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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide 2013 www.landwithoutlimits.com


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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Welcome to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Contents

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the Cariboo Rolling Hills, Rivers & Lakes

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the Chilcotin Great High Plateau — Frontier Spirit

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the Coast Mountains, Old-Growth Forests & Inlets

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Regional Map

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B.C. Map & Driving Distances

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Photography: All images in this guide are intended to provide informative historical context and fair representation of activities which are available in this region. Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association reminds visitors that lifejackets, bicycle and motorcycle/ ATV helmets are mandatory and required by law in British Columbia.

Circle Route Driving Tours

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First Nations & the Fur Trade

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Cariboo Gold Rush

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Cover Photo: Desiree Danielson Cover Photo Location: Bella Coola River

Cowboys & Railroads

Writing and Editing: Mongol Media, Brad McGuire, Amy Thacker, Cheryl Johnson and Ray Chatelin Design & Layout: Jill Schick Design

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Forestry & Mining

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Arts & Culture

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Guest Ranches, Trail Riding & Rodeos

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Chris Harris/All Canada Photos

Biking, Hiking & Climbing

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Fishing & Hunting

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Touring & Camping

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Wildlife & Eco-Tours

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Winter Experiences

For accommodation reservations and travel information visit:

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www.hellobc.com

Golf, Spas & Lakes

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For travel information, contact Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association:

1-800-663-5885 | www.landwithoutlimits.com ©2013 Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association. This Guide does not constitute, and should not be construed as, an endorsement or recommendation of any carrier, hotel, restaurant or any other facility, attraction or activity in British Columbia, for which neither the Province of British Columbia nor the Region assumes any responsibility. Super, Natural British Columbia®, Hello BC®, Visitor Centre and all associated trademarks are official marks of the Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Admission fees and other terms and conditions may apply to attractions and facilities referenced in this Guide. Errors and omissions excepted. 1-800-663-5885

Agritourism

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Directory Listings

108

Travel Information

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Glossary

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast British Columbia’s Land Without Limits If you seek a land with breathtaking beauty, ruggedness, incredible wildlife and outdoor adventure opportunities, you have come to the right place. You’re about to enter into a region that truly is “A Land Without Limits”. Turning these pages will provide you with a brief glimpse into this diverse world of very distinctive landscapes – deserts and sandstone canyons; evergreen timberlands, deciduous woodlands and forests; ocean fjords, alpine mountains and glaciers. All of which provide the perfect foundation for the physical and cultural activities and experiences to be found in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Since our boundaries embrace virtually every kind of terrain and climate, we proudly boast the most diverse activities of any B.C. region. We offer a place where Aboriginal culture and contemporary lifestyles exist harmoniously, and where ancient traditions and modern life have each carved out their place in a vast, dramatic environment. This is a physical land drawing people to its overpowering radiance. We take enormous pleasure in showcasing this part of our character. Many resorts, guest ranches, festivals and events take advantage of an exciting wild west past that includes the history of our First Nations peoples, the fur trade, the gold rush and ranching. Our coast line travels thousands of kilometers of secluded coves, fjords, inlets, pristine beaches and rocky shores and it’s where you’ll find what’s arguably the world’s best saltwater fishing and ecoadventures providing up-close experiences with sea birds, bears, whales and porpoises. Welcoming First Nations villages along the central coast are rich in heritage and willing to share it. In the many rivers and streams from the Coast through the Chilcotin and into the Cariboo, if you time it right you can witness one of nature’s most remarkable feats when each year salmon miraculously migrate back to their birthplace to spawn.

Mountain bikers, skiers, hikers, snowmobilers, golfers, campers, photographers, fishermen and sailors all make use of the region’s varied topography. We’re also a region of small cities, towns, and villages where you can explore our cultural past, while enjoying present day activities and outdoor adventures. So, we welcome you to come share with us an ongoing adventure and accept our well-known hospitality as you explore our remarkable “Land Without Limits”.

Enter our Land Without Limits . . . 4

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Chris Harris

While we proudly embrace and present our open skies and a rustic edge, we have much more to offer. We also have sophisticated resorts, championship golf courses, and a wide range of cultural, intellectual, artistic and adventure experiences.

Get the free mobile app at

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Mitchell River


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Rolling hills, rivers, and lakes inspire both adventurers and historians to follow the original Cariboo Wagon Road, bordered by pioneer cabins, groves of aspen, clusters of Indian paintbrush and trout-filled waters. Along the way discover historic sites, saddle up at a ranch, experience First Nations culture, head out on a mountain bike, explore welldeveloped trail networks, don snowshoes and cross-country skis in winter, experience the spine-tingling call of a loon and seek out the region’s abundant wildlife. Welcome!

Thomas Drasdauskis

the Cariboo

On this great plateau, full of frontier spirit, discover a world where people are scarcer than wildlife and the landscape is larger than life. Stretching west beyond the Fraser River, a burnished golden plateau meets the peaks of the Coast Mountain Range. Explore our backcountry, fish in tranquil, isolated lakes, reach high alpine with a packhorse trek and raft churning whitewater. Remote and geographically diverse, the Chilcotin boasts incredible wildlife and natural phenomena in a land rich in First Nations culture and pioneering spirit. Welcome!

Robert Semeniuk

the Chilcotin

Mountains, old-growth forests and a myriad of inlets entice as a jumble of deep fjords and a scattering of emerald islands enchant. Welcoming First Nations villages, rich in heritage, speckle the coast. Beaches and isolated hot springs remain as pristine as they were centuries ago. Giant cedars grace mountainsides and rim wide valleys in this outdoor-adventure mecca. Fish the rivers, heli-ski the mountain peaks, don your hiking boots and be astounded by the mystical tranquility. Welcome!

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Gordon Baron

the Coast


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Thomas Drasdauskis

the Cariboo

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Bowron Lake Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


the Cariboo

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

geoffmoore.ca

Mike Hawkridge/Hidden Lake Guest Ranch

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

Mitch Cheek

geoffmoore.ca

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com


Thomas Drasdauskis

the Cariboo

B

ordered by the Cariboo Mountains in the east and the Fraser River to the west, Cariboo country stretches from Lillooet and Cache Creek in the south, to just north of Hixon. The region, named after the once abundant woodland caribou, was the first part of the B.C. Interior to be settled by non-indigenous people, playing a significant role in early European settlement of the province. Follow the original Cariboo Wagon Trail, bordered by pioneer cabins, groves of aspen, clusters of Indian paintbrush and trout-filled waters. Explore many trail networks; hear the mystical call of a loon and seek out the region’s abundant wildlife; or enjoy a winter escape on snowshoes and cross-country skis. Experience guest ranches that have European trained chefs who can prepare a variety of cuisines unknown to early cowboys and gold miners. Or enjoy one of the many festivals that embrace a variety of cultural celebrations in our lively cities and towns. In the 1860s, much of this region was the centre of a huge gold rush that brought gold seekers from all corners of North America and some from overseas. Mining towns and roadhouses sprung up almost overnight from Lillooet northward. Today, the legends from that era are still alive in ghost towns, some of which have been revived and recreated. Although the great Cariboo Gold Rush ended many years ago, the sense of frontier adventure is kept alive and well

in the pioneering spirit of the people who are proud to call this region home. The Cariboo consists of three distinct regions; South, Central and North. The heavily forested North Cariboo, where the major goldfields were once located, is sparsely populated today but was once the most settled and powerful district in B.C.’s Interior. The Central Cariboo, home to the region’s largest community, Williams Lake, has a geography ranging from dense forests and mountain lakes to arid, lava formed canyons and open plains. The diverse landscape of the South Cariboo consists of rolling grasslands, open meadows, pine and aspen forests, semi-arid desert viewscapes, tranquil lakes and granite-walled river gorges. All three sub-regions are linked by the Cariboo Highway (Hwy 97), the majority of which parallels the legendary Gold Rush Trail. Many communities en route are named according to their distance from Lillooet (Mile 0) as one journeys north along the Cariboo Wagon Trail. Evidence of this raucous heritage persists in delightful places like the roadhouses at Hat Creek Ranch, 108 Mile Ranch, Cottonwood House, and in Barkerville, a restored heritage town where the Gold Rush is re-created in full 1860s detail. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in the Cariboo, renowned for its biking, hiking, fishing, geocaching, wildlife-viewing, boating,

Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, and snowmobiling. For Wild West fans, there are many famous cattle and guest ranches, the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame and a busy circuit of amateur and professional rodeos, including one of Western Canada’s largest, the annual Williams Lake Stampede.

The South Cariboo

The South Cariboo story is written in the numbers signposted along Highway 97’s original roadhouse towns. A roadhouse was located about every 21km/13mi on this historic 644km/400mi long route. Travellers could journey its entire length by stagecoach in four days, providing they could afford $130 for a one way ticket. Today, Hat Creek Ranch is one of the Cariboo’s largest surviving roadhouses, just 11km/7mi north of Cache Creek amid rolling, sagebrush hills at the junction of Highways 97 and 99. This B.C. Heritage Site marks the crossroads where all major threads of the South Cariboo’s compelling history - fur trading, ranching, First Nations culture and gold - intersect. Most of the roadhouses are long gone, while a few have evolved into villages and towns where modernday travellers can still trace the region’s gold rush past through a landscape that appears airlifted out of an old western. Indeed, nestled on the Fraser Plateau between the heights of the Coast and Cariboo Mountain ranges, the rolling grasslands of the South Cariboo remain firmly rooted in cowboy culture, with

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Experience It! • Mountain biking! Free-ride, or the family-friendly soft adventure in a region that has it all! The trails near Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Spruce Lake, Quesnel and Wells are some of your many choices! • Stay at a Guest Ranch in a region with roughly 60% of BC’s Guest Ranches. Enjoy family time in beautiful rural landscapes while trailriding, telling stories around a campfire and taking in unique offerings like horse whispering. • Search for prehistoric souvenirs at Limestone Quarry, located just outside Clinton, where fossils of early life can easily be found by discerning explorers. • Pan for Gold in one of many rivers and streams found throughout this incredible region. The experience is one of a kind. Visit Quesnel, the Gold Pan City, to learn more about gold panning history in BC, and techniques to help you find your treasure.

• Highway 24 east of 100 Mile House is known as the The Fishing Highway, accessing over 100 lakes! It follows the historic brigade trail, originally used by the Shuswap people as a trade route. Fly, cast, or troll for plenty of rainbow, brook, lake trout, burbot and kokanee.

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Thomas Drasdauskis

• Make some tracks on the 30km of well-maintained and groomed Cross-Country Ski Trails at Bull Mountain, only 16km north of Williams Lake. This was the site of the 2002 BC Winter Games competition.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Lillooet, located 225km/140mi north of Vancouver via Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, and 270km/168mi south of Williams Lake, offers a variety of restaurants and affordable lodging, including B&Bs and campsites, making it a great hiding spot for a romantic weekend getaway or a quick day trip out of the city for family adventures. Easy access for mountain biking, backpacking, boating, and other sun activities make Lillooet a perfect playground in spring, summer and fall, while winter boasts unprecedented ice climbing, heli-skiing and snowmobiling. Lillooet embraces culture and traditions of the St’át’imc (stat-lee-um) First Nation. Take a cultural tour with Xwisten Tours (hoysh-ten) to experience authentic St’át’imc history and food. The Lillooet Apricot Tsaqwen Festival (cho-com)

Amy Thacker

Lillooet “Guaranteed Rugged” describes the mountainous terrain around Lillooet and the lifestyle enjoyed by its actively engaged people. The landscape is rugged, rocky, steep, and challenging in a fun kind of way. Roads are carved out of the mountainsides overlooking the Fraser River. People here experience the thrill of feeling alive, living life to its fullest and enjoying every second of it!

the Cariboo

a plethora of guest ranches offering daytrips and getaways for both tenderfoots and experienced riders. Significant wilderness assets also lure adventurers and wildlife lovers, while those who feel most complete with rod and reel in hand find nirvana along the legendary Fishing Highway 24, with 100-plus lakes loaded with rainbow trout, lake trout and kokanee.

celebrates local culture and is a huge hit with visitors and locals every July. If treasure hunting sounds more your style, try geocaching in Lillooet. Search out over 100 different geocaches in the area to find hidden secrets. Pick up one of the local Hiking Guidebooks, and get up close and personal with nature while travelling the trails. For the less extreme, play a round of golf at the Lillooet Sheep Pasture Golf Course, complete with resident sheep, or take a rock hounding stroll along the banks of the Fraser River.

August for the summer concert series. For the wine connoisseur, a visit to Fort Berens Estate Winery is a must!

Enjoy the sculptures of jade on the Jade Walk along Main Street. Take a ride on the Kaoham rail shuttle on Fridays as it skirts the pristine waters of Seton Lake on its way to Seton Portage; the same tracks used by the internationally renowned Rocky Mountaineer. Visit the Miyazaki House, built in the 1890s, and view its historic architecture and Dr. Miyazaki’s original office. This is also the place to be Friday nights in July and

An alternate route from Vancouver brings you north on Highway 1 up the Fraser Canyon. Visit Hells Gate (54km/33.5mi north of Hope) and ride the aerial tramway down to the crashing waters of the Fraser River as it rushes through the narrow 35m/110ft gorge. This area is one of the best places in Canada for white-water river rafting. Further north, at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, is the

Lillooet has plenty to offer the adventure seeker, while the stories of the 1860s Gold Rush ensure that the culturalhistorian will also be entertained and inspired. Plan a visit to the Museum and Visitor Centre located in an old Anglican Church, where you can learn about the Cariboo Gold Rush, notable characters and other fascinating stories.

CLINTON Celebrates its 150th & 50th Anniversaries

1863 Clinton was named, 1963 Clinton incorporated High Speed Internet Complimentary Breakfast Pool • Fitness Center Hot Tub 1850 Broadway Avenue S WILLIAMS 778-412-9000 Email: bestwesternwlhotel@hotmail.ca LAKE www.facebook.com/#!/BestWesternWilliamsLakeInnAndSuites Twitter: @BWWLHotel 1-800-663-5885

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Festivals & Events New Year’s Polar Bear Swim – A Williams Lake Rugby Club fundraiser. Hearty souls of all ages dress in wacky costumes to jump from the ice into the lake. Scout Island. January 1 Jack Gawthorn Memorial Sled Dog Race – Mushers flock here to wow the crowds and hope to capture the $6,000 purse. 108 Heritage Site. January 11 – 13 The Wells Snowman Gourmet Ski Event is a non-competitive cross-country ski tour. Ski various routes enjoying international ethnic cuisine served at “pit stops. Wells. February 23 Father’s Day Pow-Wow – Hand drumming contest, Princess Pageant and ceremonial feast. Williams Lake. June 16 Williams Lake Stampede – Pro rodeo events, parade, street party and tons of family fun. Williams Lake. June 28 – July 1 Arts on the Fly Music & Dance Festival Top performers in jazz, indie folk, punk rock, and other genres. Horsefly. July 13 - 14 Hot July Nights Car & Bike Show features classic & hot rod cars, trucks and motorbikes. Includes a Show & Shine in Centennial Park. 100 Mile House. July 13-14 Apricot Tsaqwem Festival – Themed dinners, outdoor music, dancing and cook-offs. Lillooet. July 19 - 21 Billy Barker Days – Celebrate the onset of the Cariboo Gold Rush. Family friendly events. Quesnel. July 18 – 21 Artswells Festival of All Things Art – Four day infusion of over 100 musical performers, independent film screenings, workshops, live theatre and more! Wells. August 2 – 5 SkyFest International Airshow – A two day airshow featuring aerobatic performances, aircraft displays, trade fair and flight tours over the city. Quesnel. August 3 -4

Thomas Drasdauskis

South Cariboo Garlic Festival – Garlina the mascot struts her stuff alongside food vendors, musical entertainment and the Master Garlic Chef contest. Lac la Hache. August 24 – 25

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Mike Hawkridge/Hidden Lake Guest Ranch

Clinton The name Clinton was officially adopted on June 11th, 1863, replacing the previous name, “The Junction”. The name acknowledged the retirement of the Colonial Secretary of England, Henry Tiennes Pelham Clinton, who was the 5th Duke of Newcastle (1811-1818). In the 1870s, Clinton was a cattle-ranch town, a soap-soda and Epsom salts distributor in the early 1900s, and a bush and sawmill town in the 1950s. Today, Clinton continues many of its original traditions and exudes a charming character. It is an outdoor adventure hub, providing active experiences in a landscape noted for its wildlife and incredible geological variation, such as the ‘Grand Canyon of the North’ located just west of Clinton along the Fraser River backcountry, and nearby Chasm Provincial Park, created by glacial melt cutting into lava flows. This 8km/5mi long, 300m/984ft deep box canyon features rock layers in spectacular shades of orange, pink, yellow and purple. Tour local heritage buildings, explore nearby provincial parks, wander antique shops, or enjoy one of the nearby guest ranches where you can ride the high country, cross-country ski, pan for gold and be pampered by exquisite cuisine and spa treatments. 2013 marks a milestone for Clinton; 150 years since its official naming, and 50 years since this historic village was incorporated. Planned celebratory events begin  in May with the Annual Ball, now in its 146th year! Stop and stay a while in Clinton, and

the Cariboo

community of Lytton and the junction of Highway 12. For a scenic trip following the Fraser River take Highway 12 through the ‘Big Slide’ northwest to Lillooet.

learn not only about its history but also about the events taking place throughout 2013 that will tickle your fancy. 70 Mile House When 70 Mile House was established in 1862 as a hostel for Cariboo Wagon Road work crews, the residents probably had no idea that in the next 150 or so years, the area would become one of the Cariboo’s major guest ranch areas. Today’s 70 Mile House caters to travellers journeying the historic Gold Rush Trail along Highway 97. It is also a key turnoff point for the Green Lake Recreation Area - one of the most popular destinations in the South Cariboo for water sports of all kinds and, along with nearby Watch Lake, a habitat for thriving waterfowl and raptor

populations. Several family-run ranches continue the tradition of guest-house hospitality, offering a wide selection of outdoor activities that include hiking, horseback riding, fishing, snowmobiling, mountain biking and canoeing. 100 Mile House Originally a fur trading station on the Hudson’s Bay Company Brigade Trail (Kamloops to Fort Alexandria), 100 Mile House by the early 1860s was an important stagecoach stop on the Cariboo Wagon Road. Cattle ranching and the forestry industry sustained 100 Mile House after the gold rush ended, and today it is the main service centre for outlying communities and industries. With a population of only 2,000, it claims a

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Did You Know? Highway 97, passing straight through the Cariboo, is the longest continuously-numbered route in BC and also the longest provincial highway in Canada (2,081km/1,293mi) traveling from Osoyoos in the south to the British Columbia/Yukon border in the north. The North Cariboo has a volcano: the Nazko Cone, a potentially active basaltic cinder 75km west of Quesnel. The tree-covered cone rises majestically 120 metres above the ChilcotinNechako Plateau. Lac Des Roches, located on the eastern portion of Highway 24 (The Fishing Highway), is the most photographed lake in British Columbia. Its beauty and tranquil setting can be easily accessed and seen from Hwy. 24. 2013 is the 150th Anniversary of Queen Victoria naming the village of Clinton. The year’s many celebratory events kick off with Heritage Week and its Annual Ball in May, thought to be the oldest continuous annual event held in North America.

There are world class athletes in our midst. Gabe Bergen, formerly of 100 Mile House, won a rowing silver medal in the men’s eights for Canada at the 2012 London Olympics. Anahim Lake’s Carey Price is the star goaltender for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. And, Rory MacDonald from Quesnel is rising in the rankings of the UFC.

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geoffmoore.ca

Cottonwood House Historic Site has a 3.4km multi-use trail network and is the latest in a region-wide initiative to make the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast the top wilderness wheelchair accessible tourist destination in Canada. Other gentle-grade wheelchair accessible trail networks can be found throughout the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Coastal regions.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


One of the area’s popular attractions is the 108 Mile Ranch Historic Site, a collection of lakeside heritage buildings including the largest log barn of its kind left in Canada. The site also features a museum, stone sculptures, refurbished log buildings and period implements and tools. Canim Lake One of the largest lakes in the Cariboo, 37km/23mi long, Canim Lake is just 35km/22mi northeast of 100 Mile House surrounded by meadows, mountains and forested hills, with resorts dotting its shoreline and a vast pebble beach that is a remnant of the glacial age. In summer the area is popular for hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, boating and fishing against a backdrop of magnificent waterfalls, volcanic cones near Spanish Creek, and ancient pictographs and pit houses at Deception Creek. Winter fun includes snowmobiling, ice fishing, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Lac la Hache Long before the lure of wealth brought fur traders to this area, the Secwepemc (shi-HUEP-muh-k) and Chilcotin (chilko- teen) First Nations moved through the region. The Secwepemc established pit houses near the present-day village of Lac la Hache, and the Chilcotins named the lake Kumatakwa, Queen of the Waters. Today, Lac la Hache is one of the most popular lakes along Highway 97, particularly with anglers, power boaters and water-skiers. The village has been dubbed “the longest town in the Cariboo” for how its fishing resorts, ranches and vacation homes dot the lake’s 19km/12mi long shoreline. Winter brings crisp, sunny days for ice fishing or skiing the slopes at nearby Mt. Timothy.

the Central Cariboo in 1859 after the news of a big gold strike on the Horsefly River, 65km/40mi east of Williams Lake. The following year, William Pinchbeck, a tough police constable from Victoria, arrived to keep law and order and found himself juggling jobs as lawyer, judge, and jailer while building a homestead and rest house with restaurant, saloon, general store and horse-racing track. Race days here attracted hundreds of spectators, including one memorable contest in 1861 when the stakes were a whopping $100,000. Pinchbeck was a busy man. His roadhouse, already famous for its White Wheat Whiskey (from Pinchbeck’s own distillery at 25 cents a shot), suffered no lack of business; he had two families, one with a native maiden and a second with an englishwoman; and he also came to own almost the entire Williams Lake River Valley. Pinchbeck’s grassy gravesite above his former ranch is one of the most famous in the Cariboo, overlooking the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds.

the Cariboo

couple of lofty titles, including “Handcrafted Log Home Capital of North America” and is the self-proclaimed “International Nordic Ski Capital”, boasting the world’s tallest pair of crosscountry skis at the Visitor Centre, and has one BC’s most active Nordic clubs. Departing from the Visitor Centre, you may also enjoy an easy stroll along the paved, wheelchair accessible walkway of the 100 Mile Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary and keep an eye out for various bird species throughout the year.

