Horseback Riding Adventures: What Is The Backcountry & Where Is It?

Whether it’s hiking, camping, horseback riding, kayaking, or even just a dog walk with friends, study after study shows that spending time in nature is good for the body, mind, and soul. And when Friday rolls around, more people than ever are choosing to spend their weekends getting out and about in the forests, mountains, and lakes near their home.

Canadian cities and towns like neighbouring Vancouver and Whistler are known and loved for their proximity of urban life to the region’s lush, untouched backcountry.

But what exactly is the backcountry? Where is it? And can anybody go there?

These are all questions we’ve been asked in the past by our guests, so we created this quick blog post to share our answers with you.

What is the backcountry?

The backcountry is a place where people go to experience nature, usually through an outdoor pursuit or hobby such as hiking, camping, horseback riding, and fishing in the summer and activities like ski touring and snowshoeing in the winter.

Where is the backcountry?

If you look at a map you won’t find official lines that define the “backcountry” nor will you see signs on trails telling you where the backcountry starts and ends (except at ski resorts where ski maps will define a ski area boundary), so we ca see how it is a little confusing.

The backcountry is defined more by characteristics of than it is a specific geographical location; such as the distance from urban infrastructure such as the lack of paved roads, electricity, plumbed water, and cell service.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the backcountry as “a rural or mountain area that is away from cities and has few people”.

The “backcountry“ is a term used to give distinction between urban areas (large towns and cities), rural areas (small towns and villages, and farm land), and wilderness (areas of natural environment largely unchanged by the activities of humans).

You may also have noticed that the term “wilderness” is frequently used interchangeably with the term “backcountry”.

Wilderness can be described as “an area of land that has not been used to grow crops or had towns and roads built on it, especially because it is difficult to live in”. Both of the above definitions accurately describe the kind of conditions you will find in the backcountry.

Can anyone go into the backcountry?

The short answer is yes. Which is fantastic. Quick access to nature and natural environments is one of the most amazing things about British Columbia.

In the backcountry travel is by way of hiking or horse trails and rugged 4x4 fire service roads. It’s is an exciting and fulfilling place to be, but you must be capable of being self-sufficient, e.g. packing and carrying your own water, food, shelter and clothing. If you’re on a horseback riding tour with us, or staying at our backcountry camp, we will provide and transport everything for you.

The most important thing to remember about the backcountry is that it is sparsely, if at all, populated. When you’re deep in the backcountry you can be completely alone without a town or city for hundreds of kilometers.

We hope to see you out on the trails, soon!

If you have any questions about horseback riding in the BC backcountry give us a call on (604) 698-7751.