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Horseback Riding Expedition in Canada

Set off on an exhilarating quest for gold on the legendary Li-lik-hel Mine Expedition. Traverse trails once etched by miners and weathered by years of horse-drawn journeys carrying precious gold ore to the rail-head in the early 1900s. Immerse yourself in a three-day, two-night adventure through the breathtaking Coast Mountain Range of British Columbia. Discover the awe-inspiring landscapes nestled between Birkenhead Lake and the historic Li-lik-hel mine, unveiling the region's natural splendor.

Key Information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 275 pounds / 124 kilograms
  • Horse Breed: Cayuses


  • 3 days of horse riding
  • Riding between Birkenhead Lake and the Li-lik-hel mine
  • The trip can be tailored for all abilities
  • Services of guides and use of horses and tack
  • 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners
  • 2 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


3 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
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Copper Cayuse Outfitters' base camp is comfortable and features 8-man platform tents (only sleep 4 to a tent) with cots, mats, and sleeping bags provided. There is a covered kitchen / dining area along with hot and cold showers and pit toilets (towel and washcloth provided).



  • Meeting location: Trailhead on Birkenhead River Road / Birkenhead FSR (driving directions provided upon booking)
  • Ride location: Birkenhead Backcountry, in Pemberton BC
  • Type of riding: Adventurous, single-track mountain horseback riding. Trips can be tailored for all abilities.
  • Availability: Tours leave Fridays at 9:30 a.m. from the trailhead, between June 30th and September 28. Early-season trips can be restricted due to spring snow melt.


Day 1 - Friday

Begin your expedition bright and early on Friday. Meet Copper Cayuse Outfitters at the trailhead where your horse and guides will be waiting. You'll embark on a 15-kilometer ride to the base camp, passing a recent mine claim exploration on the way. At the camp, you'll be reunited with your luggage (maximum weight of 30 lbs). The base camp features amenities like a hot shower, outdoor plumbing, and tents on platforms for extra guest comfort.

Day 2 - Saturday

After a hearty morning meal, you'll set out to the Li-lik-hel mine, allowing you to explore the original mine site and witness how the old hard rock miners extract gold ore by following the veins in the rock. From base camp, you can also enjoy day rides to various locations of interest. Each day concludes with campfire gatherings and cozy tent accommodations.

Day 3 - Sunday

On the final day, they offer a range of trail options for your return journey to the trailhead, and the choice is yours, guided by the preferences of the riding group.


Copper Cayuse Outfitters reserves the right to decide the eventual destination of the ride based on trail conditions on the day of the ride. This is for the safety of the horses and riders.


Most of the horses are from Mt Currie or the Lil’wat Nation, where they spent their early years running free learning the ways of the British Columbia wilderness. They go by several names, Lil’wat Range Horses, Mt Currie Cayuse, or Lil’wat Cayuse. They just call them the Mt Currie boys.

They usually get the horses when they are between two and three years old, and it takes about two to three years to train them. They have over 35 trained cayuses that work between the locations, each with their own distinct personality. To ensure an enjoyable experience for all, they match the guest’s riding ability and level of experience to the spirit and character of the horse. They hope you enjoy learning a bit about each of the boys, (that’s right there are no mares) because they are indeed family.

Ty - Thoroughbred / Tennessee walker cross, 19 years old

A genuinely graceful mix, Ty is one of the smoothest horses. Long-legged and gaited, Ty is a smooth ride at any gait, and this smoothness is appreciated by all that ride him. Specializing in the ranch rides, you often find Ty at full tilt in the field.

Pan - Mt. Currie, 6 years old

Pan is one of the newest entrants into the string and is being ridden predominantly by the wranglers to finalize his training. Curious and affectionate, Pan is a real pet, and is regularly the first to come investigate. When not working, Pan is often seen prancing around in the field, showing off his good looks!

Whiskey - Welsh Pony / Quarter-horse, 23 years old

Trained as a jumping horse in his earlier years, Whiskey came to the ranch when he was 8, and quickly became a rock-solid choice for backcountry riding. Since then, he has carried many kids to all corners of the tenure, and is the most requested horse for returning guests.

