Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
1. Kayanara Guest Ranch & Resort, Eagle Creek, pages 40 & 56
This is a land born of dreams of discovery, yellow dust and instant riches, with the “Cariboo Gold Rush Trail” traversing through this region. In 1862, Billy Barker struck gold near Barkerville on Williams Creek, which started a rush of adventurers from around the globe traversing the difficult terrain of this now famous Gold Rush Trail, begins in New Westminster in the south, to its terminus in Barkerville – a National Historic Site and home to 150 restored 1860’s buildings. The rush for gold exploration, panning and mining are still active today. Visitors from around the world still follow in the footsteps of prior expeditions. Interesting roadhouses and museums still stand where stagecoaches once stopped. Highway 97, the main north/south corridor through the region, is also the key north to Alaska route. Plan your family adventure this summer and include summer festivals, watersports, mountain biking, hiking and wildlife viewing activities along the way.
Accessed by road on Highway 20 (The Freedom Hwy) or by sea on the Northern Sea Wolf from Vancouver Island to Bella Coola, the Chilcotin is a land of dramatic scenery, rugged landscapes and thick forests. Here, BC’s highest mountain, Mount Waddington, rises 4,016 meters. The jagged central coast Mountain peaks in the Chilcotin are covered in vast ice fields and wide alpine meadows, gradually softening into large valleys, rolling foothills, pine covered forests, lakes and rivers and the grasslands of the Chilcotin Plateau. Along the way discover some of the best fishing lakes and rivers to be found in North America. Nimpo Lake operators offer fabulous float plane sightseeing tours and fly-in fishing trips. The traveller will experience rolling semi-desert terrain, exquisite canyons, to flat grasslands, river crossings and past lakes through mountains and old growth forests, to the ocean inlets and fjords of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Once you reach the central coast you are met with 15,000 kilometers of aweinspiring coastline scattered with fjords and inlets, pristine beaches and rocky shores. Here is some of the world’s best saltwater fishing and wildlife viewing of sea birds, whales, dolphins, grizzly bears and the sacred white Kermode, also known as the ‘Spirit Bear’. Getting there is an exciting adventure; with access by road along the Freedom Highway (Highway 20) from Williams Lake to Bella Coola, or by sea on the “Northern Sea Wolf” vessel and route schedules. (See www. Hellobc.com for Circle Route info and reserve with www.bcferries.com well in advance for ferry service to and from Bella Coola).
North/South Highway Corridor, (Hwy 97) - Access Hwy 26 to Barkerville
This main north/south corridor, travels through the Cariboo, much of it along the same route as the Cariboo Wagon Road and Gold Rush Trail of days gone by. At Cache Creek, the TransCanada Highway (Hwy 1) veers east toward Kamloops, while a continued northward journey takes you onto Highway 97. A few kilometres north of Cache Creek, stop at Hat Creek Ranch Historic Site for some Gold Rush History. Continue north to the many lakes and rivers of the Cariboo. Visit Clinton, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Quesnel with the link to Hwy 26 for Barkerville. Why not plan to veer east and west from these communities into the backcountry to discover watersports, hiking, horseback riding and biking adventures. This is also your north to Alaska route. There are many RV and camping options available along this route.
The Fishing Highway (Hwy 24)
Starting from the east at Little Fort, the junction of Highways 5 and 24, this route branches and exits two ways onto Highway 97; via the 70 Mile House junction; or via 93 Mile House. Highway 24, known as “The Fishing Highway”. The Fishing Highway through Cariboo’s Interlakes Region accesses a tranquil and beautiful area of resorts, B&B’s, guest ranches, rolling hills of pine and alder forests, and boasts over 250 lakes teeming with rainbow trout, lake trout and kokanee. If you’re not fishing, the drive itself is well worth taking for the scenery alone! In addition to fishing, other activities in the area include swimming and watersports, horseback riding, ATVing, biking & hiking, wildlife viewing, and snowmobiling the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail in winter.
The Freedom Highway (Hwy 20)
The Chilcotin backbone is Highway
20, also known as the “The Freedom Highway” and is a key portion of the “Discovery Coast” circle tour route. (See Circle Driving Routes on www.Hellobc.com). It traverses 456 km
(274 mi) from Williams Lake to Bella Coola, and is the only link from BC’s Interior to the Central Coast, passing Farwell Canyon on the Chilcotin
Plateau toward the Coast Mountains, Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and the Bella Coola Valley. Highway 20 is well worth taking a few days to drive with several stops of interest including Nimpo Lake. The only unpaved section of the highway (57 km/36mi) consists of well-maintained gravel from Anahim Lake to the bottom of “The Hill” (up to 18% grade) into the Bella Coola Valley. It is recommended that you use a detailed backcountry map for off Highway 20 travel into the pristine wilderness of areas such as the Nemiah Valley and stunning Chilko Lake.
More Information: www.travel-british-columbia.com www.landwithoutlimits.com www.goldrushtrail.ca www.fishinghighway24.com www.hellobc.com