Exploring the Bridge River Valley
The recreational mecca of the Bridge River Valley is an outdoor adventurer’s dream – and only about a 4-hour drive north from Vancouver in the summer months! The rain shadow created by the Coast Mountains results in a drier climate than coastal communities, perfect for days to be spent exploring local trails where the scenery includes ancient, glacier-hewn icefields, grassland meadows and stoic plateaus.
Once the site of a booming gold rush economy, the Bridge River Valley produced over 4 million ounces of gold. Today, only a single mine remains. Previous locales have become historic sites and ghost towns, while other areas that were later settled by ranchers and outfitters are still operational today.
With an extensive network of trails created by Indigenous settlers, traders and prospectors, the Bridge River Valley area offers exceptional opportunities to get outdoors and explore – in whichever manner you prefer.
Home to some of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, the Bridge River Valley’s hiking trails can provide some challenging hikes – for those who are interested. But not to worry, there are friendlier routes through flower-filled meadows and along placid lakes for those looking to tread more laid-back paths.
Multi-day backcountry hiking trips are also a popular pursuit here, with the opportunity to embark on one-way excursions with floatplane drops in the wilderness or fully guided and hut-to-hut options.
Popular spots for hiking trails around the Bridge River Valley include: Taylor Basin & Spruce Lake, Tyaughton Lake, Gun Lake, Big Creek Provincial Park and South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park.
Find more info Bridge River Valley Trails.
Home to world-class, high alpine, mostly flowy single-track trails, mountain biking [/things-to-do/mountain-biking/] in the Bridge River Valley is absolutely divine and sure to be added to your brag list once ventured. The mountain bike trails here take you past lakes, streams, glaciers, old-growth forests, wildlife and meadows. South Chilcotin Mountain Provincial Park is one popular destination for mountain bikers, home to over 200 km (124 mi) of trails of varying difficulties and distances.
Other top mountain biking trails in the Bridge River Valley include:
- Elbow Pass
- Mid Gun Creek Trail – Deer to Spruce
- Ken’s Trail
- Upper Tyaughton Creek Trail
- Lorna Pass Trail
View the full list on Trailforks.
Former trading trails trekked by packhorse and donkey through the Bridge River Valley are now available for adventurers seeking day trips and multi-day rides into the backcountry. If you are short of a four-legged mode of transportation, local outfitters like Chilcotin Holidays can assist by offering wilderness trail rides, hut-based horse pack trips and guest ranch experiences.
Several routes in the Bridge River Valley are ideal for dual-sport motorcycling, dirt biking, quading and side-by-side adventures, taking riders up through spectacular mountain scenery and offering a challenging driving experience. Follow undeveloped trails created in the gold rush days, or tracks created by the local mining and forestry industry. Find a list of trails on Bridge River Valley Trails.
Please respect signage indicating non-motorized zones and know the Alpine riding regulations. Many trails are designated multi-use so please use caution, expect to encounter horses, mountain bikes and hikers and always follow trail etiquette.
Sightseeing opportunities in the Bridge River Valley are even more expansive when you take to the air with a flightseeing tour to view the scenery from a different perspective. Local operator Tyax Adventures takes you up by floatplane to circle local mountains and valleys, landing on picturesque remote lakes surrounded by glacial icebergs so you can deplane and explore terrain that’s seldom visited by humans. It’s truly a bucket-list adventure and a terrific way to get away from it all!
Water Sports & Fishing
The Bridge River Valley is replete with lakes and waterways to explore by kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or motorized boats. Gun Lake is a popular spot for watersports, and at 7 km (4 mi) long, there’s plenty of room to dip your paddle. Tyaughton Lake, at the foot of the South Chilcotin Mountains, is also terrific for clean, clear waters for a swim or paddle.
The same lakes and rivers are home to a variety of fish, including Rainbow Trout, Eastern Brook Trout, Kokanee and Bull Trout, weighing in at 1-3 lbs with the occasional big catch. Anglers visit the Bridge River Valley to cast their lines into locations including Pearson Pond, Mowson Pond, Tyaughton Lake, Plateau Ponds, Lajoie Lake and Kingdom Lakes.
Gold Rush History
For history enthusiasts, the Bridge River Valley provides a fascinating insight into British Columbia’s gold rush history. Just behind Bralorne, perched on a benchland at 3,700 feet is the ghost town of Bradian, the home of 22 houses from back in the 1930s and once situated near one of the most prolific gold mines in Canada. Abandoned for 25 years, the town was purchased by a couple who spent several years fixing it up to later selling the town to new owners.
Learn more about the booming gold rush era and everyday life in the Bridge River Valley with a visit to the Bralorne Pioneer Museum. Haylmore Heritage Site is also a fascinating stop. Home to the original and long-time gold claim mine recorder, Will Haylmore, tour the restored original and restored buildings and pick up some additional tourist information during your visit.
Teeming with wildlife, keep your camera handy as you will have the opportunity to spot some remarkable species during a visit to the Bridge River Valley including mule deer, moose, bighorn mountain sheep, black bear, grizzly bear, wolf, coyote, cougar, bobcat, lynx, wolverine, fisher, marten, wolf, coyote, beaver, snowshoe hare and otters. Bird lovers can also discover a variety of species including grouse, ptarmigan, partridge, pheasant, mourning doves, coots, ducks, geese, falcons, eagles, hawks, great herons, trumpeter swans, hummingbirds, loons and owls.
Your best option to maximize your chance of discovering wildlife in Bridge River Valley is with a guided wildlife tour through operators including Bralorne Adventure Lodge and Chilcotin Holidays.
If you’re eager to visit the Bridge River Valley, your next step is to start planning to get here…
Getting to the Bridge River Valley
Via Pemberton: From Highway 99 to Hurley River Forest Service Road and over the 5500-foot elevation Railroad Pass. The road is 74 km (46 mi) long, taking approximately 90 minutes and is open from June to October. Four-wheel drive is strongly recommended, and there is no cell service on the route. This route is also popular for snowmobilers in the winter.
Via Lillooet: Take Highway 99 to Lillooet and Route 40 to Gold Bridge. This route is accessible year-round and takes approximately 3 hrs from Whistler.
Via Air: Fly into Tyaughton Lake from sites around British Columbia with Tyax Adventures.
Travelling to the Bridge River Valley with a trailer or recreational vehicle? Terrific!! When visiting the towns of Gold Bridge and Bralorne, kindly respect parking restrictions and only leave your vehicle parked in appropriate areas to help keep congestion to a minimum.
Where to Stay in the Bridge River Valley
Accommodations in the Bridge River Valley range from rustic cabins and campsites to luxury lodges:
- Bralorne Adventure Lodge
- Bralorne Mines Motel
- Chilcotin Holidays
- Gold Bridge Hotel
- Gold Dust Motel
- The Cabins at Tyax
- Tyaughton Vacation Rentals
- Tyax Adventures
- Tyax Lodge & Heliskiing
Camping can be found at several of the above locations, as well as Freiburg Recreational Site, Mowson Pond Recreational Site, and Gun Creek Campground.
Plan Your Visit to the Bridge River Valley
Home to just 250 year-round residents, visitors to the Bridge River Valley are asked to travel responsibly during their time here. This includes respecting parking restrictions, adhering to noise bylaws, and reducing your impact on the environment and local resources during your visit, so that you and other visitors and future generations can enjoy the natural beauty of the Bridge River Valley for years to come.
Learn more about the Bridge River Valley and download their visitor guide to help plan your trip!