Today, adrenaline junkies are lured by the trails snaking through the hills around Williams Lake, an area Bike Magazine has dubbed “the Shangri-La of mountain biking”. To the east, wonderful fishing and kayaking can be found in the Horsefly area. Time it right and you can spot grizzlies fishing riverside for salmon. The salmon migrate by the millions up the Quesnel River to spawn in the Horsefly and Mitchell rivers. Although forestry and mining may be the most important financial drivers in the region, cowboy culture is still king here.

The

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Interlakes / Fishing Highway Highway 24, stretching from 100 Mile House to Little Fort between the junctions of Highways 97 and 5, is renowned as “The Fishing Highway”. Hundreds of lakes are nestled in the Interlakes tranquil, scenic settings where the day’s catch might include rainbow trout, lake trout and kokanee. It’s also ranch country, popular for trail riding. Near the west end of Highway 24 is Lone Butte, a peaceful little village named for the solitary volcano plug that rises skyward. Enjoy an invigorating hike up the “butte,” or research the community’s historic past. Lone Butte is a great home base for touring and exploring the restaurants, cafés, shops, lakes, resorts and guest ranches spanning the length of “The Fishing Highway”.

The Central Cariboo

As with much of the Cariboo, this area has a close relationship with the Gold Rush. Prospectors and merchants poured into

Our rooms and kitchen units have a marvelous view of Williams Lake and the Scout Island wildlife sanctuary. Take a leisurely walk on a nature trail to the lake, or enjoy the view while relaxing in our peaceful gardens. We have clean, reasonably priced, air-conditioned rooms and kitchen units (fully equipped) all with Cable TV, direct dial phones, high speed internet, beds,, and complimentary continental breakfast soft water, comfortable beds

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Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Far away... never closer

Williams Lake With a population just over 11,000, this “Hub City of the Cariboo” is the largest in the region, with a distinctive western-frontier personality. That personality shines brightly when it hosts the Williams Lake Stampede Canada Day long weekend (July 1). Professional rodeo stars from around the globe compete for big-purse money in traditional rodeo and unique home-grown events like the exciting Mountain Race. But, cowboys and rodeos are not its only attraction. It’s a mountain biking mecca, with three dedicated areas: Westsyde Ridge, Desous Mountain and Fox Mountain being major attractions. With all three featuring tracks ranging from double-track beginner to epic cross-country and steep, gnarly down-hills, many riders contend that the area offers the best wilderness biking in British Columbia. Williams Lake also boasts excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. Birders make a beeline for Scout Island, a nature sanctuary at the west end of the lake. In addition to a beach area, nature house, picnic ground, and boat launch, this nature sanctuary for birds and small wildlife is laced with trails. The nature house is popular with both visitors and locals. Named after Chief William, a Shuswap chief from the area, the city is located at the junction of Highways 97 and 20, at the north end of its namesake lake and has been one of the Cariboo Chilcotin’s major crossroads since the turn of the 20th century. Even prior to the arrival of the first white settlers, the area was the columneetza, or meeting place, for the Secwepemc (shi-HUEP-muh-k) First Nation. Enjoy a walk among quaint shops, retail stores and art galleries, some featuring local art and First Nations gifts. A variety of restaurants are found on nearly every side street. The city boasts three golf courses, a magnificent log Tourism Discovery Visitor Centre and the popular River Valley Trail, spanning 12km/7.5mi from downtown to the Fraser River. 150 Mile House 150 Mile House is an important junction for travellers heading east to the resort lakes around Horsefly and Likely, or for those following the historic Gold Rush Trail. When Thomas Davidson, owner of the first ranch established in the Williams Lake area, went looking for a larger piece of property in 1861, he moved 22km/14mi east to build his large, two storey roadhouse and lucrative business selling produce and hay to the goldmining settlement of Quesnelle Forks. When the Cariboo Wagon Road came through in 1863, the site became the 150 Milepost from Lillooet. Today, the 1,275 residents live mostly on small acreages and ranch holdings along Highway 97.

www.evranch.com 1.800.253.8831 Jesmond, BC ● 45 minutes west of Clinton 18

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Horsefly Outdoor lovers head here for camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and backcountry skiing. Horsefly, the gateway to Quesnel Lake, Horsefly Lake, and the Cariboo Mountains, also hosts entertaining events, including a May Day long-weekend celebration, September Salmon Festival, Fall Fair, Horsefly Follies live theatre, sporting events, and the Arts on the Fly Music, Arts and Dance Festival. You’ll want to visit the Pioneer Museum, which also serves as the area’s Visitor Info Booth.


Thomas Drasdauskis

Likely There’s much to like about this town that sprouted into existence in 1859. Located about 150km/93mi northeast of 150 Mile House at the west end of Quesnel Lake - the deepest fjord type lake in North America - the economy here is mainly mining and forestry. There’s intriguing evidence of past mining ventures, particularly at Cedar Point Provincial Park with its early mining equipment. Once a rendezvous point for the Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade, the park campground provides access to a network of old mining trails. Likely is one of the park’s main access points, providing a public boat launch to Quesnel (kwe-nel) Lake, driving access to Quesnelle Forks and local information.

the Cariboo

The first gold in the Cariboo Gold Rush was discovered in the Horsefly River in 1859, three years before Billy Barker made his big strike on Williams Creek. The prospectors, led by American Peter Dunlevy, were guided by native Long Baptiste and the gold was easily visible, having been exposed by sockeye salmon during gravel churning spawning. The party picked up 2,835 grams of nuggets in a week - and so began the great gold rush of 1859 into B.C.’s Interior. Those easy-to-find gold nuggets are long gone, leaving the area’s approximately 1,000 residents to work in forestry, ranching, mining and tourism.

When the Cariboo Wagon Road was completed in 1865 the community was bypassed, and fell into decline. By the mid-1870s, most of the residents had left, though a thriving community of Chinese prospectors and merchants temporarily remained to support a widely dispersed mining community.

adventurers followed, seeking their own golden dreams in the North Cariboo, a region as rich in untapped wilderness as it once was in gold. Just east of Quesnel in the Cariboo Mountains, Bowron Lake Provincial Park, one of the world’s top five canoe circuits,

McLeese Lake Situated north of Williams Lake, the small resort community of McLeese Lake was originally known as Mud Lake, and was renamed in honor of a resident from nearby Soda Creek in the 1880s. Robert McLeese owned a sternwheeler, hotel and store and was the postmaster of nearby Soda Creek for 25-plus years.

Quesnelle Forks Quesnelle Forks is a hauntingly striking ghost town open to the public and accessible by a dirt road from Likely, just 9km/5.5mi away. Visitors can wander through original log cabins and a heritage graveyard, the only evidence of the of past residents who lived here in the late 1800s. There are no entrance fees or employees, no souvenir shops or cafés, just compelling glimpses and fragments of the past.

Modern-day travellers come for McLeese Lake’s outdoor adventures. Water sports and fishing are popular, along with hiking, camping, and off-roading in the surrounding hills. In winter, hiking trails become snowmobile and cross-country ski routes while the lake is transformed into an outdoor skating rink and idyllic ice-fishing hot spot.

In the early 1860s, gold fever was rampant at the confluence of the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers. “The Forks” quickly became a rowdy camp with 5,000-plus residents. After the gold seekers moved farther north, the community’s key location made it a major entryway to the goldfields and it remained a busy hub.

The North Cariboo Roughly a decade after its start, the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1860s came to an end and its prospectors fled. Still, with paddle-wheelers plying the Fraser and Interior lakes and a railway to come, the region’s newly settled farmers and ranchers stayed on. Soon a new wave of modern-day

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arcs over 10 glacial lakes connected by channels, rivers and short portages. By hard-core water-rat standards, the route is a slam-dunk in terms of difficulty, one of the big reasons some 65,000 paddlers a year tackle it. Some 100km/62mi west of Quesnel, the waters of Nazko Lake Provincial Park buoy the rare and endangered American White Pelican. To the northeast, the Blackwater River is the most outstanding dry fly-fishing destination in North America, with virtually every pool or riffle nurturing hard-fighting rainbow trout. The Blackwater is also the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail’s (Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail’s) eastern entry point. Extending 420km/261mi westward to the Pacific, this historic trail was once the Nuxalk (nu-halk) and Carrier First Nations’ primary communication, transport and trade route. Here in 1793, famed explorer Alexander Mackenzie traced its unmapped terrain to become the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean by land. Although few of today’s intrepid explorers tackle the entire route, which takes three weeks to complete, many follow sections either by foot, on horseback or by ATV. Quesnel European settlers flocked by the thousands into this city that served as the gold seekers’ supply depot during the Cariboo Gold Rush. Today, the North Cariboo’s main urban centre is popularly known as the “Gold Pan City,” a claim to fame writ large across the 5.5m/18ft high monument at the town’s northern entrance.

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

Many intriguing reminders of the city’s gold rush heyday are scattered throughout downtown’s 30 heritage sites including the original 1862 Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post. More historical curiosities can be viewed at the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives (at the Visitor Centre), rated one of the top community museums in British Columbia, with one of North America’s most significant collections of Chinese artifacts. Modern-day Quesnel is ideally situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Quesnel rivers, a celebrated launch

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Nazko Nazko is a small First Nations community 100km/62mi west of Quesnel where the main draw is the surrounding valley, lakes and rivers. The valley lies within the traditional territory of the Carrier people, who once traded widely with neighbouring tribes, exchanging eulachon oil, dried meats, and obsidian along the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail. Here in 1793, explorer Alexander Mackenzie was guided by the Carrier on an epic journey that made him the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean by land. The first permanent European homesteader settled locally in 1903, and by the 1920s, trading posts had been built in Nazko, Kluskus and Ulkatcho for trading furs and dry goods with the Carrier, homesteaders and ranchers.

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

Quesnel’s most famous “living history” festival is Billy Barker Days, commemorating the rowdy era of the 1860s. The 150-plus events over four days include pie-eating duels, stage shows, street concerts, stock-car racing, colourful parade, children’s festival and the sights and sounds of the Quesnel Rodeo, the largest amateur rodeo in B.C.

the Cariboo

point for outdoor adventures, including mountain biking, camping, fishing, and some of the region’s top snowmobiling getaways including adrenaline pumping hill climbs and wide-open trail touring. Ever-growing urban green spaces include Alex Fraser Park, the “Petunia Mile” and the Heritage Rose Garden’s 200-plus floribunda and tea roses. Enjoy a healthy lifestyle with your own personal walking guide visiting these and other sites - ask about it at the Visitor Centre.

Wells The mountain town of Wells, a 82km/51mi drive east of Quesnel, was built as a company town for Fred Wells’ Gold Quartz Mine, when the promise of more gold in the Cariboo gave many an opportunity to escape the unemployment of the depressed 1930s in what was then northern B.C.’s largest community and cultural centre.

WELLS:

more than just a pretty façade

Fast-forward 80 years. While there are now fewer than 300 year-round residents, many heritage buildings have been restored, including the grand Wells Hotel and the Sunset Theatre. Other

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Thomas Drasdauskis

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Bowron Lakes Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Barkerville A number of boom towns sprung to life during the Cariboo Gold Rush. But Barkerville, a ramshackle collection of buildings squeezed against the bank of a mountain creek, was the largest and most resilient. By 1958, when the provincial government declared it a B.C. Heritage site, the town had been virtually deserted, and the last residents were relocated as work began on restoring the town’s “heyday splendour.” Now one of Canada’s National Historic Sites, it is B.C.’s best known heritage destination and the largest historic site in

western North America, full of colour and vitality, with stagecoach rides, live theatre, saloons serving quaffs of root beer, a photo studio, café and bakery, a well-preserved 19th-century Chinatown and interesting cemetery tours. Interpreters engage families, roaming the streets as historical characters, greeting newcomers as if they’d just arrived on a Barnard Express stagecoach. View 120 restored buildings, as “locals” set off to work at the mine or otherwise bring a bygone era to life. See and hear what it was like to be a blacksmith, a school teacher, a seamstress - even a child - 150+ years ago.

the Cariboo

architectural landmarks sport bright rainbow colours in a nod to the town’s vibrant arts scene. The Island Mountain Arts Society’s celebrated arts school offers classes in visual, literary and performing art, while the wildly popular ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art is held annually the first weekend in August. The region’s outdoor adventures include the popular 7 Summits Bike & Hike Trek that lures mountain bikers from across the globe. The area has hundreds of kilometres of stunningly scenic trails to suit all users; hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling – accessible right from town! Nearby Jack O’Clubs Lake boasts tranquil canoeing. In winter, try hut-to-hut cross-country adventures in the Mount Murray Area, sled dog adventures and the renowned Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run. Straddling the Trans Canada Snowmobile Trail, the Wells network of “sledder” trails links you to Quesnel, Likely and the Prince George snowmobile clubhouse.

Bowron Lake Provincial Park Covering 121,000hec/298,997ac, it is big by any standard, as are the snow-capped Cariboo Mountains that rim this wilderness expanse. But it is the park’s most unusual physical feature that is the key to its popularity - a rectangular-shaped water-system and wildlife sanctuary that forms a 116km/72mi canoe circuit unique in North America. Where else can one paddle for 10 days without backtracking yet end where one began? No other canoe circuit boasts the same combination of mountain scenery, lakes and diverse wildlife populations. The former home of the southern Carrier, Athapaskan and Dene Nations, who built kekulis (kik-will-ees), or pit houses, close to where Kibbee Creek flows into Bowron Lake, is now an international attraction - one so popular that canoeists must reserve their “paddle slots” well in advance. ♦

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rest

eat

play

shop

Enjoy South Quesnel

Celebrate Quesnel 2013!

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Advertorial

Dragon Lake

World Class Fishing and Folklore

Tales from the Gold Rush were plentiful and wild. Many travellers encountered raging waters, fierce storms, staggering mountain heights and fearless wild animals. But one less told and perhaps the most peculiar story still proves to be a mystery today. How did Dragon Lake in Quesnel gets its name? Many believe it’s because the lake is shaped like a dragon, while others say it was named after one of the first European settlers in Quesnel named Richard Dragon. Those who live on the lake will tell you a different story... ...a story that dates back to the Gold Rush when a lone traveller from California stopped to spend the night by the lake. As were many gold seekers, he was on his way Northeast to the gold fields, today known as Barkerville, in search of a rich strike. Exhausted and hungry he set up camp, lit a fire and decided to try a little fishing for dinner. He noticed countless fish rising in the lake catching various flying insects and figured if he waded out into the lake it would be easy to spear and land a delicious trout. Doing just that, he proceeded into the lake and patiently waited. Luckily it didn’t take long before he was able to catch a fish, although, he had to gingerly drag his dinner towards him hoping to get it to shore before the fish realized it could escape. Now only in a few feet of water, he noticed a large shadow approaching his catch. He tried to reach for the fish, but his quick reaction was no match for the lightning speed of this dark creature as it lunged into the shallows and swallowed his dinner whole. Afraid to go back into the lake, he opted to wait until morning and head into Quesnel for a meal and supplies. Eager to tell his story, the traveller recounted his tale to everyone he came in contact with. He described the creature as very dark in colour, having large eyes on a head as big as his gold pan, noticeably long sharp teeth and “wings” instead of fins. He also stated that he figured it was at least four to five feet long, although he could not see its tail as it had disappeared into the lake as quickly as it came. Over the years many locals and visitors alike recount fishing tales of reeling in 10 pound rainbow trout bitten in half, dark shadows lurking under their boats and ferocious battles with the ”one that got away”. Along with the traveller’s story and the many encounters on the lake with the “Dragon Fish”, one may wonder if the creature is a modern version of the Triassic Albertonia Fish once found in the glacial lakes of the Rocky Mountains.

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Robert Semeniuk

the Chilcotin

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Chilcotin Plateau Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


the Chilcotin

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

David Jacobson

Robert Semeniuk

Karl-Hans Kern

David Jacobson

Mike Hawkridge/Hidden Lake Guest Ranch

Amy Thacker


www.bridgerivervalley.ca

the Chilcotin

B

ritish Columbia’s last frontier invites you. The Chilcotin – this vast,wide-open spectacular landscape is located between the Coast Mountains and the Fraser River. Unlike the Cariboo, the Chilcotin was never invaded by swarms of gold crazed prospectors, so consequently it developed much differently. It’s a world of few roads, little industry and pockets of people, the majority of who are First Nation. It has an impressive diversity of wildlife, including Canada’s largest population of bighorn sheep, rare white pelicans, trumpeter swans, bears, wolves, mountain caribou and hundreds of wild horses. This makes it the perfect place for anyone wanting to explore the pristine Canada of their imagination. The Chilcotin’s vastness is linked to the Central Interior by Highway 20, which crosses the Chilcotin Plateau and Coast Mountains stretching 456km/283mi from Williams Lake to Bella Coola. Highway 20, or the Freedom Highway, connects wildly different landscapes ranging from grassy plateaus and vast meadows to dramatic canyons and high mountain peaks. Not a single traffic light breaks its entire length, though there may be brief stops for ranging cattle and wandering moose or bears. Roads off the highway provide access to excellent views of the Coast Mountain Range, as well as to significant backcountry lakes, fishing resorts and specialty lodges.

Much of the region is composed of the high-elevation 50,000km2/19,305mi2 Chilcotin Plateau where thousands of cattle roam. There is tremendous geographical diversity here, from hot, dry grasslands to ice-covered heights of more than 4,000m/13,123ft, where glaciers descend to azure-blue lakes. Towering above those glacier-carved valleys is Mount Waddington, the highest peak that lies entirely within B.C. at 4,016m/13,176ft. Three major river systems, the Homathko, Klinaklini and Dean, run westward through the Coast Mountains, while the southeast is drained by the great Chilko, Chilcotin and Fraser river systems. The grassland canyons found on the Chilko and Fraser are desert landscapes similar to those seen in the south-western United States. Nothing reflects the spirit of the region more than the completion of Highway 20, at one time known as the Freedom Road because its completion freed up access to the central coast. Until 1953, the road ended at Anahim Lake, 137km/85mi short of Bella Coola on the coast because the provincial government refused to extend it - claiming the mountainous terrain was too difficult. So local volunteers working from opposite ends with two bulldozers and supplies purchased on credit finished the job. This determination and independent spirit remains in the fabric and character of the Chilcotin and Coastal residents today. The rustic road was not

really considered a highway when first completed (taking more than 9 hours to drive from Bella Coola to Anahim Lake), but it was enough to convince the government to take over maintenance and improvements in 1955. Those who settled this isolated region had to be tough - like Nellie Hance, who, in 1887, became the first white woman to travel into the Chilcotin by journeying 485km/301mi riding side saddle on horseback to reach her husband Tom’s trading post near Lee’s Corner (also known as Hanceville). Others were not only tough but, perhaps, a little crazy. Rancher Norman Lee, after whom Lee’s Corner was named, set out from his spread in May 1898 with 200 head of cattle on a 2,500km/1,553mi trek to the Klondike goldfields. None of his cattle survived the journey, but Lee did, arriving in Vancouver five months later with a roll of blankets, a dog and one dollar. Borrowing enough money for the train to Ashcroft and a horse to ride home, Lee was soon ranching again and by 1902 was well on the way back to prosperity. His descendants are still ranching in the Chilcotin today. The communities of the Chilcotin are strung along Highway 20 like beads on a necklace, each one with its own story and general store. These hospitable

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Experience It! • Truly appreciate the incredible expanse of Canada’s last remaining wilderness areas on a Flight-Seeing Tour. Float planes and helicopters fly over glaciers and icefields, as well as Hunlen Falls, Canada’s 3rd highest waterfall. • The Chilcotin is a hunting and fishing paradise. Here you can enjoy idyllic hunting and fishing vacations on your own, or better yet, by employing seasoned guide outfitting specialists. Try your luck at Puntzi Lake’s Fishing Derby in early July. • The area near Gold Bridge and Bralorne, is a world class snowmobiling destination. The East Hurley, Noel Valley and Kingdom Lake areas provide unlimited sledding options right from your door, while there is also great sledding in the Taylor Basin zone, near Tyaughton Lake, where there is a historic mining cabin. Slim Creek is unquestionably the biggest area around for sledding but be warned, there is 35km of road riding just to access the trail head. Extra fuel is a must! • Plan your own Photography Safari. This region offers up stunning scenery at every turn! The diversity of landscapes, wildlife, flora and fauna, and adventure experiences will provide you with a menagerie of vacation memories.

• Chilko Lake is one of the largest lakes by volume in the province of British Columbia because of its great depth, and the largest lake above 1,000m. Hiking, boating, windsurfing, fishing and nature photography are all popular around this beautiful, turquoise hued lake.

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geoffmoore.ca

• Walk and hike among the hoodoo rock formations of Farwell Canyon, about a 45 minute drive west of Williams Lake. If you’re lucky and the timing is right you may spot and snap pictures of majestic California Bighorn Sheep.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Kim Culbert/www.kimculbert.com

the Chilcotin

and historic stores continue to play an important role in the region as community centres and meeting hubs while functioning as multi-purpose shops. A good example is the A.C. Christensen General Store in Anahim Lake, which claims, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it!”

established to provide beef for Cariboo gold-rush towns in the early 1860s. Today, ranching remains a key economic driver. Tourism is also an important mainstay, and in many cases both go hand in hand with numerous working ranches, some hosting vacation adventures, pack trips, and trail rides.

As white settlers arrived, most of the First Nation Chilcotin chiefs were friendly and cooperative, particularly when treated with equality and respect. Many of the First Nations worked with settlers as ranch hands, cowboys, packers and guides. Others started their own freight companies using teams and wagons, or homesteaded ranches while their wives sewed and sold moccasins and gloves made from tanned deer and caribou hides, and robes made from marmot fur.

