausage Cave) can also be visited here.
The Stone Corral in Monkman Provincial Park is a good place to start, where, beneath the steepest cliffs, lies the large entrance to Corral Cave. The walls of the 20 m (66 ft) deep cave are smooth and vertical and the ceiling is high, making for easy entry. In spring and early summer, a dramatic collection of massive icicles is an impressive sight. A few tiny stalactites can be seen if you shine a flashlight up into the top corner. Overhead and along the wall are some beautiful calcite flowstone walls, as well as another attractive collection of small stalactites.
Porcupine is another cave along the same trail as it leads away from the cliff edge and crosses a gully. There is a tiny sinkhole with a small opening in the rock face, one of the entrances to Porcupine Cave. Do not enter this opening! Instead, proceed and enter a second sinkhole just over the ridge, as this entrance is larger. Porcupine Cave is 10 m (33 ft) long, fairly narrow at either end but opens up into a chamber in the middle with standing room. There are fine coral fossils on the ceiling, and cave popcorn, which is recognized by its knob-like shape. The floor is covered with old porcupine droppings, hence the name.
Caves are fragile environments that need to be treated with the greatest respect. Under no circumstances should you touch the walls, take anything or leave anything.
For more information, contact the Tumbler Ridge Visitor Centre.
Tumbler Ridge is a welcoming, family-friendly place, with an excellent community centre that reflects the importance of activity for everyone. Bring the kids to the modern aquatic centre and enjoy the full-sized pool, tots pool, sauna, hot tub, steam room and squash/racquetball courts. An indoor children’s playground welcomes the little ones, and there’s a climbing wall in the Youth Centre. Displays at the Tumbler Ridge Museum (free admission) feature dinosaur discoveries, mining, early pioneers, and our cultural history.
Don’t miss the astonishing dinosaur trackways of Tumbler Ridge – one of the few places in the world you can see authentic footprints left millions of years ago by these legendary creatures. Sites at Flatbed Creek and Wolverine River can be visited on your own, but an interpretive tour with an experienced guide is the best way to get the most out of your visit. Guided day or night tours can be booked at the Visitor Centre.
Mountain Biking / Cycling
On two wheels you can cover a lot of ground and still see, hear and smell the natural world around you, and there’s always something happening just the other side of your sunglasses. Cycling is a terrific way to explore the Tumbler Ridge area. An excellent network of trails varies from easygoing, well-marked paths suitable for all levels of riders to rugged mountain-bike routes for those seeking challenge and adventure.
Tumbler Ridge is a mountain-biking haven, with miles of logging roads, both used and unused, stretching out before you. The 6 km/3.7 mi (return) Wolverine Trail to Lost Haven Cabin offers excellent forest riding and begins very close to town. Up in the mountains, trails from the coal-exploration boom of the 1980s provide access to stunning alpine scenery. The 30 km/18.5 mi (one way) “Kinuseo Creek to Creek” follows an old disused road to Kinuseo Falls, 48 km (30 mi) southeast of Tumbler Ridge off Highway 52E/Boundary Road near Mt. Clifford.
Some of the more popular trails start off Bergeron Crescent in town. For the extreme biker, these trails will be a pedal in the park; enjoy the views over Flatbed Creek and the Murray River as you go. Free-wheel beside a dazzling river on a day trip or pack the panniers for a multi-day expedition. Stunning valley to mountain views, and no traffic lights!
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
For more information on mountain biking and cycling in Tumbler Ridge, contact the Visitor Centre.
Capture the astounding beauty of the natural world in which Tumbler Ridge is so gloriously set – the landscapes, wildlife, weather and natural light. Thundering waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, soaring mountain peaks, alpine views that go on forever… More than 200 species of birds spread their wings here, including golden and bald eagles. Caribou, elk, moose, lynx, wolves and bears wander free in their natural habitats, while Trumpeter swans settle down to nest. On clear crisp nights, the Aurora Borealis dances across the sky. In winter, freshly fallen snow blankets the hills and valleys as far as the eye (and camera) can see. And don’t miss the dinosaur trackways around Tumbler Ridge – one of the few places in the world to view these ancient treasures.
In today's era of easy-to-use, high-quality, affordable digital cameras, the field of nature photography is no longer restricted to the elite few. It’s easier, of course, with advanced tools such as 600mm lenses, which are usually required for bird photography.
Whether you're amateur or professional, Tumbler Ridge is a photographer's paradise where you'll find plenty to keep your camera busy.
While on your photo expedition, please be mindful of the issue of stress or harm to wildlife and the potential of photographers overrunning and destroying natural areas. Never feed or leave food to attract wild animals, as they are all potentially dangerous.
For information on nature photography in Tumbler Ridge, contact the Visitor Centre
Tourism Operators in Tumbler Ridge
Monkman Expeditions Ltd.
Guided hiking, heli-hiking, canoeing
Wild River Adventure Tours
TR Gallery Framing
Jetboat tours to Kinuseo Falls