Land Without Limits

Five Unforgettable Spring Getaways in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Fort Berens Winery | Brad Kasselman

As we delve into spring, the grip of winter begins to loosen its hold. Flowers are blooming everywhere, temperatures are rising to a cozy warmth, and more activities are starting to open up all around the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. The humming of the birds calls to you: grab your backpack and embark on five unforgettable spring getaways.

Lytton to Lillooet: Thrilling Rapids and Relaxing Wines

rafting lytton bc

Kumsheen Rafting | Tyler Cave

Adrenaline first, kick back afterwards? If this sounds like your type of spring getaway, the area between Lytton and Lillooet is your ultimate destination. Lytton, acclaimed as the “Rafting Capital of Canada,” attracts thrill-seekers from around the globe with its exhilarating whitewater rafting adventures along the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. Consider embarking on the experience of a lifetime with Kumsheen Rafting, reopening on April 1st. Grab your paddle and dive into the rapid waters of British Columbia!

After the adrenaline has worn off and you’ve dried yourself up, chase a more serene moment by heading north to Lillooet for exquisite wine tasting at Fort Berens. Embracing the spirit and beauty of Lillooet, they passionately handcraft world-class wines amidst the stunning landscapes of the region. From November through April, the winery’s tasting rooms welcome visitors from 10 am to 4 pm, Thursday through Monday. As the warm weather becomes more inviting from May to October, you can uncork and unwind from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Sunday.

If you’re making your way to Lytton and Lillooet from Vancouver on Highway 99, the scenic road won’t disappoint: it’s a deliciously beautiful 4-5 hour journey through stunning landscapes, including coastal rainforests, towering mountains, and picturesque fjords.

Quesnel to Barkerville: A Journey Through History and Art

barkerville bc

Barkerville Historic Town & Park | Tyler Cave

History and arts aficionados will find a wealth of activities awaiting them along the Gold Rush Trail for their spring getaway. Head up north to the beautiful rugged area of Quesnel as the colourful sounds of springtime fill the air with the vibrant Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts, a celebration taking place in the months of March and April. This exciting event showcases a diverse array of arts, including dance, choreography, speech, and musical performances with a mission to promote and foster excellence in all forms of performing arts.

Don’t forget to venture into the vibrant community of Barkerville next door for their self-guided tour, offering a chance to experience a unique town and its extraordinary heritage buildings. The walk-in gate for this magnificent location rich in history is open until May 31, welcoming visitors with a donation. As of June 1, the main season officially begins, lasting until September 8.

Reaching both Quesnel and Barkerville is easy: you first travel along the stunningly gorgeous Gold Rush Trail (Highway 97), taking in the dramatic scenery. From Quesnel to Barkerville, it’s approximately 75 km east through picturesque countryside, including forests and rolling hills. These roads are particularly beautiful during the spring and summer months when foliage is lush and vibrant.

Fishing Highway: A Playground for Hikers and Wildlife Enthusiasts

fishing highway

Jonny Bierman

No spring getaway is complete without a proper hike and a few wildlife sightings! And the Land of Hidden Waters might just be the perfect spot for that. Situated in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, it’s also known as the “Fishing Highway” (Highway 24), offering a scenic 97-kilometre stretch where you can hike along valleys to discover waterfalls, mountain peaks, and, naturally, abundant fishing and wildlife.

The possibilities for hiking trails are almost endless: from spots suitable for mountain biking like Sheridan Lake to short and easy trails in Deception Falls, all you have to do is put on your hiking boots and choose your preferred location on the map! Of course, always take proper precautions and check weather conditions beforehand.

As nature awakens from its winter slumber, encountering a diverse array of wildlife is possible throughout your adventures in the Land of Hidden Waters. From familiar friendly faces such as small mammals to birds and raptors, it’s also possible to encounter mesmerizing creatures such as both black and grizzly bears, as well as moose, elk, wolves, and coyotes. As amazing as it can be, it’s always important to keep your distance and respect wildlife.

The splendid Fishing Highway is easily accessible, with well-marked road signs guiding travellers whether they’re coming from Vancouver on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) or from Kamloops, taking Highway 5 north towards Clearwater.

Highway 20: Soothing Retreats and Delicious Local Cuisine Along the Way

visit chilcotin bc

Nemaiah Valley | Jesaja Class

If your ideal spring getaway involves disconnecting from the grid and unwinding in a pristine remote location, the Nemiah Valley Lodge offers an exhilarating escape. Located in Nemaiah Valley between Chilko Lake and the Taseko Lakes, in the traditional territory of Xeni Gwet’in (hon-ay gwi-teen) First Nation, this cozy lodge and its cabins provide a mix of western and indigenous-inspired cuisine. Prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and infused with traditional knowledge and techniques, the food offers an immersive cultural experience. Whether you’re travelling with friends, family, a partner, or a group of foodies, it’s an awe-inspiring getaway and a real opportunity to stay away from your phone, as there’s no reception in the valley.

Beyond the delectable dishes, the valley offers incredible wildlife encounters right at your doorstep. One of the last remaining herds of wild horses in North America calls this valley home, living in harmony with grizzly bears, black bears, moose, eagles, and a variety of birds that inhabit the region.

Continuing your travels to Puntzi Lake, located 60 km west of Alexis Creek and nestled 11 km off the highway at Chilanko Forks, offers a captivating experience for bird watchers. This pristine locale serves as a vital food source for the majestic American White Pelican during early spring and throughout the summer months. While you’re there, take delight in observing these magnificent birds as you relax and eat delicious treats at the charming Puntzi Lake Bakery Cafe.

You can’t miss Kinikinik Restaurant where wholesome food made from scratch waits for you. Open from May to October, this restaurant is an important link in the sustainable food chain. All of the meats served and sold are raised and harvested on the ranch, with a pasture-to-plate approach. As you wait for your meal, browse through the gift shop and shop for quality organic groceries.

Bella Coola: The Intersection of Nature and Indigenous Culture

indigenous bc tours

Petroglyph Tours with Copper Sun Journeys | Tyler Cave

Bella Coola isn’t just the heart of The Great Bear Rainforest, one of the world’s largest remaining tracts of coastal temperate rainforest, exhibiting endless beauty. It’s also the ancestral home of the Nuxalk people, an Indigenous First Nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast. This is where untouched culture meets pristine nature: a perfect spring getaway for adventurous souls.

From early to mid-spring, make sure to pay a visit to the rainforest to enjoy the natural splendor:
During the early to mid-spring, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the rainforest and immerse yourself in its natural splendour. Whether you’re fishing, biking, or kayaking, you’re guaranteed to encounter magnificent wonders that are unique to this area.

As spring progresses into June, join Copper Sun Journeys on guided tours led by knowledgeable Nuxalk guides. Delve into the secrets of the region as you learn about the 5000-year-old petroglyphs, explore rock carvings, and discover hidden stories. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and wear proper footwear, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Getting to lovely Bella Coola offers a range of unique options. During the warmer months, you can embark on a scenic 10-12 hour journey aboard BC Ferries from Port Hardy, revelling in stunning views of the coastline and fjords along the way. For a quicker trip, consider scheduling a flight from Vancouver with Pacific Coastal Airlines, with travel times of less than one hour during certain times of the year. Alternatively, if a scenic drive is more your style, take the ‘Bella Coola Hill’ or ‘Freedom Road’ route, descending from the Chilcotin Plateau.

As spring emerges, the possibilities for getaways are plenty. With each passing day, new destinations and events unveil themselves, calling adventurers to explore. So why wait? Get ready to embark on your next springtime adventure!