The outdoor adventures possible here are spectacular, from aerial sightseeing over the expansive Homathko Ice field (south of Tatlayoko Lake), to heliskiing the deep powder of the southern Chilcotin Mountains, to multiday loop treks through the rugged beauty of Ts’yl-os (sigh-loss) and Tweedsmuir Provincial Parks. Thrill seekers charge down the fast-moving Chilcotin River, rated among the most challenging of white-water rivers in North America. The Chilko River, a tributary of the Chilcotin that flows from Chilko Lake, is equally famed for its rapids, most notably a section called the White Mile. Providing one of the world’s most exciting rafting adventures, it is the longest continuous stretch of class 3-plus whitewater on the continent. Of course, for those with less time - and perhaps less

Today, Stetsons, cowboy boots, and fancy belt buckles are standard apparel in the Chilcotin, a land where the cowboy still rules. The region’s first cattle spreads - such as the Gang Ranch in the southeast, the largest cattle ranch in North America in its heyday and now owned by a Saudi sheik - were

courage - there are “soft-adventure” whitewater excursions available as well. Meanwhile anglers head for the lakes of the west Chilcotin, where float planes can be chartered for fly-in adventures to remote locales many travellers only dream about. Superior fly fishing is also found on the Blackwater River in the region’s north and on the Upper Dean River near Anahim Lake. While the majority of the Chilcotin is accessed off Highway 20, the South Chilcotin is most easily approached from Vancouver via Lillooet off Highway 99 past The Historic

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Festivals & Events New Year’s Ice Party – Ice bar, rink sports, bonfire and fireworks. Nimpo Lake. December 31 – January 1 Tatla Ski Challenge – A fun event on local trails for active, winter folk. Tatla Lake. January Bridge River Valley Winterfest activities include the Birch Curling Bonspiel, pond hockey tournament, cross country ski races, snow sculptures, snowmobile scavenger hunt, ice fishing derby, BBQ snack shack, bonfire and more. Little Gun Lake. February 9 Nimpo Lake Poker Run – Anyone with a snowmobile is welcome. Family friendly, well marked trails. Nimpo Lake. March 1 (weather dependant) Anahim-Nimpo Canoe Races – Paddlers battle it out from Nimpo to Anahim Lake. May 12 (weather dependant) Snowmobile Waterskipping – Wild, wacky and fun event where the bravest of the brave (or foolish) attempt to ride snowmobiles on the Dean River without stopping, or sinking into cold waters. Anahim Lake. May 26 (water level / weather dependant) Tatla Lake Gymkhana – Events include barrels, poles, scurries, keyhole, stakes, games, lemonade, hangman, potato, ribbon races for enthusiastic riders. Tatla Lake. June Anahim Lake Stampede - Fun with a gymkhana, parade, rodeo events, beer garden, dances & barbecue. Anahim Lake. July 5 - 7 Puntzi Lake Fishing Derby – A fun event in the heart of summer, open to all ages and fishing passions! Puntzi Lake. July 5 - 7 Alexis Creek Daze – A family fun day with activities for all ages. Alexis Creek. July 13

Eric Berger/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

Nemiah Pow Wow – A colourful display of celebration and dancing. Dancers are regaled in different costumes with symbols, colours and artistic patterns that have special meanings for each dancer. Nemiah. Last weekend in July

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Nemiah Valley Rodeo – The Mountain Race, a breakneck plunge down Mount Nemiah’s steep face, is a not to be missed event at the annual rodeo! Nemiah. August 2 - 5 Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


JÜRGEN WEYRICH

the Chilcotin

Whistler to Cache Creek; or by Highway 12 from Lytton and the Fraser Canyon. The communities of Dog Creek and Alkali Lake have backcountry access via Big Bar-Jesmond out of Clinton, or various points along Highway 97. Those with a serious thirst for adventure can follow the Fraser River north from Lillooet via a series of back roads through amazing country to the Chilcotin’s Highway 20, or head westward toward the Bridge River Valley area, near Tyaughton Lake, for spectacular adventure possibilities. Before you journey into the vast Chilcotin, it is recommended you have sufficient fuel and accurate maps for safety and peace of mind while journeying into the unspoiled wilderness. Seton Portage Once the site of a unique railway system, Seton Portage is a historic rural community located 25km/15.5mi by boat (78km/48mi by road over Mission Mountain) west of Lillooet, between Seton Lake and Anderson Lake. During the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858 to 1860, nearly 30,000 prospectors following what was then known as the “Lakes Route” from the Lower

Mainland, swept through the narrow strip of land and a wooden rail link that was built connecting the two lakes. Besides fishing, hiking, and boating, Seton Portage’s main attraction is a chance to ride the rails to Lillooet on the Kaoham Shuttle train. It winds along the shores of turquoise-coloured Seton Lake through the third-longest tunnel on the CN Rail line and past the nearby Bridge River hydroelectric development, which in 1948 was the largest power project ever undertaken in British Columbia. Gold Bridge Nestled in the Bridge River Valley among the towering peaks of the South Chilcotin Mountains, 105km/65mi west of Lillooet, Gold Bridge sprang to life during the Great Depression with the opening of a large gold mine in nearby Bralorne in 1932. The Bralorne Pioneer Mine produced more than four million ounces before it closed in 1971, making it the richest gold mine in Canadian history and prompting the construction of a town, with schools, churches, post office, houses, recreation halls, and hunting

lodges. The mine had been abandoned for many years, but celebrated its grand reopening in 2011 due to high gold prices and is producing gold once again. History buffs still find plenty of old ghost towns and abandoned mines to poke around in, while those more inclined to explore the outdoors appreciate the valley’s fishing, hunting, rock hounding, and rugged mountain beauty. Nearby lakes have resorts along their shores and heli-biking is a popular activity. Snowmobiling on local spectacular glaciers is an irresistible draw for winter enthusiasts and our phenomenal heli-skiing keeps backcountry skiers coming back for more. Alkali Lake While geographically located in the Cariboo, the communities of Alkali Lake and Dog Creek, which between them embrace several fishing lakes, are linked to the Chilcotin by proximity and landscape. It’s also the location of one of the most touching stories in B.C. For more than 35 years, the Esketemc (esket-em) First Nation People have invited Alcoholics Anonymous members from

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Did You Know? Rated as one of North America’s best for kayaking and white water rafting is the Chilcotin River. The headwaters of the Chilcotin River lie in the Coast Mountains near the southeast corner of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

The only nesting colony of American white pelicans in BC is located at Stum Lake in White Pelican Provincial Park. From this Chilcotin nesting site, these large white birds feed on fish in shallow lakes – sometimes hundreds of kilometres away, including Alkali Lake, Dragon Lake and Williams Lake.

Anahim Peak, a volcanic cone located northwest of Anahim Lake, was formed when the North American Plate moved over the Anahim hotspot, similar to the one feeding the Hawaiian Islands. It is one of the several volcanoes in the Anahim Volcanic Belt that stands out all by itself, rising from the Chilcotin Plateau, between the beautiful colors of the Rainbow Range and the Ilgachuz Range, near the headwaters of the Dean River.

Gun Lake, near Gold Bridge, is one of the clearest lakes in North America. With a perimeter of 15.4km, it is 103m at its deepest. It has water so clear and pure that you can drink from the lake and see the bottom until it drops off into the deep.

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Chris Harris/All Canada Photos

Tatlayoko Lake Community Park’s multi-use access trail network, built with donated conveyor belting from Gibraltar Mine, is just one project in a Cariboo Chilcotin Coast initiative to make this region a top tourism destination in terms of wilderness accessibility for wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, strollers and skateboards!

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


David Jacobson

the Chilcotin

around the world, to their annual Pow Wow Arbor for a rodeo and conference to share inspirational stories. Alcohol addiction almost destroyed the Esketemc a half-century ago. How they saved themselves and how the community took control of their lives and created an atmosphere of dignity and hope, was made into a film in 1985. The film, The Honour of All, is still shown at international festivals. B.C.’s oldest ranch was established in this attractive valley in the south-western Cariboo by a German-born settler named Otto Bowe, who, in 1858, built a “stopping house” alongside the river trail that made its way through the Cariboo to the northern goldfields. Bowe married a daughter of the Alkali Band Indian Chief and had four children with her. Bowe’s 10,117hec/25,000ac ranch stayed in the family until 1908, when it was purchased by Englishman Charles N. WynnJohnson. He was the grandfather of Charles N. “Chunky” Woodward, who later became the multimillionaire owner of B.C.’s iconic Woodward’s department store chain and a worldchampion cutting-horse rider. At the peak of its operation, the Alkali Lake spread had more than 4,000 head of cattle and horses and employed dozens of working cowboys. The ranch, now 14,973hec/36,999ac, continues as a working ranch. Dog Creek, another ranching community in the area, rose to prominence in the 1860s with a flour mill, lumber mill and five hotels. Little is left of the historic settlement, but there are still several ranches in the area, many employing First Nations cowboys from the two nearby reserves.

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Gordon Baron

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Chilcotin River Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Robert Semeniuk

the Chilcotin

Riske Creek Just south of Riske Creek near the confluence of the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers on Farwell Canyon Road, Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park, a 4,573hec/11,300ac preserve, shelters approximately 500 California bighorn sheep, naturalists come here to study the bighorns amongst hoodoos, watching them scale the steep sandstone riverbanks. Black bears, coyote, foxes and cougar also roam the surrounding region. Farwell Canyon’s desert-dry limestone and sandstone walls feature hoodoos and other intriguing water-carved formations. Hikers can view ancient pictographs on the cliff faces here and experience the thrill of watching First Nation fishermen dip-netting for salmon in the late summer.

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Riske Creek is a small community set amidst sweeping grasslands on the eastern border of the Chilcotin, 47km/29mi west of Williams Lake. The town is named after Polish pioneer and settler L.W. Riske, who built a saw mill and flour mill during the 1860s from which he sent supplies and produce to the Cariboo goldfields. The history of the area can be re-lived by visiting the Chilcotin Lodge and restaurant. Built in 1940 as a hunting lodge, the pioneer-style log building is one of the last remaining authentic lodging facilities in the Chilcotin. Hanceville About 50km/31mi west of Riske Creek, a roadside plaque describes the legendary Yukon cattle drive of Norman Lee, who, as mentioned earlier, set out from his Chilcotin ranch in 1898 with 200 head of cattle on his disastrous 2,500km/1,553mi trek to Dawson City. Lee wrote a chronicle

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Roland Hemmi

of the misadventure (which later became a book entitled Klondike Cattle Drive) and set up shop at Lee’s Corner. Today, Lee’s “town” is known as Hanceville, though there is still a store and café here called Lee’s Corner Store. Travellers can take a couple of interesting trips from the community, venturing southwest to Taseko Lake or the Nemiah Valley. Taseko Lake is a four-season playground offering camping, hiking, wildlife viewing and snowmobiling. Nemiah Valley The area of the Nemiah Valley that lies in the traditional territory of the Xeni Gwet’in (honey-koteen) First Nation is home to one of the last remaining herds of wild horses found in North America. The results of recent DNA tests suggest these mustangs are genetically linked to the horses brought to the American continent hundreds of years ago by the Spanish. Though there are no official tours, local guest ranches and B&Bs can assist with coordinating wild horse adventures. The remote valley, not connected to the rest of the Chilcotin by road until 1973, is home to members of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and assorted ranchers, with a number of wilderness hunting and fishing lodges throughout the area. Alexis Creek The community, 20km/12.5mi west of Hanceville, is named after Chief Alexis of the Tsilhqot’in (tseelh-coht-een), who was chief during the time of the Chilcotin War. Nearby are Bull Canyon and Battle Rock, the sites of fierce intertribal battles fought between the Chilcotin, who were defending their territory, and invading Shuswap and Bella Coola tribes. Before heading out on your journey west or into the back38

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

country along the glacial green waters of the Chilcotin River, stop into Alexis Creek for basic snacks, supplies and travel information at the popular tourist info booth which also provides full washroom facilities. Puntzi Lake and Redstone Well known for biking and hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and hunting, Puntzi Lake (60km/37mi west of Alexis Creek and 11km/7mi off the highway at Chilanko Forks) is also a major draw for bird watchers. The American White Pelican uses the lake as a food source in early spring and throughout the summer, while Trumpeter Swans feed in the fall until the lake freezes over. The nearby Chilanko Wildlife Management area is a protected marshland home to 50 bird species in the summer, caribou in the spring and is an excellent moose habitat. Several fishing resorts and serviced RV campsites are located around the lake. Activities here are typically spring, summer and fall focused, so the lake’s kokanee and rainbow trout get a reprieve during winter snowmobiling season. Redstone, a small First Nations community 36km/22mi west of Alexis Creek on Highway 20, supports your outdoor activities, and is home to the Redstone store, a key stop for fuel and supplies for your Highway 20 journey. Along the highway, the old cemetery also provides a great photo opportunity. Tatla Lake Located on the western edge of the Chilcotin grasslands, 108km/67mi west of Alexis Creek, Tatla Lake is where Irish settler Robert Graham started the area’s ranching legacy. After purchasing the Tatla Lake place from Benny Franklin in 1902, the Grahams built a fine new house and, in 1930, a new store.


Albert Normandin

Tatla Lake is also the gateway to three major mountain valleys: West Branch, Chilko and Tatlayoko, which extend southward via secondary roads. As well, nearby Bluff Lake is a fixed-wing flight-seeing and helicopter tour access point for several awesome wilderness destinations - including the massive Homathko Ice field and Mount Waddington, the highest peak in the Coast Range. Another popular side trip is sprawling Ts’yl-os (sigh-loss) Park, located 60km/37mi south of Tatla Lake. Bounded by the rugged peaks of the Coast Mountains to the west and the Interior Plateau to the east, the park’s natural wonders include 80km/50milong glacier-fed Chilko Lake, the largest natural high-elevation lake in Canada, a popular windsurfing destination.

the Chilcotin

The house is now the Graham Inn, located next to the Tatla Lake Manor, and specializes in cooking up excellent meals. The community provides access to excellent mountain hikes, Nordic ski trails and offers access to several resort and guiding operations in the area.

Prominent fishing is found here with rainbow trout and notable Dolly Varden. Kleena Kleene This tiny settlement is just 31km/19mi west of Tatla Lake on Highway 20.

Nearby Clearwater Lake is a departure point for float plane flights into remote fishing lakes and rivers and for exploring the region’s alpine wilderness. Travellers can survey the area and enjoy fabulous views from

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Tourism BC/Tom Ryan

Rainbow Mountains

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Chris Harris/All Canada Photos

the Chilcotin

the lookout point of Perkins Peak (2,819m/9,249ft), hike to beautiful Klinaklini Falls, or heli-hike the breathtaking Pantheon Range. Remote Big Stick Lake, Clearwater Lake and One Eye Lake all offer excellent canoeing and fishing. Hunters can embark on fly-in guided expeditions for moose, bear, mountain goats and wolves. Nimpo Lake Known as “the float plane capital of British Columbia” it’s a major launch point for aerial sightseeing tours and fishing fly-ins to the West Chilcotin’s pristine wilderness lakes and rivers. From here, adventurers can access isolated cabins nestled in scenery that is unmatched for its dramatic settings. Back-dropped by towering Mount Kappan, Nimpo Lake also features terrific rainbow trout fishing and was the venue for the 1993 Commonwealth Fly Fishing championships. For day-hikers, numerous trails combine a good workout with excellent bird-watching and other wildlife-viewing opportunities. Nearby ranches offer riding tours, pack trips, hiking and fly-in fishing, plus yoga and organic homegrown meals. In winter, the entertainment options include sleigh rides, snowshoeing, skating, cross-country skiing, and a great base camp for stellar snowmobiling adventures. Anahim Lake Located 135km/84mi east of Bella Coola, this is the site of a long-established Chilcotin settlement that expanded in the 1940s and 1950s when the Carrier Peoples moved here from their remote villages. The community is the eastern gateway to the southern portion of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and

its phenomenal wilderness recreation opportunities. Anahim Lake has the Chilcotin’s main airport, with scheduled flights connecting to Vancouver. Local lodges and resorts cater to both guided and self-guided fishers, hunters and hikers as well as those who prefer organized pack trips and mountain heli-rides. Float planes can be chartered for a myriad of nearby wilderness adventures, while guided horseback and hiking treks can easily be arranged to explore the surrounding backcountry of the Itcha and Ilgachuz Mountains and dramatic Rainbow Range of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, where peaks of eroded lava and fragmented rock display a spectrum of vivid red, orange, lavender and yellow. The town’s most famous attraction is the Anahim Lake Stampede - an old-fashioned western rodeo that has been staged here every July since 1938. Its most notable celebrity is Carey Price, star goaltender of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. Price, who practically grew up on horseback when not playing hockey, is also a skilled cowboy and regularly competes in a variety of rodeos on the circuit during the NHL offseason, most noteably in the team roping event. A local curiosity is Anahim Peak, a spectacular pillared cone of volcanic rock rich in obsidian, an important trading commodity for the Chilcotin people, who once used obsidian extensively for weapon making. First Nations history permeates this region, and visitors can view the remains of large wooden “culla culla” houses at Ulkatcho on Gatcho Lake and at Natsadalia Point on Anahim Lake. ♦ 1-800-663-5885

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Gordon Baron

the Coast

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Calvert Island Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


the Coast

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Amy Thacker

Michael Wigle

Beat Steiner/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

Shawn Nagurny/Shearwater Resort

Gordon Baron


Brad McGuire

the Coast

T

he Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, became famous for his expeditions in and across the South Pacific. But, well before this fame, he explored British Columbia’s central coast extensively, researching the lifestyles and origins of the indigenous people who live here. As a result of his investigation, he was later able to theorize about similarities among the British Columbian First Nations people and those who lived on far-removed Pacific islands. That gave rise to his theories - and later explorations - about indigenous peoples around the Pacific having related roots. Even though his theories were never fully accepted by anthropologists, Heyerdahl’s life’s work began in the inlets, islands, and mainland of this craggy coastline and directly led to his legendary explorations. While time has changed some ways of life along the mist-shrouded fjords of B.C.’s central coast, the same mystical elements that drew Heyerdahl still call out to the casual visitor today. Of course, Heyerdahl wasn’t the first non-native person to explore these shores. In 1793, an intrepid 29-year old Scotsman named Alexander Mackenzie accompanied by seven French Canadian voyageurs and two First Nations porters - paddled into the Dean Channel near present-day Bella Coola. That event

completed the first crossing of North America from the prairies to the Pacific. Before returning east, the explorer scrawled an inscription on a rock using a reddish mixture of bear grease and vermilion: “Alex Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, 22nd July, 1793.” That rock still bears his words, permanently inscribed by surveyors who followed. Mackenzie could not have picked a better spot to conclude his epic journey to the Pacific Ocean. The mist-draped coastline is lined with towering, snowcrowned peaks, massive ice fields and some of the world’s longest fjords. Oldgrowth stands of cedar and spruce cover the land, and rich salmon streams weave through the valley bottoms, providing food for the magnificent creatures that inhabit the coast - killer whales, eagles, wolves and bears, including the mysterious white Kermode, or Spirit Bear. Explorers from Russia, Britain, France, and Spain also came to this region in the last quarter of the 18th century, motivated by the chance of trade, although Spain was here to protect its then territorial waters. Getting here by ship is much easier now than in either Mackenzie or Heyerdahl’s time. BC Ferries has a passenger and vehicle run from Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island to Bella Coola with stops at communities along the way. It passes through dramatic and spectacu-

lar fjords. The vessel, the Queen of Chilliwack, has a small licensed lounge, a gift shop, and pay showers. Service is friendly, and a staff member is there to help with travel plans. There are no overnight cabins, but the ship does have reclining seats. Those travelling with a small tent can set it up on the outer decks with approval from a crew member. Ports of call along the route may include Bella Bella, McLoughlin Bay, Shearwater, Klemtu, Ocean Falls, and the Hakai Pass area – all of which have their own stories to tell. Continuing along B.C.’s “Coast Cariboo Circle Tour”, from Bella Coola, Highway 20 leads across the Chilcotin Plateau to the Cariboo, and onto the Lower Mainland and elsewhere. One major advantage of this trip is that you do not require a four-wheel drive vehicle. The region’s remote solitude and wild beauty has long drawn artists, photographers, naturalists and travellers looking for big adventures and the freshest of seafood. The ocean and inlets around Bella Coola offer unforgettable sea kayaking and wildlife viewing adventures. Paddlers can depart from numerous coastal locations, including Bella Bella, to spend a week or so exploring the tiny coves and narrow passageways of the central coast. To the south, just 10km/6mi west of Namu, the 123,000hec/303,940ac Hakai Luxvbalis (looks-bal-ease) Conservation Area is considered one of the finest

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Experience It! • Relive the past at the Bella Coola Historic Museum. See a pioneer schoolhouse, a surveyors’ cabin from the 1800s, Hudson’s Bay Christmas relics, and items brought by early settlers from Norway. • Trek the trails and roads in an around Ocean Falls, or challenge yourself hiking around Link Lake. Stroll around the dam and remains of the old town for a more relaxing historical venture. • Explore the ancient cedar forest in Snootli Creek Park, just east of Bella Coola, where dense, interlocking branches of massive cedars form an almost impermeable forest canopy over the park’s “easy” trails. • Heli-Ski the powder of the Central Coast Mountains. Bella Coola operators fly into the spectacular Coast Range glaciers and mountains, where the angulated terrain is perfect for spring and summer corn-snow skiing and boarding. • Plan a visit to Klemtu, via BC Ferries, where you will learn and hear the grand stories of the Kitasoo and Xai’xais First Nations peoples. The Big House and the wooden boardwalk – the longest in North America when built in the 1960s – are some highlights.

• Accessed only by boat, Mackenzie Rock is a historical site not to be missed. Several operators offer excursions to visit this rock that was inscribed upon at the completion of Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s cross-Canada voyage to the Pacific Ocean in 1793.

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Eric Berger/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

• Follow the Medby Rock Trail to see views of the entire Bella Coola Valley. Enjoy panoramic views of Bella Coola, Hagensborg, Nusatsum Valley and the Saloompt River Valley all from the lookouts.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Eric Berger/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

the Coast

kayaking playgrounds on the coast. Paddlers find twisting passages to explore, intriguing island clusters, and beaches perfect for strolling and camping. Thanks to BC Ferries’ unique Discovery Coast Passage service, paddlers can pre-arrange to be dropped via “wet launch” to penetrate otherwise difficult-to-reach areas. To the southwest, fishing enthusiasts flock to luxurious lodges along Rivers Inlet and Knight Inlet, two of the most notable sport fishing destinations in B.C.

14th Annual

Discovery Coast Music Festival

with an impressive history of producing some of the largest chinook salmon in the world. Trophy coho are in the 9kg/20lb range; consistent catches of steelhead, pink, chum, and sockeye salmon provide further variety. Giant halibut weighing up to 91kg/200lb cruise the floor of the inlet; and near the reefs, ling cod weighing up to 27kg/59.5lb can be caught. North from Knight Inlet to Klemtu are names that echo with fishing enthusiasts as world class destinations, enticing places such as Hakai Pass and Shearwater.

