Are you ready for the ultimate road trip?
By Jo Johnson
This summer, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC wants to take you down so many roads less travelled, you’ll feel like you’re living in that famous Robert Frost poem—except in this version, you’ll get to take all the roads less taken, not just one! Take a cruise with us into British Columbia’s land without limits, guaranteed to strike wonder, and keep you coming back for more.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of BC is one of the most diverse, idyllic, mind-blowingly exciting regions to visit in the province. Are you a History buff? A sightseer? Outdoor recreation or backcountry enthusiast? Mountain Biking aficionado? How about a fishing addict? Wildlife connoisseur? Whatever revs your engines, we’re sending you there, one road less travelled at a time, and the best thing about it is that all of the roads are connected!
Nowhere else in the world can you take a week or two road trip that will allow you to retrace the famed route of First Nations peoples and prospectors during the gold rush of the 1860s; fish over 100 lakes in less than 100 km span; roll through cowboy country, panoramic peaks and backcountry vistas in the same day; and then end up at the ocean watching whales and wolves swimming in the inlets while rare white Kermode Spirit Bears fish for salmon nearby.
The topography of British Columbia was built on gold—in the form of massive placer deposits discovered along the Fraser River and all the way up into the Cariboo district. Once word of the discovery caught on in the 1860s, droves of prospectors from all over the world flooded into Victoria and New Westminster, BC with dreams of striking it rich and finding their fortunes. Hordes of men and women gathered provisions for the harrowing three-week journey inland and then set out along the gold route—along the Fraser River all the way up to the Cariboo district. With the help of many First Nations guides, who showed them the way using their ancient trade routes, a massive influx of people not only sought gold but also settled in and built communities along the way, falling in love with the raw nature and abundant wildlife all around them. Follow their journey from New Westminster up the mighty Fraser River and all the way up to Barkerville Historic Town & Park in the Cariboo to strike gold on the Gold Rush Trail.
If you live to fish, you haven’t lived until you’ve fished BC’s famous Fishing Highway—Highway 24. Within this 97-km stretch of highway (beginning in Little Fort and continuing to 93 Mile House on BC Highway 97), over 100 well-stocked lakes ensure that the fish are always biting and the fishing tales are always being passed around. The lakes in the area contain a mix of wild and stocked trout—Brook, Bull, Burbot, Char, Kokanee, Lake, and Rainbow—and some even contain a few species of whitefish. Whatever floats your boat, be it trolling, spin casting, or fly fishing, Highway 24 is a mecca for fishing fans around the world.
Even if fishing isn’t your thing, with numerous hiking trails and parks, campsites, luxury and rustic resorts, and water sports available in this gorgeous, wildlife-rich area, there is always something to keep you busy and strike wonder even if you’re not casting a line.
Cowboys, epic adventures, grasslands, mountains, rivers and lakes. The Chilcotin Highway—aka Highway 20—is a 457 km expanse of epic scenery, abundant wildlife, never-ending wilderness, and peace and quiet that extends from Williams Lake to Bella Coola, BC. This area is known for wilderness adventure resorts, epic mountain biking and horseback trips, rodeos, secluded lakes abundant with fish, and a rich history of cowboys and ranching.
Travelling this peaceful and secluded highway will send you back to a quieter time where people lived off the land in small communities, enjoyed being surrounded by big skies and backcountry and life was slower and simpler in this land without limits.
Spirit Bears, swimming wolves, whales and wildlife; coastal rainforest and majestic mountains; First Nations culture and ocean creatures abound in this ancient area of BC’s coast. Arguably the most diverse area in BC, the Great Bear Rainforest not only encompasses boreal forests and giant craggy peaks full of ungulates and apex predators, but it also includes a giant stretch of protected coastal rainforest along a pristine coastline teeming with sea life, black bears and grizzlies, and wolves who swim from island to island regularly.
Our Great Bear Rainforest loop—assured to strike awe in everyone who makes the trek— begins and ends in Vancouver and encompasses parts of Vancouver Island, the Great Bear Rainforest, and the Chilcotin.
Deciding which route to take and where to stop on these four epic road trips can be a bit daunting when looking at the map of the region. That’s why we have prepared four itineraries specifically designed to offer an excellent balance of opportunities and insider’s tips to what is available in each route. Whether you roll down one or two or decide to experience all four, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has it all.
So grab your gear and a sense of adventure, gas up and let’s get on the road!