Rufio - Mt. Currie, 6 years old

Rufio is one of two paints that they have at the ranch and comes from a distinct line in the Mt. Currie herd. Firey at first, Rufio has since settled right down and become an exceptionally forward-going lead horse for the wranglers. What he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in personality.

Lonesome - Mt. Currie, 16 years old

Lonesome is a cornerstone of the mountain string. Wide-set, strong and independent, Lonesome is everything you want from a mountain horse. Often found alongside his brother Rocky, Lonesome is no stranger to the backcountry trails, truly knowing them like the back of his hoof!

Smokey - Mt. Currie, 21 years old

Smokey is regularly called the best kids horse, mainly due to the fact he once carried a sleeping kid halfway down the mountain without letting him fall! Whilst they don't recommend the guests fall asleep on the ride, Smokey is the perfect companion for novice and nervous riders of all ages.

Ridge - Mt. Currie, 23 years old

The younger brother of Nipper, Ridge is another of otheur best kid-friendly horses. Like his brother, Ridge is extremely experienced on the trail and has still got plenty of pep in his step for more experienced riders.

Pepper - Arab / Quarter-horse, 14 years old

Pepper by name, pepper by nature, this horse has got some fire. Perfect for the intermediate and advanced guests, Pepper is as forward-going and responsive as it gets. Happy to lead or follow, he promises a wonderful experience for those looking for an exciting ride.

Ringo - Running Quarter-horse mustang, 23 years old

Ringo is another of the long-standing veterans and was ridden by CCO Partner Don for many years, helping him break in new trails and discover secrets in their tenure. In his golden years, Ringo is becoming an adept kids' horse and is the perfect companion for beginners and nervous riders looking for a steadfast ride.

Mickey - Mt. Currie, 11 years old

Mickey is one of the Mt. Currie warmbloods. Noted for his majestic mane, Mickey is great for all riding abilities and is a fan favourite amongst the regular guests. Mickey can often be found bossing the other horses around with his best buddy, Gus.

Nipper- Mt. Currie, 27 years old

Nipper is the oldest horse and one of the primary kids' horses. His vast experience on the trails both at the ranch and in the backcountry means that he is as solid as a horse can get. His distinctive wavy mane and greying hair are proof that Nipper is aging like a fine wine.

Reno - Quarter-horse, 21 years old

Reno is the only pure Quarter-horse at the ranch and is regularly requested by return guests, due to his smoothness and responsiveness. His buckskin coat means he changes colour with the seasons, making him a unique horse in the herd.

Captain - Mt. Currie, 8 years old

One of the main lead horses at the ranch, Captain has spent the 3 years since finishing his training leading a large number of the overnight trips. The distinctive star on his face is the shape of the Calgary Flames logo, but you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy what this horse has to offer!

Max - Mt. Currie, 23 years old

Max ‘the Couch’ is one of the veteran horses, and is credited with helping to train most of the herd as it now stands. The ultimate ‘uncle horse’, Max has spent his years on the trail carrying even the most unwilling Dads, husbands and boyfriends, quickly converting them into lifelong horse lovers.

Cliff - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Harking back to the era of the Morgan gene pool in the Mt. Currie herd, Cliff is a doppelganger of Max. Cliff’s curious attitude and love of chin scratches mean he is warming up to people well, and his training has progressed well in the later stages of the season. It won’t be long before he is with his buddies on the trail.

Logan - Haflinger / Quarter-horse cross, 11 years old

Logan is one of the specialist ranch horses, specializing in the 1 and 2-hour rides. His calm nature and laid-back attitude make him perfect for someone who is riding for the first time. His dun colouring stands out and makes for a great horse for photos.

Guinness - Percheron / Canadian, 11 years old

Owned by the horse trainer Brian, Guinness is not ridden by the guests but this doesn’t make him any less part of the herd. His distinctive looks make him look like a Disney prince’s horse, and you can be sure to see him on the trails with Brian regularly throughout the season.