Long before white explorers arrived, First Nations of the central coast thrived, living off both land and ocean and trading with interior tribes. More than one third of the Coast’s population today is First Nation. In Bella Coola, the Nuxalk (nu-halk) are well known for the carvings, masks, and paintings that can be seen throughout the valley. The two main towns in the Bella Coola Valley - Hagensborg, a community settled by Norwegians from Minnesota in 1894, and Bella Coola, the service hub

Bones Bay Lodge FISHING AND WILDLIFE ECO TOURS

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www.bellacoolamusic.org artwork by Niki Watts

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Festivals & Events Tweedsmuir Park Ski Marathon – A 25-km race in the scenic Rainbow Range. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. February Bella Coola Valley Festival of the Arts is a collection of various artisan mediums showcased for locals and visitors alike. Bella Coola. April 23-24 Farmers Market – Growers and buyers connect over fresh, local produce and seafood. Bella Coola. Sundays, June 2 – September 29 Father & Son Fishing Derby – A great family bonding event with big prizes for big catches. Shearwater. June 14 – 17 28th Annual Bella Coola Valley Rodeo with bull riding, bronc busting and “cow pattie bingo”. Bella Coola. June 29 – 30 4th Annual BC Outdoors Magazine Fish-in Derby – Join Mike Mitchell, and special NHL guests for four days of spectacular fishing in one of the most beautiful BC settings. Shearwater. July 19-22 Discovery Coast Music Festival – Pack up the family and groove to rock, blues, jazz, folk and more, in stunning Bella Coola Valley scenery. Hagensborg. July 20 – 21 Valley Ridge Riders Gymkhanas – Equestrian events in Snootli Creek Park. Bella Coola Valley. Summer/monthly events. Nuxalk Potlaches – Stories, song, dance, ancient readings, as well as guided wildlife, cultural and hiking tours. Locations TBA. Summer season Edible Garden Tour – Prepare your palate for the beautiful sights and tastes on this tour! Bella Coola. August 19 Salmon Derby – Live music, tall tales and biggest catch prizes. Ocean Falls. August Dave Hutchison

Fall Fair & Logger Sports Festival – Enjoy the fall fair produce, events, and the thrill of watching the Logger Sports participants battle it out. Bella Coola. August 30 – September 2

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Michael Wigle

the Coast

for the region - are located 17km/10.5mi apart at the western end of Highway 20. This section of the valley has 10,000-yearold petroglyphs, historic hiking trails, a salmon hatchery, art galleries specializing in West Coast native art, and outdoor adventure companies offering grizzly bear tours, eco-tours, river drifts, and flight-seeing excursions. The Bella Coola Valley is also the heart of a regional farming revival spearheaded by the Bella Coola Community Supported Agriculture Project. At the immensely popular farmers’ market on Sundays, June through September, visitors can mingle with the locals, purchase regional specialties (including “new” heritage varieties of fruits and veggies, local honey, homemade jams and jellies and other goodies) and find a sampling of the outstanding arts and crafts available in the valley. Several local farms also welcome visitors for specialty tastings and educational tours,

while throughout the coast, worldclass seafood - including giant prawns, Dungeness crab, several species of salmon, halibut, Pacific cod, and tuna - lure foodies off the beaten track. The landscape northwest of Bella Coola is some of the most isolated in the province. Across a 3,000,000hec/7,413,160ac area, there are only 1,900 residents populating five towns. The region lies within the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest remaining tract of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. Several ancient First Nations cultural sites can be found here, as well as a striking array of wildlife. The ocean harbours killer whales, porpoises, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, and dozens of seabird species. The forests are alive with black-tailed deer, wolves and bears grizzly, black and the Kermode (or Spirit Bear), a rare, white-

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Did You Know? The Dean River is renowned globally as a world-class Steelhead fishing destination. The several lodges and guides in the area will help take this adventure “off” your bucket-list and add to your most memorable of lifetime experiences.

Calvert Island is a sparsely populated gem, offering spectacular kayaking off white sand beaches in turquoise waters. North of the island, in Hakai Pass, is the Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy Area. At more than 1,200 square kilometres (300,000 acres) of land and sea, it is the largest provincial marine protected area on the BC coast.

The Coast Mountains, which follow virtually all of the coastline of British Columbia, are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean, found as far south as Indonesia.

Rivers Inlet has an impressive history of producing some of the largest chinook salmon in the world. These and trophy coho, pink, chum, sockeye, ling cod, steelhead, and giant halibut are prizes to be caught when you hook up with one of several operators in the area.

Michael Wigle

Hagensborg was named after Hagen B. Christenson, the first storekeeper in the area and postmaster from April 1, 1896 to October 14, 1910. “Borg” is Norwegian for a fortress or castle.

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Entering the central Coast region from the east by road is an entirely different experience - one definitely not for motorists who suffer from a fear of heights. Highway 20 descends from Heckman Pass into a 30km/19mi stretch of sharp hairpin turns and switchbacks with grades of up to 18 percent - but that’s just the dramatic stuff. In reality the road only narrows on the hairpins and most of it is quite wide offering good sightlines. At the bottom of the highway’s infamous “Hill”, one can access 980,000hec/2,421,632ac Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Aside from its outstanding scenery, Tweedsmuir is a magnet for outdoor recreationists, offering fishing, hiking, heli-skiing, horseback riding via wilderness trails, camping and canoeing the Turner Lake Chain. Hunlen Falls, Canada’s third highest freefalling waterfall, at the north end of Turner Lake, is another major attraction, plunging 260m/853ft to disappear in a cloud of spray before entering the Atnarko River.

Dennis Pingree/Shearwater Resort

The main haunt of the Spirit Bear, or Kermode, is Princess Royal Island, a primordial expanse of wilderness accessible only by boat or air. Aside from the Tsimshian (sim-SHE-an), who once inhabited a coastal village here; few humans ever entered the island’s inland rainforest. Today, that has changed as guided tours offer kayakers and boaters a privileged, close-up view and a chance to also see the majestic, powerful grizzly. Take a guided tour to drift through the grizzly’s backyard while experienced guides provide interpretation. Also off the beaten track is the Fiordland Conservancy, a provincial marine park set deep in the inner channels northeast of Klemtu. The preserve encompasses Kynoch and Mussel inlets, two glacially gouged fjords where sheer granite cliffs rise more than 1,000m/3,281ft; pristine beaches, including some particularly scenic spots near Lady Douglas Island, dot the region. Higgins Passage is an intricate waterway with traditional First Nations sites amidst a multitude of maze-like islands, twisting passageways and cascading waterfalls.

the Coast

coated variation of the black bear that is sacred to B.C.’s First Nation people.

The park contains stunning terrain, notably the multi-hued peaks of the Rainbow Range with an astonishing spectrum of reds, oranges, yellows and lavenders created by the area’s heavily mineralized volcanic lavas and sands. The weathering effects of glaciers on these volcanic mountains combined with the warm and wet influence of the Pacific has also resulted in lush alpine meadows and a tremendous abundance of beautiful wildflowers. The highway through the Bella Coola Valley parallels the ancient trading route, or “grease trail”, taken by Alexander Mackenzie on his way to the sea in 1793. Long before Mackenzie’s arrival, the Nuxalk (nu-halk) people thrived here alongside the salmon-filled rivers. The valley was part of a trade corridor between coastal and interior native groups, where furs and leather were exchanged for salmon and eulachon oil. The oil was obtained from the rendered fat of the small herring-like fish that was valued for its calories and vitamin content. It was then transported along the so-called “grease” trails.

Unique adventures, unparalleled wilderness, unforgettable hospitality

• Spacious Mountain View Rooms • Grizzly Bear Viewing Tours • Eco-Rafting & Hiking with Local Biologists • Licensed Dining, Local , Organic Cuisine & Espresso Bar www.bcmountainlodge.com info@bcmountainlodge.com Find us on Facebook 1-866-982-2298 1900 Hwy 20, Bella Coola Valley, BC

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Gordon Baron

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Bella Coola Harbour Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Gordon Baron

the Coast

Hagensborg In 1894, approximately one hundred Norwegian colonists from Minnesota moved to the Bella Coola Valley founding a settlement called Hagensborg, located on Highway 20, just 16km/10mi east of Bella Coola. They chose the area because the landscape reminded them of their Norwegian homeland, with its long fjords snaking to the sea. The region’s farming, lumber and fishing industries began shortly thereafter, and the town’s first school was opened in a large communal tent in 1895. Some of that Norwegian heritage is still visible today in Hagensborg’s Norwegian Heritage House. Built at the turn of the 20th century by settler Andrew Svisdahl, it’s a time capsule from the past, furnished in traditional Norwegian fashion and displaying the household tools of that time. Augsburg United Church, built in 1904 as a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, still welcomes parishioners, and its cemetery relates the poignant history of the Norwegians who journeyed so far to this unknown valley from the United States.

The area surrounding Hagensborg offers a number of hiking trails, including the Lost Lake Trail on the north side of the Bella Coola River that leads hikers to tiny Lost Lake and its picnic site with its great views of the valley and Nusatsum Mountain. The well-marked and wheelchair-accessible Saloompt Interpretive Trail follows the Bella Coola River to an old-growth forest with picnic tables and benches. The Bella Coola Airport, also located at Hagensborg, provides chartered and daily scheduled flights to and from Vancouver, as well as to local glaciers, fishing areas and coastal destinations. The community is also an excellent jumping off point for excursions into Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Though the outdoor recreational opportunities in Tweedsmuir are almost unlimited, this is a true wilderness park - and only the heartiest of adventure seekers should venture into the park’s backcountry. Anyone exploring the back country might want to employ the services of a professional, local guide to make their experiences truly memorable. 1-800-663-5885

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Roland Hemmi

Bella Coola Rich in clean air, glacier-fed rivers, fresh mountain streams, and magnificent wildlife, Bella Coola - the name of both the small town and the valley - is a favourite destination of naturalists, artists, explorers and photographers. The town waterfront boasts an eclectic collection of fishing and pleasure boats, cannery sites, and tidal flats. The historic Kopas Store, on the corner of Mackenzie and Dean streets, has a delightful folksy ambience along with a wide selection of B.C. books, First Nations jewellery and art, fishing licences, marine charts and maps, plus goods and giftware. Clayton Falls, accessible from the road and a short walking trail, has striking hard granite formations worn by the water. It is also a gathering place for salmon in a major spawning year. A few minutes east along Highway 20 is the Nuxalk (nu-halk) community of 4 Mile. Styled after the traditional long house, and with stately totem poles erected in front, the 4 Mile School is close to the highway and its design is an innovative three-dimensional work of art. Also within this community you will find several art galleries and the entrance to the expansive petroglyph site, which has ancient rock carvings depicting the cultural and mythical beliefs embedded in the Nuxalk culture. Local guides are available to share these legends. Some locals are descendants of those who 54

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

lived in the community that Alexander Mackenzie dubbed “the friendly village” at the end of his grand journey. Situated at the western edge of the valley across from towering 2,438m/8,000ft high Mount Nusatsum, Bella Coola was once the site of a Hudson’s Bay fur trading post. The Nuxalk Nation lived throughout the valley for centuries. However, in the late 1860s, after a smallpox epidemic decimated the population, survivors gathered on land close to the mouth of the river and the Hudson’s Bay post that now comprises the nonreserve part of town. Today’s population of roughly 900 thrives on fishing, logging, and growing tourism, and has become a full-service hub for the area. It is also a key gateway to the 64,000km2/24,710mi2 Great Bear Rainforest and is the only port between Vancouver and Prince Rupert with inland access to the Interior of B.C. The Snootli Creek Fish Hatchery is just off Highway 20 (5km/3mi west of Hagensborg) and offers guided interpretive tours for families highlighting the hatchery’s work. It raises trout and salmon (chum, sockeye, chinook and coho), and replenishes fish stocks in the area. Visitors can also connect with nature via Snootli Creek Regional Park’s ancient cedar grove, just east of Bella Coola. Here, interlocking branches of

massive, ancient cedars form an almost impermeable forest canopy covering the park’s four “easy” 200m/656ft to 2km/1.2mi trails. Walkers stay relatively dry even when it rains. Namu Looking for a ghost town? Well, maybe not all that many ghosts can be found in the region, but, there is a sense of past cultures and industries inhabiting the land. One of those stories of boom and bust can be found in this small, now abandoned community. At the confluence of the Burke Channel and Fitz Hugh Sound, 95km/59mi southwest of Bella Coola, the town of Namu (a Heiltsuk (hel-sic) First Nations word that means “whirlwind”) stands as a reminder of past success and misplaced optimism. Between the 1930s and 1980s, when B.C. Packers operated a cannery here, Namu was a hub of activity for commercial fishers along the central coast. During the height of the local fishing season, it supported a population of up to 400 cannery workers, fish processors, maintenance personnel and their families - with enough children to fill a four-room schoolhouse. The ice plant and cannery, café, laundry and general store and business offices were located on waterfront piers. Along the beachfront and on land above central Namu, linked by boardwalks, were the managers’ lodgings and bunkhouses.


the Coast

However, high transportation costs and low fish prices in the 1980s forced the plant to switch from canning to fish processing with the fish being shipped south to Vancouver and west to Japan for canning. When B.C. Packers sold Namu, in the early 1990s, an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish a resort here. Alas, it failed.

Bella Bella The large eagle head painted on its Native Cultural Centre marks the fishing and forestry community of Bella Bella. Also known as Waglisla, the town is the former site of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort McLoughlin established in the 1830s. Home to the Heiltsuk (hel-sic) First Nation, population of 1,400, it is the largest First Nations community on B.C.’s west coast. The village is located on Campbell Island, about 3km/2mi north of McLoughlin Bay where BC Ferries’ Queen of Chilliwack docks. The town’s services include a bank, large general store, police station and the only hospital and pharmacy on the island.

Gordon Baron

Today the town-site continues to be visited and used as a stopover point by coastal travellers and fishermen, and the ancient shell midden (a midden is a mound containing shells, animal bones and other refuse that indicates the site of a human settlement) makes it a continuing source of curiosity for archaeologists who have discovered local evidence of cultures dating back nearly 10,000 years. Such research shows that Namu is the earliest radiocarbon-dated site on the B.C. coast.

Shearwater Approximately 50 full-time residents live in Shearwater, located on Denny Island, 5km/3mi from Bella Bella. The current town-site was developed for an anti-submarine bomber-reconnaissance unit in 1941. The unit was disbanded in 1944, and the site was later purchased and developed into a full-service marina and fishing resort. Today, all that remains of the original air force base is the hangar, the airstrip and a few bunkers. In addition there is now a fish plant, bed-and-breakfast accommodations, resort lodgings, fishing-charter operators, moorage for pleasure boaters, a small store, post office and regular water taxi service to Bella Bella. Sport fishing is the community’s major asset. Surrounded by calm, protected waters, Shearwater is home to all five species of salmon. The local chinook top 32kg/70lb, while coho can reach 9kg/20lb. Abundant local bottom fish include ling cod, red snapper and rockfish, with halibut weighing up to 91kg/200lb. Shearwater also now provides access to excellent eco-adventure opportunities. Hakai Pass South of Bella Bella, the pristine waterways of Hakai Pass are known worldwide for trophy salmon fishing. Here, anglers find some of the biggest catches on the B.C. coast: huge runs of chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink salmon churn through the currents. Fishers can also drop a line for halibut, snapper and ling cod. The wildlife parade is just as impressive:

w w w. s p i r i t b e a r. c o m Spirit Bears, Grizzly Bears and First Nations Culture in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest

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Michael Wigle

orcas, humpbacks, grey whales, dolphins and eagles all make stops at Hakai Pass. Wildlife lovers may even spot sea lions, seals, wolves and deer along the shore. The resorts and floating lodges in the Hakai Pass area host excellent guided wildlife-viewing tours and fishing packages, with accommodations ranging from rustic to luxurious. Ocean Falls Ocean Falls is noted for its abundance of rain - about 4,390mm/172.8in annually, and it is sometimes referred to as the “Land of the Rain People”. The Heiltsuk (hel-sic) First Nations people have inhabited the coastal region surrounding Ocean Falls for more than 9,000 years. The town is remote and only accessible by private boat, BC Ferries, or floatplane. It is situated around a waterfall from Link Lake straight into the head of Cousins Inlet, 88km/55mi northwest of Bella Coola. Ocean Falls maintains a small residential community and social network of former residents and remains a very popular stop with boaters travelling the Discovery Coast and Inside Passage BC Ferry routes. 56

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

In recent years, the area around Ocean Falls has emerged as an eco-adventure hub, with terrific hiking, wildlife viewing, freshwater and saltwater fishing. Accommodation is available at the refurbished Ocean Falls Lodge, but early reservations are recommended. This community was once the site of the largest pulp and paper mill in the province. However, as with several communities along this remote coastal landscape, the town has seen better days. Much has been demolished, and many of the original buildings are in decay. The mill, operated from 1912 to 1980, supported a thriving town with a population of close to 4,000, its own school system, an orchestra, a musical and dramatic society, a hospital, one of the province’s largest hotels and a swimming pool where several champions trained. In fact, the town’s swimming club sent seven swimmers to the Olympic Games from 1948 until the 1960s, with resident Ralph Hutton winning silver in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1968 Mexico City games. The swim club also won the Canadian National Men’s Championship four consecutive years between 1962

and 1965. The closing of the mill ended all that, though, with most of the townsfolk leaving to begin new lives. Downtown has a good-sized government dock, fresh water for boaters and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies ashore to explore. In summer BC Ferries’ Queen of Chilliwack docks on its Port Hardy to Bella Coola route, doubling the town’s population. As the ferry nears the dock, you can see the impressive size of the now decaying grand Hotel and other businesses along main street, as well as the large hydroelectric Dam. Visitors can’t help but wonder what it must have been like to live here during the bustling, recent past of Ocean Falls. Klemtu Klemtu is an isolated community located in a pristine cove on Swindle Island, 228km/142mi northwest of Bella Coola. Enclosed by the Great Bear Rainforest, the village sits on the doorstep of Princess Royal Island, home of the legendary white Spirit Bear. Klemtu’s population of 420 is composed of two First Nations groups who speak completely different languages: the


the Coast

Kitasoo (kit-ah-soo), the southernmost Tsimshian (sim-SHE-an) tribe, and the Xai’xais (hay-hace), the northerly branch of the Heiltsuk (hel-sic) First Nation.

The community’s key economic driver is fishing, and most residents live along the waterfront and its wooden boardwalk - the longest in North America when it was built in the 1960s. Commercial activities are centered around the public Transport Canada wharf, where services include a well-equipped general store, café, post office, modern fuel facility (with a full range of marine and auto fuels) and community health clinic. Klemtu’s monumental “Big House” is constructed of red cedar and emblazoned with the village’s clan emblems (raven, eagle, wolf and killer whale). It is used for celebrations, traditional dances and memorials that allow residents to reconnect with their past and bring ancient traditions alive. The surrounding area abounds with incredible scenery, superb wildlifeviewing opportunities, and the local waterways are ideal for both fishing and

Amy Thacker

By 1875, the population of the two groups had declined so precipitously that they joined together to establish a settlement nearer the region’s main shipping routes. The new community underwrote its economy with money from cutting cordwood for coastal steamers, for which Klemtu became a refuelling stop.

kayaking. Experienced paddlers rent kayaks or bring their own for independent exploring through the surrounding labyrinth of scenic inland fjords. One local tour company, owned and operated by the local First Nations band, has opened the stunning modern Spirit Bear Lodge to house visitors while offering eco-cultural and wildlifeviewing tours that include trips to Princess Royal Island and the Fiordland Conservancy marine park. Visit with a hereditary chief as you ply the rich

ocean waters and learn the coastal story of creation. Klemtu’s Swindle Island is inaccessible by road, however BC Ferries services the town on both the Discovery Coast Passage Route (seasonal) and the Inside Passage, Midcoast, Bella Coola and Haida Gwaii Route (year round). Check BC Ferries website for current schedules. Pacific Coastal Airlines also offers convenient flights to Klemtu from Vancouver and Port Hardy. ♦

Backcountry wilderness on the remote Central Coast.

Ask about our Central Coast packages including ferry travel, accommodation, tours and activities.

Three easy ways to book: • bcferries.com/vacations • BC Ferries Vacations Centre™ at the Fairmont Pacific Rim • 1 888 BC FERRY Ext 3 1010 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

BC Reg. 48839.

Client: File Name: Actual Size:

BC Ferries 21011655 Cariboo Ad_CCCT 7.25” x 3.167”

1-800-663-5885 Publication:

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism

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Houston Burns Lake

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François Lake

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The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast delivers. Adventures of a lifetime. Every day.

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1.800.663.5885

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Kamloops 196

100 Mile House Anahim Lake 296 523 Barkerville 539 132 654 Bella Coola 73 480 368 614 Clinton 169 424 317 558 241 Likely 178 585 474 719 105 346 Lillooet 210 437 86 570 282 226 387 Quesnel 311 96 426 230 383 331 489 340 Tatla Lake 92 319 205 453 165 109 270 119 223 Williams Lake 455 847 553 996 509 623 613 486 766 547 Jasper 364 771 660 905 298 553 290 601 675 476 610 Kelowna 112 520 408 653 40 281 87 322 423 204 525 271 Cache Creek 815 1223 963 1356 742 983 790 896 1125 906 416 610 703 Calgary 820 1227 918 1361 874 988 978 851 1131 912 365 895 889 298 Edmonton 332 558 190 693 404 280 510 122 462 241 377 716 444 788 742 Prince George 455 864 750 996 384 623 253 664 765 546 796 390 344 975 1161 786 Vancouver 306 714 602 848 234 475 130 516 617 398 741 510 216 918 1106 638 123 Whistler 689 1096 837 1230 616 857 664 770 999 781 289 483 576 129 416 662 845 793 Banff 571 978 866 1112 498 739 437 780 881 662 909 503 458 1088 1274 902 226 349 961 Seattle, WA

603 408 491 734 123 364 171 405 506 288 444 170 83 621 809 527 352 299 495 468

For more itinerary and route information visit HelloBC.com or Landwithoutlimits.com Twitter @CarChiCoa Connect with us facebook.com/CaribooChilcotinCoast 60

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


PRINCE GEORGE

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Blue River Black Spruce Provincial Park

Wells RIVER Gray Provincial Park

100 MILE HOUSE CLEARWATER

93 MILE

CLINTON

Mount Robson Provincial Park

Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park

SODA CREEK

Coast Cariboo Circle Tour*

Jasper National Park

Bowron Lake Provincial Park

LITTLE FORT

CACHE CREEK ASHCROFT

REVELSTOKE KAMLOOPS

Lakes and Trails Circle Tour

(* Includes: BC Ferries Discovery Coast Passage Route) Distance (complete route): 1,835 km (1,140 mi.)