Duke - Belgian / Mustang, 23 years old

An extremely experienced backcountry horse, Duke spent many years as a pack horse for a local hunter. Since coming to the ranch 6 years ago, Duke has excelled at packing the guests all around the tenure and is enjoying his golden years down at the ranch, carrying guests both young and old on the shorter rides.

Dakota - Quarter-horse / Appaloosa, 18 years old

The other of the two ‘Dalmatians’, Dakota is the older brother to Caddy. Originally the pack horse to Caddy before coming to the ranch, Dakota has seen it all and is no stranger to carrying guests of all abilities on the wide range of trails.

Buster - Arab / Thoroughbred / Draft, 11 years old

Buster was brought to the ranch in 2020 and was quickly admired by all for his good looks. He settled right into mountain horse life, being described by several guests as ‘the perfect gentleman’. This calm and gentle giant is a welcome companion for those seeking a backcountry adventure.

Bevis - Canadian, 24 years old

Bevis is a purebred Canadian, a breed of horse that the RCMP gifted to Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, and was known to be one of her favourite horses. Bevis follows suit, blowing guests away with his responsiveness and forward-going attitude. Naturally collected, he is a photogenic old soul and is living his golden years at the ranch.

Billy - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Billy is the youngest of the 5-year-old, and could not even be touched when they first got him. With a lot of patience and care, he is now being handled regularly and can be packed and saddled without issue. Once Billy comes around to his training, he will certainly be an all-star in the herd.

Gus - Mt. Currie, 11 years old

Gus ‘the Bus’ is one of the best ‘uncle’ horses, used to train the young Mt. Currie boys. The calm and relaxed nature that makes him so adept at helping to train the young horses transfers to the trail as well, where he is perfect for the nervous or first-time rider.

Biscuit - Mt Currie, 13 years old

Cute as a Biscuit, and as round as one, Biscuit is certainly quite the character. One of the shorter horses, Biscuit is built for mountain travel, with built-in All Wheel Drive courtesy of a truly square stature. His feisty personality makes him an excellent ride both in the mountains and at the ranch, so don’t let his short size fool you!

Bingo - Mt. Currie, 8 years old

Another of the Mt. Currie boys, Bingo is one of the most recent introductions to the guest horse string. Bingo is known for exhibiting ‘flehmen’, lifting his upper lip to get a good smell of the tasty treat being offered to him.

Moose - Mt. Currie, 6 years old

The second of the two paints, Moose is truly a striking horse. Tall and long-legged, he is shaping up to be one of the largest horses at the ranch. Coming from running quarter-horse stock in the Mt. Currie herd, Moose is sure to be a guest favourite once he has finished his training.

Pat - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Pat, another of the up-and-comers, is progressing well with his training and is currently being ridden by the wranglers to finalize his progression. Pat is a gentle giant on the ground and is becoming calmer with every ride, but also has some pep in his step once the pace picks up. He promises to be a keeper with what they’ve seen so far.

Angus - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

An unsung hero of the horses-in-training, Angus has progressed extremely well with his training thus far. Arriving at the ranch 9 months ago with no training, Angus has been ridden all over the tenure and is shaping up to be an amazing ride.

Amigo - Mt. Currie, 6 years old

So named for his friendly nature as a young colt, Amigo excelled as a lead horse in his first summer working. A younger relative of Gus, Amigo exhibits the sensibilities of a level-headed horse, but with a forward-going attitude, he has captured the hearts of all the wranglers that have ridden him.

Mellow - Mt. Currie, 8 years old

Mellow is, as his name suggests, pretty Mellow. Another of the new introductions to the guest string, Mellow is perfect if you are looking for a surefooted, laid-back ride. His playful nature means he can often be found playing around in the backfield with the other Mt. Currie boys

Rocky - Mt Currie, 16 years old

Rocky is another cornerstone of the mountain string, having been a regular on the backcountry trips since he finished his training 9 years ago. Perfectly proportioned, he promises an exceptional ride for every experience level, young or old. He is a true Mt. Currie mountain horse, and will not disappoint.

Oscar - Hanoverian, 15 years old

Oscar is the biggest horse and has lived at the ranch his whole life. His mother was sold to the German National Equestrian team, and he was brought to the ranch when he was only 5 weeks old. Oscar is most often found on the backcountry rides, where his strength, power and forward-going nature make him a favourite of beginners and advanced riders alike.

Elvis - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Elvis is one of the upcoming stars, currently in the final stages of his training. Nicknamed ‘whatever’, this horse's laid-back attitude and calmness mean he is likely to become an exceptional uncle horse. His distinctive mane and coloration mean this horse is worthy to share the name of the King!

Red - Running Quarter-horse, 11 years old

Red is one of the newest acquisitions, being picked up from Grand Forks, BC in 2021. Since arriving at the ranch, Red has become a staff favourite due to his agility and adaptability.

Caddy - Arab / Appaloosa, 16 years old

One of the two ‘Dalmatians’, Caddy is one of the most forward-going horses, with exceptional endurance, allowing him to keep up with much bigger horses. Push-button and responsive, Caddy is perfect for a confident beginner, and even the most accomplished of riders will appreciate this horse’s willingness.

Archie - Running Quarter-horse, 11 years old

Archie was brought to the ranch in 2018 when he was 6 years old. Having had minimal training, he quickly adapted to trail-riding life and excelled as a lead horse for his first two seasons. He is now a staple in the mountain string, capable of carrying anyone, anywhere!

Thunder - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Thunder arrived at the ranch in January 2023 from the local Mt Currie herd. He has a curious and friendly disposition but took a bit longer than his buddy Lightning to warm up to human handling. He continues to prove himself as an exceptional mountain horse and is becoming more accepting of human interactions as his training progresses. They look forward to seeing how he evolves in his training this summer with the wranglers on both the trails around the ranch and in the backcountry tenure.

Lightning - Mt. Currie, 5 years old

Lightning is another one of the newest additions from the Mount Currie herd. He is what they consider “born broke”, meaning he transitioned from an unhandled, wild colt to accepting human touch and riders on his back quite quickly and seamlessly. He is already confidently leading the pack on training rides around the ranch and will soon experience the backcountry trails as well. He boasts a unique coat colour (buckskin paint) and exceptionally cuddly nature, and they don’t doubt he will soon become a fan-favourite in the herd.


You will start riding from Copper Cayuse Outfitters' trailhead on the Birkenhead Forest Service Road, following old cart and single tracks trails into the mountains of British Columbia, Canada.


This riding activity includes seven meals beginning with lunch on the day of your arrival at the base camp. You may bring alcoholic beverages with you, but they are not provided.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Professional guides
  • Well-trained mountain horses
  • Tack
  • 2 nights tented accommodation
  • Seven meals beginning with lunch on the day of your arrival at base camp
  • Sleeping bags, cots, mats, tents, towels, washcloths, riding helmets (if wanted), and riding cape are all supplied

What's not included

  • Taxes 5%
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Whistler

Please make sure you have these directions downloaded or printed out, since you will be out of cell contact once you leave Mt Currie. You can also call for help with directions (please enquire for the phone number). It takes between 45 and 50 minutes depending on traffic to reach the trailhead from Whistler. You should plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to your ride start time.

  • From Whistler follow Highway 99 North straight thru the stop light in Pemberton to Mt Currie. Remember the speed limit in Mt Currie is 30K.
  • Do not make the right turn at the little white church in Mt Currie to follow Highway 99. Continue straight on, over the railway tracks headed for D’Arcy.
  • 16 k down the road you will take a left turn on a dirt road onto Old Portage Road and immediately cross the railroad tracks.
  • Continue up the road for about 1 km and you will see a big tree in the middle of the road with a sign saying Birkenhead River Road, turn left in front of the tree with the blue arrow.
  • Continue up the Birkenhead River Road (Birkenhead Forest Service Road) under the power lines, just after you go under the powerlines you will see a pull-out on your left, park there, that is the trailhead. There is a big bear aware sign right at our trailhead. In most cases, the Copper Cayuse Outfitters team will be there before you and you will also see our truck and horse trailer.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
3 days / 2 nights
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This vacation is available from July to September with trips starting on Fridays.

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