Distance (complete route): 1,500 km (932 mi.)

Distance (CCC section): 720 km (447 mi./lane portion only)

Distance (CCC section): 600 km (372 mi.)

Time (complete route): 7 to 10 days

Time (complete route): 7 to 10 days

Highlights: Grasslands, volcanic mountains, coastal villages, First Nations, wildlife, Gold Rush Trail, Discovery Coast Passage Ferry

Highlights: Rivers, lakes, ranches, Gold Rush Trail, deserts, fishing, water sports

D

epart from Port Hardy on a BC Ferries Discovery Coast Passage sailing to Bella Coola, perhaps stopping in communities such as Shearwater, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Klemtu, traditional home of the Xais’Xais (hay-hace) and Kitasoo (kit-AH-soo). View ancient petroglyphs, fish for salmon and crab, or seek out a rare, white Kermode in the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Travel the celebrated “Freedom Highway” (Hwy. 20) through the Coast Mountains and Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, B.C.’s largest, to explore the colorful, volcanic Rainbow Mountains. Outdoor adventures abound: camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, outstanding river drifts and wildlife viewing.

B

eginning in the City of Kamloops you may head west to Cache Creek or north to Little Fort to begin this adventure. At Cache Creek stop for a tour of historic Hat Creek Ranch with its restored roadhouse and First Nations village. Continuing north Hwy. 97 winds through guest-ranch country, anchored by the cowboy town of Clinton, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. It is renowned in part for hosting the longest continually running event of its kind in Canada: the Annual Ball. Opt for luxurious resort ranches with pools and spas or stay at a working ranch and help out with the riding, roping and herding. Continue to 100 Mile House, with a detour via Moose Valley Provincial Park’s 12-lake canoe chain.

Next up is the town of Tatla Lake, gateway to Chilko Lake, the largest high-elevation freshwater lake on the continent - followed by Alexis Creek. At Riske Creek, detour to Farwell Canyon to see hoodoo rock pillars, then on to Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park to photograph California bighorn sheep. It’s then east again, to Williams Lake, site of the Williams Lake Stampede and B.C.’s Cowboy Hall of Fame.

If you choose the northern route , turn west at Little Fort onto Hwy. 24, the legendary “Fishing Highway”, accessing more than 100 lakes teeming with rainbow trout, trophy lake trout and kokanee. Backcountry lodges offer cozy accommodations and insider tips on the best fishing spots and how to mine them.

Got your mountain bike? Local trails include Ridge Bypass, Comer Drop and Missioner Loop, plus Pit Drop and Brake Check for more advanced riders. No bike? No problem, rentals are available. River raft the Chilcotin, Chilko or Fraser rivers and get that adrenaline flowing. Then drive south on Highway 97 to 100 Mile House and perhaps visit a local rock carver, before continuing on to the cowboy village of Clinton, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. Explore interesting antiques of a bygone era. Finally, continue south toward Lillooet, Mile 0 on the Gold Rush Trail, to explore the many outdoor experiences offered in this area that’s branded “guaranteed rugged,” then on to Whistler to begin exploration of the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region.

Time it right, and travellers can arrive in Williams Lake for July’s annual Williams Lake Stampede. Missed it? Learn First Nations culture at the Xat’sūll (hats-ull) Heritage Village at Soda Creek, with authentic ceremonies, teepees, and native storytellers spinning ever-evolving yarns that can reach back thousands of years. Continue north to Quesnel and nearby Cottonwood House Historic Site (east on Hwy. 26), a preserved roadhouse from the gold rush days. Keeping to Hwy. 26, visit the artsy town of Wells, then on to Barkerville, the biggest live-history recreation in Canada, with a host of interpreters in traditional garb showcasing life in the 1860s. Return to Quesnel for the many outdoor adventures in this area, or carry on toward Prince George and beyond, to trace the remainder of this circle route returning to the gateway of Kamloops. Circle Tours — Tourism BC 1-800-663-5885

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www.bridgerivervalley.ca

62

Bridge River Valley Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Get your adrenaline pumping!

1-800-663-5885

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64

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

ŠSpirit Bear Lodge/Doug Neasloss

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, Williams Lake, BC

Miriam Schilling

geoffmoore.ca

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives


Amy Thacker

First Nations

O

ur Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has been home to several different yet interdependent aboriginal societies for thousands of years. Tribal groups of the interior include the Chilcotin (chil-ko-teen), whose traditional territory is the high-altitude plateau of the Chilcotin (chil-ko-tin); the St’at’imc (stat-lee-um), from southwest of the Fraser; the Carrier, who occupied the sub-boreal northern parts of the Cariboo Chilcotin; and the Secwepemc (shiHUEP-muh-k), whose historical territory lay east of the Fraser River. On the Pacific Coast, the major First Nations groups were the Nuxalk (nu-halk) of the Bella Coola Valley, the Tsimshian (sim-SHE-an) of the outer coast and the Heiltsuk (helsic) in the coastal area near Bella Bella. Despite the local First Nations’ centurieslong habitation in the region, little of their history has been recorded and yet they have played a major role in the province’s development. From the 1700s through 1800s, native residents were essential to early explorers and European settlers, providing canoes, food, guides, translators and information. Alexander Mackenzie, for example, would never have successfully completed his historic 1793 trek had indigenous peoples not directed him along the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail through the northern Cariboo to the Pacific shores near Bella Coola. This route was used for centuries by coastal natives trading valuable eulachon oil

with the province’s Interior tribes. The oil, from a small, herring-like fish, was transported in cedar boxes and the trail got its name from the oils that were dropped along the route. Fur Trading and Gold In the early 1800s, fur-trading companies built the first forts in the region in order to trade supplies for natural resources with local bands. But even before these trading posts were built, First Nations in the Interior participated in the fur trade by bartering pelts with natives on the Coast – who, in turn, traded them to Europeans arriving by sea. After the forts were established, local First Nations brought their furs directly to the trading posts to bargain for goods and supplies. By the mid-1800s, with the beginning of the gold rush and European settlement in the region, the fur trade era was coming to an end, and relations between the two cultures were greatly altered. The native population was devastated by smallpox epidemics and other European diseases, and would soon lose control of much of their traditional lands. Still, there was surprisingly little bloodshed and the few conflicts that occurred were short-lived. Several Chilcotin communities were eventually named after local chiefs, including Anahim Lake, Alexis Creek and the Nemiah Valley. Local tribes also became involved in early industries, particularly with ranching in the Chilcotin and southern Cariboo, where their

horsemanship and wilderness survival skills were highly prized. Today, many natives continue to work in ranching and are key participants on the local rodeo circuit, including Anahim Lake’s stampede and the Bella Coola, Redstone and Nemiah Valley rodeos.

Highlights • Be awed by the masks of artist Silyas “Art” Saunders, at his gallery in Bella Coola. One of the last remaining Nuxalk speakers, he became the first international artist awarded the prestigious Native Artist Fellowship in 1999. • Tour an active First Nations archaeological site of a 2,000 year old pit house community including cache pits (root cellars used for storing berries, dried fish, and other small food items). Some pit houses were connected by underground tunnels possibly leading to houses of extended family. Visit the Lillooet Visitor Centre for more information. • Cruise the Fraser by Jet Boat through rapids and past bizarre hoodoo rock formations. First Nation guides share traditional knowledge about medicinal plants and local lore, while exploring ancient village sites, pictographs, petroglyphs and abandoned mines.

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Interested in indigenous art? Plan to seek out Bella Coola’s Petroglyph Gallery for works by world-famous Silyas “Art” Saunders and his son Skip. Appointments can be booked at the visitor centre to meet with Art in his workshop at the Silyas Gallery, located just east of town. As well, the local Petroglyph Gallery sells prints, paintings, carvings, clothing and other Nuxalk and First Nations artwork and gifts, and visitors can book workshop visits with renowned up-and-coming local carver and hereditary chief Noel Pootlass.

Eric Berger/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

The Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre at Bella Bella is the place to delve into the research and preservation of the language and culture of the Heiltsuk (hel-sic). They, along with other coastal peoples such as the Kitasoo (kit-ah-soo) and Xai’xais (hay-hace) at the village of Klemtu on Swindle Island, grew rich and powerful on the bounty of the sea. In the Thorsen Creek Valley near Bella Coola, ancient petroglyphs honouring the power and mystery of nature are still visible on rock faces near waterfalls and caves, where guided tours are now offered by the Nuxalk (nu-halk). Though a visit is not usually on tourist itineraries, the Acwsalcta (ex-sals-ta) grade school is a showcase for indigenous arts, including a magnifcent totem pole carved by a teacher and three students. When erected in 2002, it was the first Nuxalk totem pole raised here in 38 years.

First Nations

Today’s First Nations Modern-day aboriginal groups also remain highly involved in the region’s fishing, logging and transportation industries and, more recently, tourism. The aboriginal tourism sector in B.C. is the most developed in Canada and considered to have huge growth potential. One such success is the award-winning Xatśūll (hats-ull) Heritage Village just north of Williams Lake, on grassy benchland above the Fraser River canyon. Members of the Secwepemc (shi-huepmuh-k), or Shuswap, First Nation share storytelling by village elders, cleansing sweat lodge ceremonies, educational wilderness walks, salmon lunches and overnight accommodation under the stars in pit houses and teepees. Call ahead with your reservation to assure a complete Xatśūll experience.

Meanwhile, hikers with a historical bent traverse the ancient NuxalkCarrier Grease Trail, also known as the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail. Three weeks are required to trace the entire route, but various sections can be accessed for shorter jaunts; the scenic 80km/50mi portion across Tweedsmuir Provincial Park reportedly takes less than a week. For more detailed information, refer to the In the Steps of Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail Guidebook, found at popular bookstores and some visitor centres. Some 100km/62mi northwest of Bella Coola, in the wilds of the Great Bear Rainforest, Kitasoo-Xai’xais (kit-ahsoo-hay-hace) First Nation guides lead multi-day boat and kayak tours of this spectacular, remote area complete with lodge accommodations. In a vastly different landscape to the east, near Williams Lake, jet boats travel where roads can’t go; through rapids and past bizarre hoodoo rock formations as aboriginal guides share ancient knowledge about medicinal plants, flora and fauna and local lore during explorations of ancient village sites, pictographs and petroglyphs 8,000 - 10,000 years old, traditional fishing spots and abandoned mining sites. Catch the Nemiah Pow Wow, held annually the last weekend of July, to enjoy a

colorful display of regalia and dancing. Join the Xeni Gwet’in (honey ko-teen) at the annual summer elders gathering, where elders and youth come together to teach and learn traditional games, stories, hunting and gathering, and all are welcome. In the Chilcotin, the Nazko lands are known for the work of celebrated Carrier First Nation artists (particularly with leather and beadwork, watercolours, wood art, stained glass and cross-stitch). In the south, no fewer than 11 different communities make up the St’at’imc Nation (stat-lee-um), whose traditional territories were located in and around the ancient gathering place now known as Lillooet. Here, Xwisten (hoysh-ten) guides offer award-winning experiential  

1-800-663-5885

   

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Julie Rosendo

tours that include guided walks along the banks of Fraser to view “fishing rocks” and their traditional wind-dried method of preserving salmon still practiced. Also ask your guide to explore the extensive archaeological site’s 80 pit houses, dating back thousands of years. The neighbouring Cayoose Creek Band offers interpretive walks of the beautifully restored Lower Seton spawning channel, while just five minutes from downtown, Lillooet is the site of a traditional s7istken (shesh-ken), or pit house, built by the T’it’q’et (teet-qwet). Built

Going to a Pow Wow? Attending a Pow Wow is an opportunity to share a unique and memorable First Nations experience. Watch for highway signboards and local event postings during your next visit, for upcoming opportunities. These inclusive events are welcoming of all! The positive energy of a Pow Wow rejuvenates and inspires. When attending, please be respectful of this time-honoured spiritual celebration and experience its First Nation traditions with an open heart and mind. Tips • Listen to the host and follow instructions. • Stand and remove head coverings during the grand entry, flag ceremonies, invocation and closing ceremonies. • Request permission before taking photographs. • Do not make recordings of drumming without the consent of the head singer. • Refer to the dancers’ clothing as regalia; it is not a costume. • Refrain from touching the dancers’ regalia. • Do not turn down an invitation to participate, particularly an invitation from an elder. • No alcohol or drugs are permitted.

Michael McCarthy

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from earth and timber, such structures may house up to 20 people and featured two entrances: one on ground level, one in the roof (which also released smoke from cooking fires). Also not to be missed is the Seton Lake Band’s Kaoham Shuttle: a travelling window into the past and a convenient way to view local wildlife. The train is available on Friday, with a scheduled double run, skirting the shores of Seton Lake past numerous historical sites, including a First Nations cemetery balanced precariously between the tracks and crystalline shores of the lake. ◆

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


the stamp mill:

because gold

is the ultimate

heavy metal.

Barkerville: 150+ years of pounding hard roCk. Come visit us may - september, 2013 1-888-994-3332 • www.barkerville.ca

A N AT I O N A L h I sTO r I c s I T E O f c A N A dA 1-800-663-5885

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Tourism BC/Tom Ryan

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Barkerville Historic Town/Thomas Drasdauskis


Norm Dove/Echo Valley Ranch

Cariboo Gold Rush

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he look and feel of British Columbia’s personality would probably be much different today if it were not for the lure of Gold! The magnificence of the Interior was revealed to the world when on August 17, 1862, prospector Billy Barker found a major gold deposit at Williams Creek in the northern Cariboo. Gold fever spread like an epidemic when news of the strike filtered out bringing excited hordes of fortune seekers from around the world into this remote wilderness. The wood-planked town of Barkerville sprang up near the creek, joining Richfield and Camerontown, where mining crews toiled round the clock to haul golden ore from the earth. By 1865, a wagon road connected the south with the goldfields, and Barkerville’s population had reached 10,000, one of the largest settlements in western Canada, and at the time, the largest community west of Chicago and north of San Francisco! Many of the region’s early miners were Chinese immigrants, who worked white prospectors’ abandoned mines and tailings by washing sand and gravel from rocks that were then neatly piled on the Fraser River’s shores. These “Chinese rocks” are still visible today. By the mid-1860s, thousands of Chinese lived in Barkerville and several other gold rush towns, including Stanley, Van Winkle, Quesnel, Antler, Quesnelle Forks and Lillooet, where Chinese min-

ers took millions out of Cayoosh Creek. Mining was not these immigrants’ only labour; they also operated stores, laundries, lodging houses and worked as cooks. Though only a handful of prospectors struck it rich, the Gold Rush completely changed the face of B.C. Roads and bridges were built, stores and mills opened and ranches founded. In the Chilcotin Mountains, another gold rush followed in the 1930s and the Bralorne-Pioneer Mine near Gold Bridge became the richest gold claim in Canada. Bralorne, and other mines sites in the region, can still be visited today. The historic “Gold Rush Trail” has many places along its route to stop, explore, and to get a feel of what it was like back then as you retrace the steps of the oxen carts and stagecoaches. Many of today’s communities along this route have historical connections to the gold rush era. Some began as roadhouses where stagecoaches stopped, travellers could overnight and horses would feed and drink. One of the era’s last surviving Barnard Express stagecoaches is displayed outside 100 Mile House’s Red Coach Inn. Clinton, with several events planned around its 150th Anniversary in 2013, houses its lovely museum in a colorful red brick building which once served as a schoolhouse and then later as a courthouse. At the 108 Mile Ranch Historic Site, pioneer buildings include a 1908 log barn which was built to house a herd of 200 Clydesdale horses.

In the northern Cariboo, the former gold rush supply centre of Quesnel hosts Billy Barker Days, a four-day festival in mid-July commemorating the region’s most famous gold seeker. At the Gold Rush Trail’s end is the restored heritage town of Barkerville, now recognized as a Canadian National Heritage Site, where guided tours bring the lore of the gold rush to life. Period interpreters roam the streets dressed as historical characters; Judge Matthew Begbie (known in his time as the “hanging judge”) hands out frontier justice; visitors pan for gold. Roar at the antics in the Theatre Royal’s live musicals. In 2012, Barkerville was proud to be one of several filming locations in the region for the German feature film “Gold”, to be released in 2013. ♦

Highlights • Explore Barkerville’s Lee Chong Company Store & Chinese Museum, housing a collection of artifacts illustrating the important role of the Chinese in the development of BC.

• Gold prices are still rising in world

markets. Panning streams and rivers in this great region could make for a most “precious” vacation! Pick up a copy of the Guidelines and Regulations for Recreational Gold Panning in B.C. at one of the Cariboo’s visitor centres.

1-800-663-5885

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

CCCTA/Jesse Madden

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Rocky Mountaineer

Amy Thacker

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives


Rocky Mountaineer

Cowboys & Railroads

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owboys are much more complex than the typical riding and roping versions you see in film and TV. B.C.’s cowboys are said to combine a Mexican vaquero’s skills, equipment and clothes; a U.S. frontiersman’s grit and resourcefulness; a First Nations’ respect for nature; and a British gentry’s sense of manners, law and order - all topped off with a cowboys’ unique brand of humour. The description may sound more like that of a mythical figure than real-life flesh and blood, but there is no doubt that the cowboy, as a romantic icon, is deeply entangled in the local history and culture. When the first white settlers spread across the region in the 1860s, cowboys worked as “drovers,” driving herds of cattle north from the U.S. to supply hungry miners in the goldfields around Barkerville. Some of these hardy souls quickly realized it made more sense to raise cattle closer to market and stayed on to establish great, sprawling ranches on the grassy rangelands near the Fraser River. More than one third of B.C.’s beef cattle are raised in the area today. Many might be surprised to learn that virtually all of the drovers and cowboys in these frontier days were First Nation, many of whom were related to Caucasian ranchers through marriage. The natives were superb horsemen and knew the territory better than any outsider. Because at the time both

ranchers and natives spoke Chinook, the trade language perfected during fur-trade times, communication was not an issue. In B.C. more than any other ranching area in North America, natives were treated as equals and key partners in the cattle industry. Today, the same holds true, especially in the Chilcotin.

showcased at festivals organized by B.C.’s Cowboy Heritage Society. The rich cowboy heritage and lifestyle is also celebrated in several books, including those of local cowboy Rich Hobson, whose accounts of his early ranching days inspired the CBC-TV series Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy.

Though ranchers struggled in the years after the gold rush, the industry was reborn when railway tracks were laid in 1919. Owners of Cariboo and Chilcotin ranches now had easier access to more heavily populated southern markets and were encouraged to enlarge their herds. Communities such as Williams Lake, then a sleepy backwater, suddenly boomed when the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (now CN Rail) established a local station. Seemingly overnight the town became a central shipping point with stockyards that could hold up to 2,400 head of cattle at a time. Williams Lake remained the end of the line until the railway pushed north to Quesnel in 1921 and Prince George in 1952.

As for what is thought to be the first formal rodeo in B.C., it was an impromptu event staged in Williams Lake by local cowboys showcasing their horsemanship to celebrate the construction of the railroad in 1919. Today, the Williams Lake Stampede is the cornerstone of the region’s thriving rodeo and festival circuit, attracting thousands of visitors to watch professional competitors from Canada, the U.S.A., and as far away as Australia. ♦

Today, ranching still thrives in the Cariboo Chilcotin, but it’s a tough business and the cowboys who work these ranches, like their frontier descendants, are a hardy breed wearing a mantle of freedom and independence barely diminished over time. That aura of romance has only grown in recent years with the increasing popularity of cowboy poetry and music, art forms

Highlights • All Aboard! Enjoy breathtaking scenery on the Rainforest to Gold Rush route. Travel the rails between Whistler and Jasper, with an overnight in Quesnel, on the Rocky Mountaineer enjoying stunning views of coastal rainforests, desert landscapes, ranchlands, and impressive Mount Robson. • Visit the “BC Cowboy Hall of Fame” at Williams Lakes’ Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin.

1-800-663-5885

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Pioneer Log Homes

geoffmoore.ca

geoffmoore.ca

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Amy Thacker


Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

Forestry & Mining

T

he local commercial logging industry began in earnest in the Cariboo, in the 1860s, with sawmills needed to produce lumber for gold-rush boomtowns. On the coast, however, one could argue that forestry has been around much longer, for this is where B.C.’s First Nations developed a system for peeling planks from giant, still-standing cedar trees to construct their “longhouses.” Examples of these “culturally modified trees” can be seen around Klemtu and Bella Coola. Today, our resource extraction companies are leaders in innovation and the implementation of sustainable, environmentally responsible practices. So where do movie stars, politicians, and Internet moguls go for log homes built to their personal taste? The same place Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics medal podiums were built - the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Value added industries like the successful log home building industry create employment and a stable economy. Their innovative homes are in demand on every continent. Products from the many log home building companies in the region, such as Pioneer Log Homes (featured on TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and also on HGTV), dot the globe. In fact, the world’s largest “complete log structure building” (at $28 million and 114,000sq.ft), is now showcased in Colorado, owned by a publishing and Internet multi-millionaire.

Today, abundant high-grade spruce, pine and fir products make the region one of the largest lumber-producing areas in Canada, and though the recent infestation of the mountain pine beetle has had a significant impact, imaginative ways have been developed to use the resulting “blue, or denim pine.” When it comes to sustainable forestry practices, the region boasts the largest biomass power plant in North America. Each year the Williams Lake Power Plant consumes more than 544,310 tonnes of wood waste from local sawmills, generating 67 megawatts of electricity. With the discovery of gold in the Cariboo in the mid-1800s, it was mining that started the rush to the region. Modern-day prospectors still live the dream panning for nuggets in creeks and streams throughout the region. Gold Bridge, near Lillooet, is a favourite with the amateur pan-and-swish crowd. Numerous regional museums also offer fascinating ways to relive the storied past of both local mining and forestry, with excellent archives illustrating the pioneering spirit of those early days. Some of the world’s largest open-pit operations are found here, including Taseko’s Gibraltar copper mine near McLeese Lake, the second largest in Canada. The Mount Polly gold mine near Likely has an estimated one million ounces of gold to be extracted, albeit

with methods more sophisticated than Billy Barker’s 150 years ago. Recently, more gold has been unearthed in the Chilcotin Mountains’ Camelsfoot Range, and gold placer-mining claims are located along the Fraser River and throughout much of the Cariboo Chilcotin. Throughout the region, visitors can also tour working mines and forestry operations. Check with local chambers of commerce and visitor centres for updated lists of what will be open and when. Avid rock hounds in search of jade, and other semi-precious stones, are attracted to the South Cariboo and specifically Lillooet, home to B.C.’s first jade mines. And for a touch of what gold panning was like during the gold rush, try your luck near Barkerville where gold panning adventure tours are popular. ♦

Highlights • Catch a horse-logging demo near Tyaughton Lake; a fun opportunity to learn how to bridle and handle a massive draft horse, while seeing what they can do in a working environment. • Hike historic mining trails and forest service roads around Likely, where the old Bullion Pit Mine is today an astonishing man-made 3km long and 120 metre deep canyon.

1-800-663-5885

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Thomas Drasdauskis

Social networking, unplugged.

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Bowron Lake Provincial Park Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


1-800-663-5885

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Highlights • The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region boasts a diverse musical roster; Quesnel’s Where the Rivers Meet Country Bluegrass Jamboree (showcasing the likes of local legends Lonespur and Let ‘er Rip), 108 Mile’s South Cariboo Square Dance Jamboree, and Bella Coola’s Discovery Coast Music Festival which is an immensely popular family event that is back dropped by stunning valley scenery.

Brad McGuire

Gordon Baron

Richard Wright

Brad McGuire

• Jason and Pharis Romero are not only married, they also work well together. They developed J. Romero Banjos, a small company in Horsefly, BC where they personally build and design custom banjos for the world market. Jason is the builder and craftsman, while Pharis works on the inlay and graphic design of these beautifully crafted instruments.

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Gordon Baron

Arts & Culture

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ichmond P. Hobson, in his classic book Grass Beyond the Mountains, writes “It is a land of striking contrasts…a land that drew me like a magnet into its soul.” It is no wonder, then, that the culture of this vast region is reflected in our art. First Nations have been singing, drumming, and dancing around campfires for thousands of years. In the visual arts, Emily Carr roamed the region by cowpony in 1909 and was inspired to paint its landscape vistas. She wrote, “I can never love the Cariboo enough for all she gave me.” The Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson was equally infatuated, touring in 1914 and returning in the 1940s to produce works now displayed in galleries worldwide. Today, B.C. artist, Mark Hobson, paints in stunning central coast locations like Calvert Island, to raise awareness about keeping our coastline pristine for generations to come. He and over fifty of Canada’s celebrated artists have published a book entitled Canada’s Raincoast at Risk: Art for an Oil-Free Coast. You’ll want to experience many of the region’s galleries, such as Creekside Studio Gallery in Hagensborg, showcasing modern works alongside culturally inspired creations by coastal First Nations artists. Sometimes art galleries themselves are the display. Williams Lakes’ Station House Gallery is a restored 1920s railway station showcasing pottery and weaving, among other visual arts. The

Cariboo Arts Centre now houses several artisan groups in a decommissioned fire hall. Williams Lake also hosts its annual Artwalk, each August to September. Wells is a renowned artist retreat with galleries set amid heritage buildings and has a celebrated art school where vacationers can enroll in folk-art and music classes. The Sunset Theatre offers an array of professional theatre, music, film and retreats and itself has a remarkable story. Built originally in 1934, the Sunset Theatre showed movies, held town hall meetings and dances, and was once used as a morgue during the 1950s. The current owners are restoring the theatre to its original glory. There are workshops with nationally recognized artists at Quesnel’s ARTrium, and in Wells during the popular

Artswells Festival of All Things Art in late July. Barkerville’s Theatre Royal features costumed interpreters so convincing one might have stepped into the 1870s. Near Quesnel, the talented Kersley Players produce locally written plays, while Williams Lake’s Studio Theatre Society has staged four-production seasons for the past 57 years! Horsefly’s Arts on the Fly presents music, dance, food and fun in equal measure, while Clinton’s War is a weeklong costume pageant dedicated to re-creating the Middle Ages “as they ought to have been.” The Cariboo is also home to “Camel” Dave Howell, who performs at festivals throughout the West - as does Frank Gleeson, the “Fastest Cowboy Poet of the West” and official cowboy poet of Williams Lake. Cowboy music events are held year-round. ♦ Sunset Theatre in Historic Wells BC

Visit us year round for Live Theatre, Music, Artist Retreats and Rentals. Where People come to Play! www.sunset-theatre.com | 250-994-3400

1-800-663-5885

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

geoffmoore.ca

Albert Normandin

Quesnel & District Museum & Archives

CCCTA/Steve Harkies

CCCTA/Jesse Madden


Gordon Baron

Ranches & Rodeos

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his certainly is a ‘land without limits’ if you aim to satisfy your childhood fantasies of living the life of a cowboy or cowgirl. From Cache Creek in the south, to north of Quesnel, and west into the Chilcotin wilderness, you’ll find an adventure-land of rodeos, rustic guest ranches and resort-style luxury. We have ranches and lodges ready to help you practice cowboy life in whatever fashion you choose. Bunk down in an old-fashioned log cabin, or listen to cowboy tales around a roaring campfire. Relax with a massage after a long day’s ride, or visit a rodeo and marvel at the skills and courage of both riders and animals. Or take your sweetheart glamping for a distinctive ranch escape. The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is home to the province’s highest concentration of guest ranches. Some have gourmet restaurants, swimming pools, hot tubs, glamping accommodations and full service spas; while others provide rustic Canadian experiences. Gratify your inner cowboy by riding the TchaikazanYohetta Valley Loop or the Chilcotin’s Potato Range, camping at a secluded trailside lake to reel in a fat trout for the supper fry pan. Take a 14-day expedition into the mountains of the Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park, where an archaeological site of particular importance to the Carrier people, has been identified near one

of the obsidian quarries. Guide herds from winter feedlots to summer pasture in spring, or back again in the fall. Aspiring cowhands bunk at genuine working ranches, riding and roping, branding and herding. Horse enthusiasts won’t want to miss a ‘horse whispering’ session, where you have the opportunity to learn how to speak your horse’s language and create the ultimate bond between man and animal.

howl of a distant coyote and the aroma of coffee, beans and bacon crisping over an open flame. April through September, the amateur rodeo circuit focuses on the art, grace

“The first time, it’s a vacation. After that, it’s coming home.”

No matter your dream, ranch hands here are experts at matching horses to riders of all abilities; from family friendly, low-impact trail rides through aspen and Jack pine forests to multi-hour saddle treks to hoodoo pinnacles with vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s the stuff cowboy dreams are made of – poetry, guitars and singing around the fire, sleeping under the stars in a snug bedroll, waking at dawn to the

Just 4 hours north of Vancouver 1-800-553-3533 www.sundanceguestranch.com saddleup@sundanceguestranch.com 1-800-663-5885

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Highlights • Dust off the cowboy hat and boots and kick back at one of several rodeos held throughout this great region. Enjoy all the standard rodeo events, as well as unique events such as the Grand Finale Bullarama at the Bella Coola Rodeo, Wild Cow Milking at the Williams Lake Stampede, or the awesome Mountain Race at the Nemiah Valley Rodeo. • Experience working-ranch life on a Cowgirl or Cowboy Getaway vacation. Action packed multiday getaways are offered by several Chilcotin operators. Learn to rope, pack a horse, herd cattle and then be ready for the camp cook-offs! • Trail ride through alpine meadows near Anahim Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park’s remote Rainbow Range, or go with with an experienced guide on a pack trip through this incredibly beautiful mountain paradise.

geoffmoore.ca

• Search for wild horses genetically linked to the wild mustangs of Spain. Home base: the Elegesi Qiyus (ah-legacy cayuse) Wild Horse Preserve in the Brittany Triangle, a 155,000-hectare eco-system of lodgepole-pine forest with a multitude of lakes and streams in the remote Chilcotin.

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Robert Semeniuk

Ranches & Rodeos

and all-around toughness of cowhands. July’s Williams Lake Stampede is a sanctioned pro-rodeo showcase event which draws contestants and spectators alike from around the world. Featured events include bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing. BC Rodeo Association events are held throughout British Columbia, with several rodeos staged in this region including Bella Coola, Anahim Lake, Redstone, Nemiah, 100 Mile House, Interlakes, Williams Lake, Clinton, Ashcroft and Quesnel, the latter complemented by the city’s Billy Barker Days, when townsfolk parade about in their finest 1860s garb amidst many festivities. Each rodeo offers a unique local flavor. Bella Coola’s feature attraction tempts you to try your luck at cow pattie bingo. Anahim Lake and Redstone are true First Nations rodeo events. The remote Nemiah Valley August rodeo marquee attraction is its Mountain Race, a breakneck dash down a mountain on horseback to the rodeo grounds. Williams Lake kicks off the season with the indoor rodeo in April and Clinton’s May extravaganza also features a Western Heritage Week, with cowboy poetry readings and western musical performances. Quesnel hosts the year-end BC Rodeo Association Finals event, held annually in September. Meanwhile, children are the stars of the Little Britches Rodeo in 100 Mile House in May (featuring mutton busting, goat tying and dummy roping). It isn’t often that the fun ends when the sun goes down, either. Rodeo dances are common throughout the whole region, featuring traditional western music and those famous cowboy manners. ♦ 1-800-663-5885

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

Steve Ogle

Chris Harris/All Canada Photos

Albert Normandin

John Wellburn

photo John Wellburn riders Jack Fitzel, Justin Calof, Steve Law

geoffmoore.ca


Thomas Drasdauskis

Biking & Hiking

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as Vegas was the site of the 2012 World Premiere of “Where the Trail Ends”, an epic mountain biking movie set amidst the stunning scenery of China’s Gobi Desert, Argentina, Utah, Nepal and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast featuring the cliffs and canyon walls of the Fraser and Chilcotin River’s. It stars several of the world’s top big mountain free-ride bikers including Cam Zink and local Williams Lake prodigy, James Doerfling. This region is considered the mountain biking capital of Canada, with unlimited riding for leisure bikers and adventure seeking free-riders. The spectacular terrain and trail systems here offer distinct riding experiences with hoodoos, river valleys, rugged canyons, logging roads, steeps, ramps, and single-track ridges. Spend a summer here without setting a wheel in the same place twice. The Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium is taking the lead promoting the riding in and around Quesnel, Wells, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. Visit our mountain biking websites for specific trail information (see page 110). Quesnel biking buffs call the local “Pins” route a “flowy” ride, with spectacular views of Baker Creek and the hoodoos littering the valley floor. Quesnel’s Adventure Skills Bike Park has a freestyle section, pump track, kid’s area and features to challenge beginner, novice, experienced and highly skilled riders.

The Wells-Barkerville area offers some of the most incredible trails in B.C., loaded with Gold Rush Trail history. From gentle boardwalk trails through quiet wetlands to day-long epic mountain expeditions in stunning alpine terrain, this trail network has it all, including some awesome new trail development. In biking circles, Williams Lake is referred to as North America’s “ShangriLa of mountain biking”. The 200-plus tracks around Williams Lake provide the choice of tackling technical loops, or hours exploring the many easy riding trails. Downtown, the Boitanio Bike Park covers over 4hec/10ac, and is the largest of its kind in B.C.’s Interior, with 6 major jump lines, pump track, drop zone, flow trails and log work. The Central Coast’s Snooka Trail System sports leisurely riding through second growth rainforest, with spectacular alpine views the reward for reaching the network’s Purgatory Lookout. A series of trails between Bella Coola and Hagensborg provide various levels of difficulty and scenery. The East Loop Trail is an easy grade circle route of 5.5km/3mi with only a 50m/164ft elevation gain, while the West Trail is more challenging with an elevation gain of 500m/1640ft on its over 3.8km/2.4mi one-way trek. The trails also connect you to other wilderness routes that lead deeper into the temperate backcountry of the Bella Coola Valley.

Highlights • Plan a waterfall hiking tour in the South Cariboo, where several beautiful waterfalls can be accessed via relatively easy trails. Visit the 100 Mile House Visitor Centre for more details. • Ice Climbers come from far and wide for awesome climbing experiences in Marble Canyon, with easy access, just north of Lillooet and west of Cache Creek. • Bike or Hike: get dropped off by float plane on Warner Lake for 40km of rolling downhill singletrack to Tyaughton Lake. Total elevation drop is a whopping 1,200 metres! • Race for fun – or charity – with September’s Tour de Cariboo, a stamina-testing pedal from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake; May’s Barkerville Rush Relay; June’s Pedal by the Puddle in Williams Lake, and September’s legendary 7 Summits Hike & Bike Challenge in Wells. • Hiking and walking tours on the Bella Coola trail network are a great way to exercise while enjoying the magnificent beauty of the coastal rainforest.

1-800-663-5885

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Danielle Hayes/ATBC

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Chilcotin River Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


photo John Wellburn riders Justin Calof, Steve Law

Biking & Hiking

Spruce Lake in the South Chilcotin has epic grassland riding through alpine and sub-alpine meadows, skirting freshwater lakes. The classic 26km/16mi single-track Gun Creek Route from the Tyax area gains elevation through a conifer forest mixed with aspen and cottonwood. Also popular are the South Tyaughton Lake’s 28km/17mi Taylor-Pearson loop; and the 44km/27mi, High Trail Loop into wide-open Windy Pass. Adventurous backcountry mountain-bikers can opt for float plane and helicopter entries or packhorse-assisted and guided tours. The 100 Mile House area has hundreds of kilometres of marked and unmarked backcountry trails criss-crossing the plateau. Trails are accessible around the 108 Mile Ranch, and from downtown 100 Mile House. The trails from Centennial Park take you up an old ski hill and with plenty of old roads and tracks in the area you have easy access onto the trails in the nearby hills. On the 99 Mile trails south of town, choose to stay on the trails, or venture off onto single track for more fun riding. Hikers and walkers rejoice here! The Mount Agnes Trail network near Barkerville follows the original “Cariboo Wagon Trail” to wildflower-strewn alpine meadows below Summit Rock. Amateur geologists use their topographic quadrangle maps (topos) in the Marble Range near Clinton, an area notable for limestone karsts, wooded groves and alpine ridges. History buffs with a high fitness level can stroll the historic 420km/261mi Nuxalk-Carrier Grease/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, with a suggested hiking time of 25-30 days. The Cariboo’s 11.3km/7mi Sepa Lakes Trail near 108 Mile Ranch meanders past bays and lagoons filled with waterfowl.

Canim Lake offers three majestic and photogenic waterfalls. Williams Lakes’ family-friendly hikes and walks are explored along the popular River Valley Trail, while the same is true about the Quesnel Riverfront Trail. Whale Lake boasts good fishing at the end of a 4km/2.5mi hiking trail and in the Chilcotin the 12km/7.5mi Tchaikazan-Yohetta Trail connects the Tchaikazan and Yohetta valleys via Spectrum Pass and picture perfect Dorothy Lake. Urban area climbers are now discovering the untrammelled local mountaineering scene. Three hot spots include Williams Lake, where the Esler Bluffs alone boast 44 routes. Hunlen Falls is generating enormous excitement with the rope-and-rack set heart-pumping routes, bouldering, single-pitch climbs ranging in difficulty from “no sweat” (5.6) to “sweat and nothing but” (5.11+). Bella Coola boasts such multi-pitch soon-to-be-classics as the nine-pitch Airport Wall (5.9-10+). Popular heli-assisted hikes and climbs can be arranged by many operators. Mountaineers come from around the world to tackle the 3,000m/9,842ft-plus peaks of the Coast Range, including 4,016m/13,176ft Mount Waddington, B.C.’s highest. Those who enjoy a little ice with their climb find frozen falls at Marble Canyon Provincial Park, 40km/25mi northwest of Cache Creek, where popular routes include Car Wrecker Gully, The Diehedral and spectacular five-pitch Tokkum Pole. Lillooet’s variety of scenic hiking trails suit all fitness levels many of which have historic significance along the banks of the Fraser River, where in the mid-1800s Chinese miners processed millions of dollars in gold. Those with more challenging ambitions should try ice climbing along the nearby D’Arcy-Anderson Lake Road that stretches 33km/21mi along the west side of Anderson Lake from Seton Portage. ♦ 1-800-663-5885

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Thomas Drasdauskis

Come on... take a free ride.

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Cariboo Mountains Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


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Highlights

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• Book your fly-in or horse-pack hunting trip! The Cariboo and Chilcotin are known for healthy populations of mule deer, moose and bear. Whatever your needs skilled and experienced outfitters provide a host of backcountry options to suit. • Trout fishing is amazing April through September across this vast region, while autumn’s spectacular sockeye migration in streams and rivers is a sight to behold. Plan a visit to one of our regions’ hatcheries.

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• Fish for all species of salmon, huge halibut, giant prawns and more on the Central Coast, considered by seasoned anglers as the best saltwater fishing anywhere. World class lodges offer an abundance of fish in un-crowded waters – the experience of a lifetime!

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• Hunting, fishing, target shooting and shed hunting are integral aspects of local culture. As far back as can be remembered families have hunted and gathered to provide sustainence and create beautiful art pieces. Make 2013 your year to visit!

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


geoffmoore.ca

Fishing & Hunting

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t’s no surprise that this limitless land of big water, big mountains and big grasslands produces big game and big fish. Fishing and hunting are more than casual experiences here. It’s a way of life, part of our culture and something that many enjoy sharing with others. Imagine fishing an Interior lake or at a new spot along the central coast every day for the rest of your life. Or, during hunting seasons, trekking into the wilderness with the aid of experienced guides to harvest California bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mule deer, moose, black bear, cougar, lynx, bobcat, wolf or coyote. In the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast sound fishing and hunting practices are designed to produce results for hunters and fishers alike. This is a place where certified guides and outfitters are as knowledgeable about wildlife habitats and conservation as they are about big-game tracking and bear-attack prevention. Some local guides might even be First Nations, who have an intimate relationship with the landscape and its wildlife. Wilderness skills and knowledge of local species and habitat are based on an understanding of the complexities of the natural world and represent a special opportunity for visitors to experience the region and its wildlife in new and profound ways. To maximize both hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities in the Cariboo

Chilcotin Coast, visitors often access the services of the region’s experienced, highly knowledgeable guides and outfitters, who subscribe to the highest environmental and wildlife conservation standards. Throughout the region, services and accommodations range from full-service, luxury four-season lodges with all the amenities to roughand-ready backcountry camps catering to outdoor adventurers yearning for a genuine B.C. wilderness hunting and fishing experience. Big Fish Fishing is not just a pastime here, it’s a passion. The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast boasts more than 8,000 lakes and 17,000km/10,563mi of rivers and streams famous for rod-bending rainbow trout, cunning cutthroat and steel-hearted steelhead. The nutrient rich waters of the rugged Pacific coast yield succulent salmon, enormous halibut and buckets of fresh-and-lively Dungeness crab. While staying at a remote resort, a boutique property or a luxury offshore ocean floating camp, travelers can be a few minutes away from exceptional waters; whether in the company of experienced guides or on a self-guided adventure. The Cariboo’s unlimited expanse of glacier-fed rivers and lakes includes a stretch of “road” from Little Fort (at the eastern border of the Cariboo on the Yellowhead Hwy. 5) to 93 Mile House

at the western terminus of Hwy. 24, a “road” enthusiastically referred to in angling circles as “The Fishing Highway”. Spring-fed Sheridan Lake is stocked annually and is famous for its supersized rainbow trout up to 9kg/20lb.

Rejuvenate and recharge in BC’s finest wilderness

250-243-2433 rainbow@elysiaresort.com

www.elysiaresort.com www.fishrainbowwaters.com

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geoffmoore.ca

Almost next door is Bridge Lake, with numerous bays and islands and crystal-clear waters teeming with rainbow and lake trout (char), kokanee and burbot. With 100-plus lakes typically within an hour’s drive of one another, this really is a fishers’ paradise. Fly fishing enthusiasts, meanwhile, congregate on the Horsefly River, nursery for three-quarters of the rainbow trout found in nearby Quesnel Lake. In the fall its waters nearly boil with millions of sockeye and chinook salmon en route to their spawning grounds. Near Quesnel, cattails and bulrushes line the banks of jewel-like Dragon Lake, filled with trophy trout. In the Chilcotin, Charlotte Lake (at the foothills of the Coast Mountains) is renowned for its trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fly fishing is king at nearby Nimpo Lake, charter air services here offer many fly-in options to neighbouring lodges and fishing camps. Then there’s the legendary Blackwater River, renowned for its gentle, canoe-friendly grade and numerous insect hatches feeding prolific populations of trout, whitefish and squawfish. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden churn up the cerulean-blue waters of the Chilko River where it leads into massive Chilko Lake, as pretty as it is productive. Locals know to concentrate on the creek mouths where trout gather for their evening meal - and sometimes become one. Puntzi Lake is also a popular, easily accessible lake that provides fishing for the whole family. 92

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The Coast region is also crisscrossed by lakes and streams, though it is the salt waters that bring travellers and nature lovers to this ecologically diverse part of the world. Here, the salmon rules, and numerous lodges and camps, from budget to luxury high-end, cater to an international clientele of fly-in customers dreaming of “the big one.” These fishing expeditions often begin in the town of Bella Coola, and venture out to the many inlets and islands. BC Ferries and Pacific Coastal Airlines services make the central coast highly accessible to all. Though it may look like an obscure stretch of shoreline on a map of B.C., the Coast region boasts names that fishing enthusiasts from around the world speak of with reverence. One such icon is Hakai Pass, where millions of salmon make first landfall after battling northern Pacific currents in search of their natal streams. Along the way, these salmon pass some of the most famous fishing holes on the coast; including Odlum Point, the Gap and Barney Point, where gentle back eddies provide rest and feeding areas for salmon. This provides outstanding fishing opportunities for anglers and orcas alike. Steelhead hunters – “fishing” is too tame a word to describe the landing of these pugnacious sea-run trout – are equally well rewarded by a pilgrimage to the Dean River, better known as “steelhead central.” Some outfitters on the river provide a base camp for exciting expeditions on the Dean, known to be gloriously full of fish and mercifully free of bugs.


Hunters join outfitters with exclusive guide territories where they can choose

Beat Steiner/Bella Coola Heli Sports

Catering to abilities of every level, outfitters offer a wide range of accommodations and limited group sizes. Passion for wildlife conservation and a connection to the land is a strong cultural thread woven throughout this region. Many family operations are multi-generational, providing rare insights on much more than wildlife – pioneers, history, ranching, culture, cuisine and more. Hearty meals cooked in camp kitchens or over the open fire offer warm comfort at days’ end.

Fishing & Hunting

Big Game There is no shortage of wildlife and hunting experiences in this land without limits. Plentiful populations of Cervidae (mule deer, whitetail deer, caribou and moose), Ursidae (bears), Canidae (wolves and coyote) and Felidae (cougars, bobcats and lynx) attract avid outdoorsmen throughout the seasons. Outfitters in the region provide varieties of hunting excursions depending on the game species, terrain and season.

their own method of travel - ATV, horseback, 4x4, riverboat, old-fashioned “foot” and can even snowmobile in the Blackwater River region. Find regional information by visiting B.C.’s guide outfitter websites (see page 110).

So choose a season that best suits your hunting or fishing style. No matter your choice, we offer the landscape, wildlife and expertise that will make your ultimate fishing and hunting experiences unforgettable. ◆

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Karl-Hans Kern

CCCTA/Steve Harkies

geoffmoore.ca

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

Gordon Baron

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Quesnel & District Museum & Archives


Pierre Bouchard

Touring & Camping

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hether your plans are to travel in a luxurious RV with the comforts of home, or to feel the ground under you tenting in beautifully remote backcountry locations, this area delivers plenty to see and do. Truly, the best way to experience each of the three distinct sub-regions; Cariboo, Chilcotin and Coast, is a camping or RV trip along a driving route where possibilities are ripe for exploration. Two of B.C.’s popular Circle Routes intersect in this stunning region (see page 61). Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, situated in the Coast Mountains, is the heart of Nuxalk and Carrier First Nations territory. The park is vast, and boasts four distinct vegetation zones, two vehicle access sites and wilderness camping. The Central Coast’s, 15,000km/9,320mi of pristine coastline features tranquil marine parks. For instance, Codville Lagoon on King Island in Fitz Hugh Sound (80km/50mi west of Bella Coola) is a Heiltsuk heritage site with a white, sandy beach perfect for tenting. At Hagensborg in the Bella Coola Valley, the spectacular mountains will captivate you. One imaginative operator makes exploring easy for all ages by maintaining a nature conservancy trail for RV guests. In the Chilcotin, on the banks of the glacier-blue Chilcotin River, Bull Canyon offers shallow caves to explore just off the Chilcotin River Interpretive Trail. Ts’yl-os Provincial Park is a postcardlike world of mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows and waterfalls, where magnif-

icent Chilko Lake features two lakeside campgrounds. Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake have established reputations as terrific fishing lakes stuffed with rainbow trout. RV parks and fishing lodges also coordinate very popular guided flight-seeing tours to Hunlen Falls, the Monarch Icefields, the Rainbow Mountains and other spectacular sites. The Puntzi Lake area also offers camping; set up at a popular forestry campsite, or mingle with anglers at a fishing resorts’ RV campsite or cabin. Excellent camping is found at the Cariboo’s iconic Green Lake, 16km/10mi northeast of 70 Mile House off Hwy. 97, where clear, warm summer waters provide great swimming and watersports. Lac la Hache offers provincial and private campgrounds with lake access right beside Hwy. 97. Seeking peace and quiet? Hideaway resorts and RV parks on isolated lakes include Hathaway Lake near Lone Butte and Horsefly and Quesnel Lakes east of Williams Lake. Approximately 65 private and public campgrounds and RV parks in unique settings include a few near Barkerville too, with easy access to the gold rush town. Dramatic Cariboo Mountain views are found at Bowron Lake sites, where canoe and kayak rentals provide access to the Cariboo Falls. Prefer more unique access? Outfitters lead horseback-camping expeditions, and float plane service is available for fly-in backcountry adventures. Geocaching is a great way to uncover hidden gems while touring. This type of treasure-hunt is played worldwide by

adventurers with GPS devices. Locate hidden containers, called geocaches then share the experience online. One cache in the region contains updated “trade items” such as: a sewing kit and fishing lure, all cleverly hidden on the Chilcotin plateau where rare white pelicans gather. Another contains only a metal cylinder with logbook and pencil hidden at Clayton Falls near Bella Coola. In Likely a recent “cacher” stashed “treasures fit for a kid” in the same place that fur trappers gathered and where historic mining machinery is displayed. Perhaps the most abundant and creative geocaches of Gold Country’s GeoTourism program can be found in Lillooet and the South Cariboo. Also, a new Freedom Highway series of caches is ready to be found in the West Chilcotin. ♦

Highlights • An abundance of family-friendly waterfront camping options around the region provide for perfect multiday vacations and the opportunity to explore the vastly different topography found throughout this land without limits. • Fall touring is very popular in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region, as the diversity of fall colors fill the budding photographer’s lens. Highways, campgrounds and hotel and lodge accommodations are also less crowded at this time of year.

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Ted Hlokoff

geoffmoore.ca

David Jacobson

©Spirit Bear Lodge/Doug Neasloss

Amy Thacker

©Spirit Bear Lodge/Doug Neasloss

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Cornelius Iwan

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Roland Hemmi

Wildlife & Eco-Tours

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ake your pick - zodiac touring in Pacific estuaries, birding at a wildlife sanctuary, snorkelling with salmon in the Atnarko River, 4x4 touring for mountain goats, pack-horse treks, canoe safaris, and more! The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a zoo without cages, featuring a constantly changing menagerie - an awesome bounty that defines this vast region as one of the greatest outdoor shows on earth. From the Cariboo’s mountain goats to the Coast’s orca’s and the Chilcotin’s bighorn sheep, the diversity and density of wildlife is astounding. How and when do you find those moose and caribou? Is spotting a hungry grizzly foraging along a riverbank just luck and is it dangerous? Our eco-tour guides and outfitters are not only experts on where and when to find specific species, they are also gifted naturalists with extensive rosters of unique wildlife-viewing options featuring a range of accommodations. Their key mandate is to respect and protect wildlife and habitats while ensuring everyone has a good time and gets home unscathed. Fascinated by bears? Sign up with a bear viewing guide in the Cariboo or Chilcotin Mountains in search of grizzly bears(Ursus arctos horribilis) and their black bear cousins (Ursus americanus).

Learn about the bears’ social hierarchy, habits and body language. The Bella Coola area offers a variety of operators ready to drift you down a river in search of grizzly families dining on salmon. The coast’s Great Bear Rainforest is the only place in the world to see the legendary white Kermode bear, if you’re lucky. Ours is a place where wildlife safaris feature luxurious waterfront lodges and the only drive-by traffic is a parade of eagles, wolves, dolphins and whales. Local biologists lead interpretive eco-raft adventures on the Bella Coola and Atnarko rivers where songbirds congregate and otter, mink, fox and deer forage. Amateur and professional ornithologists can join guided bird-watching tours into the Cariboo Mountains, home to wetland species such as kingfishers, hawks, owls, warblers, and woodpeckers. Scout Island Bird Sanctuary at Williams Lake, on the Pacific Flyway, features rare white pelicans, swans, ducks and songbirds. Alpine mule trekking is a low-impact way to explore game trails blazed by caribou and mountain goats, wolves and wolverines. The Yohetta Wilderness area in the Chilcotin could serve as the model for the legend of Shangri-La. Wild and remote, it not only shelters mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bobcats and wolverines but also a remaining wild

horse herd. The southern Cariboo around Lillooet is desert country, where the contrast between the Coast and northern Cariboo could not be more profound. Etched by the wind, scorched by the sun, this is a land of rattlesnakes and prairie dogs, a place where eagles soar in search of prey. ◆

Highlights • Experience incredible wildlife in its natural habitat via eco-friendly horseguided pack trips in the Chilcotin. • Birding: Trumpeter swans and American white pelicans can be seen here during their annual migration. Other species include the pied-billed grebe, green-winged teal, ruddy duck, spotted sandpiper, northern flicker, and common yellowthroat. The Bella Coola River Estuary, Chilanko Forks Wildlife Management Area and the 100 Mile Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary are just three of the many popular birding areas. • View grizzlies up close in their natural habitats on the Coast, in the Cariboo and Chilcotin mountains, or be lucky enough to see the legendary Spirit Bear (Kermode). Outfitters guide bear viewers past gaping fjords and inlets, and along remote riverbanks. BC is well known as one of the world’s top grizzly viewing destinations.

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Michael Wigle

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Snooka Lakes Viewpoint Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Can you say natural high?

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www.bridgerivervalley.ca

Richard Wright

Eric Berger/Bella Coola Heli Sports

Kevin Unruh

Thomas Drasdauskis


Ted Hlokoff

Winter Experiences

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our distinct seasons is something we hold dear to our hearts, and we aim to please our visitors, no matter what season you choose to visit the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Our air in winter is spectacularly fresh and our sunsets are magical. No other B.C. region offers the vast, open variety of our rolling hills, backcountry lakes and forests, resorts and ranches, brilliant sunshine, deep powdered snow and choice of activities. Heli-skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and ice fishing – it’s all here in abundance. Cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling, hockey, tobogganing, dog sledding and curling make winter the time to get outside and have fun in our backyard, where the snow is dry and deep, blue sky is endless and there are more winter activities than a grizzled old prospector has tall tales to tell. Skiing? Take your pick; from a variety of groomed Nordic trails and wilderness cross-country options throughout the region, to backcountry skiing, or familyfocused downhill resorts, to the most awesome deep powder heli-skiing adventures found on the continent! Don’t forget your skates, either. Family fun skating parties are a way of life here when lakes freeze and pond hockey games begin, with visitors always welcome. Ice climbing? It’s park ‘n climb at Marble Canyon Provincial Park at the Pavilion Mountain Range near Lillooet, where roadside icefalls are

some of the most accessible in western Canada. Snowmobiling? Sledders flock here from across North America for the wide-open spaces, abundant hillclimbs, and extensive trail networks, some of them linking historic towns that are sprinkled about like gold nuggets.

and stunning natural environment, makes it ideal for Nordic activities. It helps, too, that meticulously groomed trails are maintained by resorts, clubs and communities in pretty much any direction you point your ski poles.”

Imagine yourself in a comfortable sled as a team of dogs takes you gliding silently through the forests and over frozen lakes. The region is unique in offering amateur mushers the chance to experience the exhilaration of sled dog travel, a great way to explore the backcountry in a quiet, fresh environment. Add to that winter camping, kicking back in a snow-banked hot tub, or swapping stories around a crackling fire at a cozy lodge and you begin to understand why the region claims to have it all. Cross-country skiers and backcountry aficionados find peace and tranquility here. Novice Nordic skiers can easily cover the 8km/5mi route between Wells and Barkerville, or other trails that loop around the area. Mount Agnes, near Barkerville, has 23km/14mi of trails leading through heavily forested countryside. Mount Timothy Ski Area, known as a family-friendly downhill destination, also has groomed Nordic trails. As Rob Bernhardt, president of British Columbia’s Nordic Ski Society puts it, “everything about this region, from the stable weather and ideal snow conditions to the vibrant culture 1-800-663-5885

Phone Number: 250.396.4095 Email: Mt.Timothy@gmail.com

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Highlights • Glide through the powder of the Coast Mountains. Several heli-skiing operations fly into spectacular coast mountain range glaciers, where the skiing is like nowhere else in the world! • Dog sledding is a unique way to explore and enjoy winter! Cariboo operators offer multi-day or hourly packages that help you learn about mushing culture and the incredible dogs, while taking in the crisp, fresh air and beautiful scenery. • Join local foodies on the Wells Gourmet Ski Tour. Each pit-stop serves different ethnic cuisine like Russian borscht, Spanish tapas, Indian masala chapatti wraps and more! Prizes are awarded for best ancestral attire and goofy costume. It all ends at the Bears Paw Café for Scandinavian dessert and international beverages. • Jump in a horse-drawn sleigh at Barkerville’s Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration, a truly special event in the lovingly restored gold-rush-era town.

Eric Berger/Bella Coola Heli Sports

• Ice fishing is particularly special at Raven Lake in the east Chilcotin, where the waters are so clear you can peer through your fishing hole at fish as they swim by, or get hooked!

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Downhill skiers and snowboarders flock to Mount Timothy near Lac la Hache and to Troll Ski Resort just west of Wells, both offering a family friendly atmosphere. But it’s this region’s many mountains and soft, dry powder that draws heli-skiers from all over the world. These mountain daredevils inhabit a world of absolute stillness, a place of pristine beauty and dramatic settings where there’s nothing in front of you but thousands of vertical feet of the finest skiing on earth. The sport was invented in the Cariboo Mountains by mountaineering legend Hans Gmoser, known as “The Father of Heli-skiing”. The Central Coast and Southern Chilcotin mountains also beckon loudly, now known as premier, world renowned heli-skiing destinations offering soaring 3,000m/9,850ft peaks that receive as much as 15m/49ft of snow annually.

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For the truly fit, local outfitters offer multiday hut-to-hut tours of the Bowron Lake canoe circuit, where the lakes’ frozen surface is broken only by the speckled tracks of fox, hare and ever-wary timber wolves. In the Chilcotin, Tatla Lake boasts 40km/25mi of groomed trails plus January’s Tatla Lake Ski Challenge and Fun Day that comes with an outdoor barbecue and enough good cheer to warm even the coldest winter day. Nearby Nimpo Lake’s wilderness lodges serve as the perfect base camp for ski touring in the wilds of Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park. As for those who believe slow and easy wins the day, low-cost snowshoeing guarantees backcountry winter-trail access to anyone capable of putting one foot in front of the other anywhere there’s a patch of snow.

Winter Experiences

Hallis Lake near Quesnel is renowned for its vistas and viewpoints, while an hour south near Williams Lake, the lure is the 28km/17.5mi of groomed trails at Bull Mountain, some of them dog friendly and evening lit. Near 100 Mile House the pole-and-push crowd get stoked on an enormous 150km/93mi trail inventory, also including sections for night skiing. The gold-rush-themed Cariboo Marathon, staged by the 100 Mile Nordic Club, comes complete with 50km/31mi, 30km/18.5mi, 20km/12.5mi and 10km/6mi events.

At one time, when the snow was deep, the only way to get around the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, was via sled dog. Today, this unique way of travel has been revived both at the competitive level and as a truly memorable interactive experience for visitors, with both amateur and experienced mushers answering the call of the wild with guided tours, one-onone workshops and multiday adventures. Outfitters have gotten so creative with their offerings that specialties have emerged: some boast Inuit-only sled dogs while others swear by the legendary Alaskan malamute. For those with their own teams, the annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run held every January is a must. Participants are issued special hand cancelled envelopes of mail in Quesnel that they swear an oath to deliver to the town of Wells, 100km/62mi away along a route that traces the historic Cariboo Wagon Road. The emphasis is on fun and fellowship, but coming in first still counts for bragging rights at the local pub. For many winter buffs, snow exists simply to make the world safe for snowmobiling. The result: sledder hounds can trek by trail across untracked wilderness throughout the region, or up and down

mountainous terrain renowned for adrenaline-rush hill climbing. Excitement is also growing with the development of the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail - a thrill-packed work in progress that, upon completion, will offer 350km/217mi of stunningly picturesque and well-signed touring from Clinton to Barkerville. Sledders can trace sections of the historic Gold Rush Trail, but first check with local clubs for updates regarding trail signage and amenities en route. The Bridge River Valley area near Gold Bridge and Bralorne has long been a popular snowmobile haven. The local Mineshaft Pub is sledder central for many seasonal events, with favorite rides being the Lone Goat Trail and Slim Creek, where the distance travelled is limited only by the amount of fuel saddle-bagged in. Ice fishing may sound like cold comfort, but there’s nothing like hauling a big rainbow trout out of a hole in a frozen lake to warm an avid fisher’s blood. For those who need a little pointing in the right direction, area outfitters may offer all-inclusive ice-fishing adventures with accommodation at cozy lodges; portable shelters and “whopper” tales at no extra charge. ♦

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City of Williams Lake

Kim Culbert/www.kimculbert.com

Don Weixl/The Hills Health Ranch

Don Weixl/The Hills Health Ranch

Beat Steiner/Tweedsmuir Park Lodge


Laureen Carruthers

Golf, Spas & Lakes

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elcome to summer fun, watersports, soothing spa escapes, and golf in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Imagine the perfect golf experience set amongst a natural setting of sage and rolling hills, with fairways that gently flow along contoured canyons and water accents, greens that run true, and spectacular views augmenting layouts that are both challenging and serene. Stop imagining and start swinging and putting. In addition to unusual nine-hole courses, we have three championship 18-hole courses that will delight you. The Stan Leonard-designed 108 Golf Resort is 6,800 yards of treelined fairways and rolling greens that will certainly challenge your game. The scenic Williams Lake Golf & Tennis Club’s 6,272 yard layout is set against the rolling Cariboo hills and plays over undulating terrain with spectacular views overlooking both the city’s downtown and lake. The 6,340 yard Quesnel Golf Course, spread out in a former heritage orchard, is a valleybased design with a wide-open front-nine and shorter, but demanding back that will hone your swing. Family friendly nine-hole courses are found throughout the region, including the newest, Coyote Rock, which sits above Highway 97 overlooking the south end of Williams Lake. At Lillooet’s farmland gem, golfers get a free drop if their shot is blocked by sheep!

Although the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is renowned for our sheer expanse of wilderness, we also have luxurious day spas and wellness centres. One working ranch specializes in custom therapeutic, assessment and spa services. At another mountain-valley site, guests journey to the Far East via authentic Thai spa treatments, complete with a traditional Baan Thai house and pavilion. Other remote retreats specialize in yoga, fitness and healing escapes. Rejuvenate at day spas found in many of the communities in this region, with treatments from around the world - Japanese Sumishi to Thai stem massage to Indian Ayurveda treatments, all often combined with yoga, fitness and nutritional services. Many mid-size inns and remote lodges and resorts also have massage and a variety of wellness or fitness programs, all designed to help keep mind and body in balance. With the highest concentration of lakes and rivers in Canada, it’s no surprise the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a haven for swimmers, water skiers, wake boarders, canoeists and just about anyone who loves to buzz around in a boat or play in the water. Consistent afternoon thermals on the Chilcotin’s Tatlayoko Lake mean paradise for sailors and windsurfers. Ocean kayakers paddle with whales and dolphins in the protected waters off Bella Coola, Shearwater and Klemtu.

White-knuckle white-water rafters and kayakers pick and choose from a multitude of torrents - while the Bowron Lake canoe circuit is one of the world’s greatest wilderness water adventures. ♦

Highlights • Treat your body and sooth your mind at a day spa or wellness facility, or book a stay at one of several guest ranches offering unparalleled, unique massage and spa experiences. • Book your paddlers dream vacation now! The Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit attracts thousands of paddlers from around the world for stunningly beautiful canoe vacation experiences! • Tee up a Cariboo Golf Vacation enjoying a variety of wonderful courses between Lillooet and Quesnel, all within a 2 ½ hour scenic drive.Stroll the fairways dodging sheep, for a unique golf experience in Lillooet. • Catch the wind at Tatlayoko Lake. Taylayoko means “lake of the big winds” in the Chilcotin language. Stiff breezes sometimes make the open waters hazardous for boaters, but are an irresistible draw for wind-surfers and kiteboarders.

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Highlights • Take home unique tasting ‘Birch Syrup’ from Quesnel area producers. It makes a delectable topping for cheesecake, ice cream and tantalizing glaze for meat, fish and vegetables. Also, you summer barbeque will be a hit with Birch BBQ Sauce.

geoffmoore.ca

• Sit down to an organic pasture-toplate steak, or artisan sausages courtesy of all that hard work by local cowboys. Chilcotin ranchers continue to pioneer in the North American cattle industry with humane livestock management and sustainable ranching practices that replenish grazing lands while protecting wildlife and habitats. • Sample from a variety of delectable wines found at the award-winning Fort Berens Winery in Lillooet. You won’t want to leave without a bottle, or two!

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

• Sample llama and alpaca meats, as well as hand crafted fibre and leather products. Several ranches in the Cariboo specialize in these products.

106

Gordon Baron

Brad Kasselman/www.coastphoto.com

Amy Thacker

• Pack your picnic hamper with delectable local honey, cherries, apples, plums and other goodies at the Bella Coola Farmers Market, held Sunday’s from June through September.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


CCCTA/Jesse Madden

Agritourism

R

anchers, farmers and specialty producers love to share the art, science and hard work that goes into raising livestock and growing crops in this region. Raising cattle, bison, sheep, llamas, alpacas and growing crops is a sacred trust here. Though not a major wine region, the fertile soil and warm climate of the south Cariboo creates perfect growing conditions for distinctively flavoured grapes, with two wineries to tempt the palate. The vines at the Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet dig deep into soil enriched by 150 years of melon, tomato and alfalfa. This winery currently produces a wonderful selection of award-winning wines. The Bonaparte Bend Winery in Cache Creek, located on a ranch founded by a young Irishman in 1862, produces aromatic fruit wines. Eating locally grown and raised food is important to our health and well-being, especially when traveling. Community partners in the region have developed Marketplace BC, a consortium that has launched a new website (see page 110) which is growing in development and will help you find local products to purchase, as well as Bed & Bale offerings for visitors traveling with horses. Tour an organic north Cariboo farm to experience the sweet culinary taste of

birch syrup tapped fresh from the tree! In the Chilcotin River Valley, overnight on a 1,600hec/3,954ac spread producing organic produce and grass-fed meats from the ranch’s own abattoir. In late August, foodies line up for garlic poutine, panini, gyoza, fritters, live music and fun at Lac la Hache’s South Cariboo Garlic Festival.

Other operators around the region, including Bed & Breakfasts, open their barn doors so visitors can study the fine art of “farming with the season” while sampling and purchasing local delicacies. Some also offer “Bed and Bale” if travelling with your equine companions. ◆

Sample regional tastes at agricultural fairs and farmers’ markets. At Quesnel’s Fall Fair the atmosphere is entertaining; be warned, the chili and beer-can chicken competitions are fierce. At Williams Lake’s Harvest Fair, they say “If you eat, you’re involved in agriculture”. Food contests, a pet parade and stockdog demonstrations are some of the family events. Many local fairs also showcase youth 4-H competitions highlighting the importance, and rewards, of raising livestock, growing crops and acquiring life skills. The 4-H motto ‘learn to do by doing’ is an integral part of life.

Lillooet

Weekly Farmers’ Markets abound in most communities here, often offering local arts and crafts. In Bella Coola for example, visitors mingle with locals, stock up on fresh produce and sample regional specialties such as honey, giant prawns, Dungeness crab and salmon. Gourmands should keep their eyes peeled for farmgate offerings of sweet Walla Walla onions; tangy Russian red garlic and sunloving Kentucky wonder yellow beans.

Fort Berens ESTATE WINERY

Award winning VQA wines Tasting room open daily www.fortberens.ca LILLOOET’S FIRST WINERY

1-800-663-5885

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Directory Cariboo

Passenger Buses for Adventure & Sightseeing Tours, Group Travel, Tradeshows Events & Special Occasions 84A Broadway Ave., Williams Lake, BC 250.305.2251 randy@gertzen.ca www.adventurecharters.ca

Barkerville Amy Thacker

Disc ver living history.

Come visit us May - September, 2013 1-888-994-3332 • www.barkerville.ca

A N AT I O N A L h I sTO r I c s I T E O f c A N A dA

Travelling Highway 97?

Your premiere outdoor adventure destination for

Moose, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear & Wolves

Stop at our Farm Store and stock up!

C A R I B O O M O U N TA I N OUTFITTERS

> > >

Family owned & operated for over 30 years 778-786-0847 • 250-991-9233 Box 4010, Quesnel, BC V2J 3J2 E-mail: cmo@lincsat.com www.cariboomountain.com

250-255-5160

JUST OFF OF HIGHWAY 97

Wool and yarn plus other craft items Fresh farm eggs + produce Beef, pork, lamb, chicken and llama products

2979 Alexandria Ferry North Road QUESNEL, BC

CoyoteAcresQNL or like us on

Destination resort and casual dining on Quesnel Lake, the deepest fjord lake on earth, in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains. Full-service marina with self-guided or fully-guided trophy rainbow trout fishing. Cabins, guest rooms & RV sites. Affordable excellence. Drive in or fly in. 250.243.2433 rainbow@elysiaresort.com www.elysiaresort.com

Discover why the Quesnel Museum is voted one of BC’s best! - informative exhibits - remarkable photographs - the rare, unusual & haunted! - children’s activities - gifts & books 705 Carson Ave (with the Visitor Centre on HWY 97) 250-992-9580 www.quesnelmuseum.ca

Red Willow Guest Ranch Riding without limits in the Cariboo

Come try our hospitality, horses and food.

We offer hours of undisturbed riding with or without a wrangler... on your horse or ours!

SEE SEE YOU YOU AT AT THE THE CAMPFIRE! CAMPFIRE!

www.redwillowranch.com

Lone Butte, BC • redwillow.bc@gmail.com • 1-800-696-0576 108

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Cariboo

Coast

multi-cultural, family-focused experience

www.bellacoolamusic.org

Spring Lake Ranch

artwork by Niki Watts

Bones Bay Lodge

A beautiful and affordable guest ranch near 100 Mile House. Log cabins, scenic trail rides for beginners and the more experienced. 10,000 aces of range surrounding a private lake. Open year round. 15 km from HWY 97 at 111 Mile. 5770 Spring Lake Rd. 1-877-791-5776 or 250-791-5776 info@springlakeranchcom www.springlakeranch.ca Close to nature. Far from crowds.

directorySee adus on Facebook WILLIAMS LAKE STERNWHEELER TOURS

Take a cruise down the waterways of history. The famous M.V. Yukon Queen paddlewheer is touring beautiful Williams Lake, BC. See you aboard! Call 250.267.3942 Email:sternwheelertours@gmail.com

Spring Lake ranch

FISHING AND WILDLIFE ECO TOURS

Make this “your last resort!”

www.bonesbaylodge.com

Knight Inlet, BC • (509) 844-7284

14th Annual

Discovery Coast Music Festival July 20-21, 2013

Bella Coola, BC

an intimate, multi-cultural, family-focused experience artwork by Niki Watts

www.bellacoolamusic.org

Xatśūll Heritage Village

Welcome to our traditional native village

Situated on a sunny plateau north of Williams Lake overlooking the Fraser River. Enjoy guided tours, cultural workshops, traditional meals and authentic accommodation and learn about the history of the Northern Secwepemc people. 250.989.2311 XatsullHeritageVillage.com



Shearwater ShearwaterResort Resort& & Marina Marina

 A beautiful and affordable

The TheUltimate UltimateFishing/Eco Fishing/Eco Adventure Adventure Destination Destinationininthe theWorld World since since 1967 1967

guest ranch  near 100 Mile House.

www.shearwater.ca www.shearwater.ca

 Log cabins, scenic trail rides  for beginners 

1.800.663.2370 1.800.663.2370oror fish@shearwater.ca fish@shearwater.ca

and the more experienced.

Chilcotin

10,000 aces of range surrounding a private lake. Open year round.

15 km from HWY 97 at 111 Mile. 5770 Spring Lake Rd. 1-877-791-5776 or 250-791-5776 info@springlakeranchcom www.springlakeranch.ca

Close to nature. Far from crowds. 1/4 page ad

Listings McLeese Lake Resort and Campground 6721 Highway 97 North, McLeese Lake, BC P: 250-297-6525 W: www.mcleeselake.com E: mcleeselake@laketown.net Moosehaven Resort 7563 Pettyjohn Road, Lone Butte, BC, V0K 1X3 P: 250-593-2300 TF: 1-888-744-2271 W: www.moosehavenresort.com E: moosehaven@bcwireless.com Ponderosa Resort PO Box 32, Canim Lake, BC, V0K 1J0 P: 250-397-2243 W: www.ponderosaresort.com E: ponderosa@bcinternet.net Ramada Ltd. 100 Mile House 917 Alder Avenue, 100 Mile House, BC, V0K 2E0 P: 250-395-2777 TF: 1-877-395-2777 W: www.ramanda.com E: ramada100mile@shawcable.com

1-800-663-5885

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Regional Tourism Information Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association 1-800-663-5885 www.Facebook.com/ CaribooChilcotinCoast Twitter: @CarChiCoa www.youtube.com/theCCCTA www.landwithoutlimits.com

Cariboo www.cariboord.bc.ca www.southcaribootourism.com www.tourismwilliamslake.com www.tourismquesnel.com www.wellsbc.com www.exploregoldcountry.com www.lillooetbc.ca www.village.clinton.bc.ca www.fishinghighway24.com

Chilcotin www.visitthewestchilcotin.com www.chilcotin.bc.ca

Coast www.bellacoola.ca www.ccrd-bc.ca

Provincial Hello BC Tourism BC Consumer Website www.helloBC.com Aboriginal Tourism BC www.aboriginalbc.com

General Information

Weather Info www.weatheroffice.gc.ca BC Driving Conditions www.drivebc.ca 1-800-550-4997 BC Wildfire Travel Advisories www.bcwildfire.ca BC Provincial Park Info www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks Camping Info www.camping.bc.ca www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca Fishing/ Hunting/Wildlife Info www.goabc.org www.bcfroa.ca www.fishing.gov.bc.ca www.gofishbc.com www.bearaware.bc.ca/bears www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/ More Sector-Specific Websites www.ridethecariboo.com www.wellsbarkervilletrails.com www.marketplaceBC.com www.rodeobc.com www.bcheritage.ca/cariboo www.goldtrail.com www.bcgeocaching.com www.geocaching.com www.bcguestranches.com www.bcbackcountry.ca www.canadatrails.ca/bc

BC visitor centres provide friendly service from professionally trained staff with local knowledge. Get accurate information about attractions, activities and events to help you make informed travel plans. They also assist with reservations for accommodations and sightseeing tours and provide current travel advice for your area of visitation. Lillooet Visitor Centre 790 Main Street, Lillooet 1-250-256-4308 E: lillmuseum@cablelan.net W: www.lillooetbc.ca 100 Mile House Visitor Centre 155 Airport Road, 100 Mile House 1-877-511-5353 (TF) E: info@southcaribootourism.com W: www.southcaribootourism.com Williams Lake Visitor Centre 1660 South Broadway, Williams Lake 1-877-967-5253 (TF) E: visitors@telus.net W: www.tourismwilliamslake.com Quesnel Visitor Centre 703 Carson Avenue, Quesnel 1-800-992-4922 (TF) E : qvisitor@quesnelbc.com W : www.tourismquesnel.com Wells Visitor Centre 11900 Hwy 26, Box 123, Wells 1-877-451-9355 (TF) E: vic@wellsbc.com W: www.wellsbc.com

Neighboring Region Visitor Centres Kamloops Visitor Centre 1290 West Trans Canada Hwy 1-800-662-1994 (TF) E: tourism@kamloopschamber.ca W: www.tourismkamloops.com Prince George Visitor Centre 1300 First Avenue, Prince George 1-800-668-7646 (TF) E: info@tourismpg.com W: www.tourismpg.com David Jacobson

Port Hardy Visitor Centre 7250 Market St Port Hardy 1-866-427-3901 (TF) E: phcc@cablerocket.com W: www.ph-chamber.bc.ca

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Travel Information International Visitors to Canada International visitors to Canada (not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents) must carry a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website www.cic.gc.ca for a complete listing of countries whose citizens require visas to enter Canada. All other visitors should contact their Canadian consulate or embassy to learn what documents are required. To learn more about Canadian customs regulations, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website www.cbsa.gc.ca. or visit www.goingtocanada.gc.ca for more information. Bus Travel Greyhound offers scheduled services for communities along Hwy 97. The company also has connections to cities and towns throughout Canada and the U.S. www.greyhound.ca | 1-800-661-8747 Ferry Travel BC Ferries operates the Discovery Coast Passage service between Bella Coola and Port Hardy on Vancouver Island with scheduled stops at Bella Bella, Shearwater, Klemtu and Ocean Falls. The ferry operates between early June and mid-September and can handle large RVs and 5th-wheels. Reservations are required for this route. Service to most central-coast ports during fall, winter and spring is handled by BC Ferries Inside Passage service. www.bcferries.ca | 1-888-223-3779 Rail Travel The Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush route travels from Whistler to Jasper, Alberta, through the historic Cariboo Gold Rush region, with an overnight stop in Quesnel. www.rockymountaineer.com l 1-877-460-3200 Air Travel Pacific Coastal Airlines services Williams Lake, Anahim Lake, Bella Coola, Klemtu and Bella Bella and Shearwater. www.pacificcoastal.com | 1-800-663-2872 Central Mountain Air services Williams Lake and Quesnel. www.flycma.com | 1-888-865-8585 Firearms in Canada For information regarding the importation of firearms to Canada, contact the Canadian Firearms Centre at 1-800-7314000 from anywhere in Canada or the U.S., or phone 1-506624-5380 from other locations, or visit www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca. Watercraft Regulations All Canadians must have proof of operator competency on board at all times. For more information visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety online or call the safe boating line. www.tc.gc.ca | 1-800-267-6687 Recreational Vehicle Operation Operators of recreational vehicles in B.C. are required to comply with evolving provincial regulations. To ensure you are aware of current updates and requirements in your area, review websites regularly. www.tti.gov.bc.ca/tourism/orv | 1-250-356-0104

Visitor Info Booths Gold Bridge Tourist / Visitor Info Booth 104 Haylmore Ave, Gold Bridge 1-250-238-2534 E: bridgerivervalley@gmail.com W: www.bridgerivervalley.ca Cache Creek Tourist / Visitor Info Booth 1270 Stage Road, Cache Creek 1-888-457-7661 (TF) E: cachecreekinfo@telus.net Horsefly Tourist / Visitor Info Booth Jack Lynn Memorial Museum on Boswell Street 1-250-620-0544 (Seasonal) or 1-250-620-3440 (winter) E: land@horseflyrealty.ca W: www.horsefly.bc.ca Likely Tourist / Visitor Info Booth Cedar Point Provincial Park, Likely 1-250-790-2207 or 1-250-790-2459 E: cedar52@telus.net W: www.likely-bc.ca Alexis Creek / Visitor Info Booth Hwy 20 in Alexis Creek 1-250-394-4900 (Seasonal: May – September) Tatla Lake / Visitor Roadside Kiosk Hwy 20, Tatla Lake Nimpo Lake / Visitor Roadside Kiosk Hwy 20, Nimpo Lake Anahim Lake / Visitor Roadside Kiosk Hwy 20, Anahim Lake Bella Coola Tourist / Visitor Info Booth Norwegian Heritage House, 1881 Hwy 20, Hagensborg 1-866-799-5202 (TF) (Seasonal: June – September) E: info@bellacoola.ca W: www.bellacoola.ca

Emergency Information Drive BC - Highway information 1- 800-550-4997 Emergency: Police, Fire, Ambulance 911* Bella Coola Ambulance 1-800-461-9911 Bella Coola Police 1-250-799-5363 Poison Helpline 1-800-567-8911 Provincial Emergency Preparedness 1-800-663-3456 Report a Forest Fire 1-800-663-5555 Report All Poachers and Polluters 1-877-952-7277 (*not accessible in remote backcountry areas, dial “0” for operator)

1-800-663-5885

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Chris Harris

Capture the moment.

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Fraser River Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


1-800-663-5885

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Glossary

• Chezacut “Birds without feathers” in the Chilcotin language. • Chilcotin The name refers to the Chilcotin region, which the Chilcotin First Nation traditionally inhabited and still numerically dominate; this territory largely consists of a plateau set between the Coast Range in the west and the Fraser River in the east.

FINGER-TATUK

S

Blac

Redstone Chilanko Forks

Choelquoit Lake

Tatlayoko Lake

i oR

Chaunigan Lake

lac ier

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide

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OU

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R

IS

tte

Str ait

K

Johnston

Port McNeill

LA

ND

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19

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CA C A

Dugan Lake

150 Mile Hou

Springhouse

108 Mile Ra Alkali Lake

MOOSE VALLEY PROVINCIAL PARK Snag Lake

FLAT LAK PROVINCIAL PAR

rid

MARBL RANGE PROV. PARK

Big Bar EDGE HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK

SOUTH CHILCOTIN MOUNTAIN PARK

ge Ri r ve

Big Bar Lake

Jesmond

Black Dome

GE

M Ho

Dog Creek

Tyaughton Lake Carpenter Lake

Pavilio

9

Gold Bridge Bralorne Seton Portage

Lil

BIRKENHEAD LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK Lillo

Inlet

ha

CHURN CREEK PROTECTED AREA

Seasonal Road

n ig ht I nlet

NC

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Port Hardy

JUNCTION SHEEP RANGE PARK

ek Cre

BIG CREEK PROVINCIAL

CHI

Kingcome Inlet

Bu te

www.landwithoutlimits.com amy@landwithoutlimits.com

VA

ee

River

L C O PARK TIN Taseko RAN Lakes

Chilko Lake

TS’YL-OS PROVINCIAL PARK Mt. Warner

Homathko Icefield

Bootjack Lake

Big Tyee Lake Lake Xat’sull (Soda Creek)

Gang Ranch

Tsuniah Lake

Mt. Queen Bess 3313m

ti n

Big Creek

NUNSTI PROVINCIAL PARK

Nemiah Valley Mt. Waddington 4016m (Highest Mountain in B.C.)

McLeese Lake

Williams Lake

Big

Horn Lake

lco

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Eagle Lake

Ke

River

Likely

Till Lake Alexis Creek Raven Lake BULL Hanceville CANYON (Lee’s Corner) Riske PROVINCIAL C Creek PARK h

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Register early for special savings!

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Quesnelle Forks

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Owen Lake

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Bluff Lake

UPPER KLINAKLINI PROTECTED Middle AREA

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Tatla Lake

Sapeye Lake

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Tatla Lake

Kleena Kleene

Silverthorne Mountain 2896m

Bark

Dragon Lake

Puntchesakut Lake

PELICAN PROVINCIAL PARK

Puntzi Lake

20

Monarch Mountain 3533m

B

Wells

Troll Mtn. Ski Hill

Bouchie Lake

Nazko

Chezacut

Charlotte Lake

Turner Lakes

BOWR PROV P

Mt. Murray 1989m

97

26

CH C CHILCO HILCOTIN H HILCO IILCOT IL TIN

Nimpo Lake

Clearwater Lake

Rivers Inlet

Calvert Island

hS Smit

Hunlen Falls

Mt. Saugstad 2908m

T

Dawsons Landing

Hakai Pass

Cinema

Ten Mile Lake

Nazko Lakes

Nimpo Lake

N

Rivers Inlet

d

Fishpot Lake

R

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a Cool Hagensborg Bella

Be nti

Blackwater

KLUSKOIL LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK

Anahim Lake

20

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Hunter HAKAI Island

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ITCHA ILGACHUZ PROVINCIAL PARK

60 km of gravel surfaced road from Anahim Lake to the bottom of the Hill

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Campbell Island

LUXVBALIS CONSERVANCY AREA

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Denny Island

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Ocean Falls

Price Island

Anahim Peak 1876m

Pass 1524m

Bella Coola

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Nuxalk-Carrier Grease/ Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail

TWEEDSMUIR PROVINCIAL PARK Heckman

S

Shearwater Resort & Marina, Denny Island Sound

CO C OA O OAS AS A S ST T

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2013 Tourism Summit & AGM

SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE PROVINCIAL MARINE PARK

Klemtu

Swindle Island

a De

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Moose Lake

DEAN RIVER ESTUARY PROTECTED AREA

O

Aristazabal Island

FIORDLAND RECREATION AREA

Hixon

Hanham Boat Lake Lake

R

KITASOO SPIRIT BEAR CONSERVANCY

FRASER RIVER PROVINCIAL PARK

r

• Klemtu, from the Coast TsimshianQuesnel word klemdoo-oolk, meaning N De an “impassable.” River

un

Charlotte

ENTIAKO PROVINCIAL PARK & PROTECTED AREA

Kimsquit

C

Queen

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ilako Rive

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Campania Island

Ch

Batnuni Lake

50

KITLOPE HERITAGE CONSERVANCY PROTECTED AREA

Tatuk Lake

Stoner

Naltesby Lake

lk

40

FingerPROVINCIAL PARK Lake

Kenny Dam

Chi

30

Kilometres

PRINCE

Taseko River

20

François Lake

Klina klini River

10

Fraser Lake

T

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Vanderhoof

• The Tsilhqot’in (tseelh-coht-een), N Eutsuk along with the Chilcotin, Tsilhqut’in,Lake Tsinlhqot’in, Chilkhodin, Tsilkótin Princess and Tsilkotin, are the most southern Royal Island d Butedale

16

GEORGE • Bella Coola The former name of the local First Nation; these indigenous Ootsa Lake peoples now call themselves Nuxalk Tetachuck (nu-halk). r ater Rive Lake kw

Lake

Gil Island

27

Burns Lake

I

t nle

oet

D’Arcy Gl

ac

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Birken Mount Pemberton Currie 99

Whistler

GARIBALDI PARK

STEIN VALL NLAKA’PAM HERITAGE P

Lillooet Lake

To Vancouver

Riv e

• Tatlayoko (tatlahco) This lake is also Morice called Talhiqox BinyLake(“biny lake”) by Tahtsa Lake the Tsilhqot’in peoples of Xeni. Whitesail

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An event not to be missed! Save the dates - October 25 – 27, 2013

• Bella Bella An adaption of the Heiltsuk Nech First Nation name its own people. ako Rivfor er

Houston

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• Oolichan (or eulachon) A small type of B.C. smelt valued by First Nations because they are the first fresh food source to return to native communities after the long winter. Oolichan oil is also used as a medicine.

• Heiltsuk The First Nations descendants of a number of tribal groups who came together in Bella Bella in the 19th century, after which they became popularly known as the Bella Bella Indians.

IN

• Lac la Hache There are many stories to explain how this lake was named. According to one account, it is named after a French-Canadian trapper who lost his only hatchet when chopping a hole in the frozen lake.

• Coast The B.C. Coast is Canada’s western continental coastline on the Pacific Ocean. For the purpose of this guide, we are referring to the area from Rivers Inlet in the south to the southern half of Princes Royal Island in the north, and from the eastern boundary of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and west to Queens, Milbanke, Loredo and Caamano sounds.

n

• Carrier The Carrier language is a northern Athabaskan language. It is named after the Dakelh First Nations of the central Interior of B.C., for whom Carrier is the usual English name.

Coast

ne l

• North Cariboo The area extending from south of Quesnel near Kersley to Hixon on Hwy. 97, and from the Nazko and Blackwater rivers in the west to the goldfields of the Cariboo Mountains and the Bowron Lake chain in the east.

• Xeni’ Gwet’in (honey-ko-teen) The First Nation of the Nemiah Valley is one of six Tsilhqot’in communities.

Chilcotin

C

• South Cariboo The area of the Cariboo that extends from the height of land west of Hwy. 5’s Little Fort to the Fraser River west of Clinton, and from Hwy. 99 at Lillooet in the south to Lac la Hache on Hwy. 97 in the north.

• Tsy?los (SYE-loss) Ts’il?os is the official B.C. Parks designation for this provincial park, though sometimes it is written as Ts’il-os, Ts’yl-os or Tsylos. The “?” in the name represents a glottal stop. The park is part of the traditional territory of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.

• Xatśūll (hats’ull) The Soda Creek/ Deep Creek Band of the Secwepemc Nation, located in the Cariboo. In the Shuswap language, Soda Creek is called Xatśūll , while Deep Creek is Cmetem. Xatśūll means “on the cliff where the bubbling water comes out.”

ha n nel

• Central Cariboo The area of the Cariboo that extends from Lac la Hache in the south to north of McLeese Lake, and from the Fraser River Bridge west of Williams Lake to the Cariboo Mountains east of Likely and Horsefly.

of the Athabaskan-speaking aboriginal peoples in B.C. The name Tsilhqot’in means “people of the red-ochre river.”

• Quesnel (kwe-nel) This city name is the legacy of Jules Maurice Quesnelle, a lieutenant on Simon Fraser’s epic 1808 portage-cum-whitewater exploration of the Fraser River.

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• Cariboo A region of British Columbia set along a plateau that stretches from the Fraser Canyon to the Cariboo Mountains. The name is derived from a mountain species of caribou once numerous in the region.

• Lillooet Adapted from the proper name for the Lower St’at’imc (statlee-um) people, the Lil’wat of Mount Currie. Lil’wat means “wild onions.”

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1-800-663-5885

| www.landwithoutlimits.com

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Wild Things

Our untamed backyard can be dangerous in that “life is worth living”kind of way. we dont worry about a scrape, bruise or a broken finger nail it’s part of the adventure and the thrill of feeling alive. Guaranteed rugged is our nature. Get busy living. Visit Lillooet, B.C. There’s nothing like it.

www.lillooetbc.ca

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Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Travel & Touring Guide


Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, British Columbia, TRAVEL & TOURING GUIDE (ENGLISH)