Follow in the footsteps of history as you explore trails first travelled by British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples and later gold rush explorers. Unique geological formations and diverse ecosystems are found throughout the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail, where hikes can include limestone karsts, alpine meadows and scenic vistas.
Big Bar Lake Provincial Park (2 km/1.2 mi, Easy)
This loop trail in Big Bar Lake Provincial Park takes travellers over the eskers and around the otter marsh. Discover beautiful views of the Marble Range and Fraser Plateau, and bring your binoculars for fantastic bird-watching in the area.
Blackwater Canyon (3 km/1.9 mi, Easy)
A well-marked, round trip hike along the Blackwater River, following Blackwater Canyon through lodgepole pines and flower-filled meadows to the canyon rim – and several viewpoints and picnic sites. Stay away from the edge of the canyon as the terrain is unstable. The trailhead starts at the Blackwater Crossing Recreation Site, 60 km (37 mi) west of Quesnel on Blackwater Road.
Cameron Ridge Trail (14 km/ 9mi, Moderate)
This hike winds through subalpine forest and meadows along windswept ridges. The Cariboo Mountains Lookout at the 3-km (1.9-mi) point of the trail sits atop a 1,000-metre cliff, dropping straight down into the North Arm of Quesnel Lake. The trailhead is about halfway between Barkerville and Likely on Cariboo Lake Road.
Groundhog Lake/Mount Agnes Trail (17 km/11 mi, moderate/strenuous): From Barkerville to Richfield following the route of the original Cariboo Waggon Trail to Summit Rock. Start along the back street of Barkerville.
Grouse Creek Trail – Barkerville to Racetrack Flats (30 km/19 mi, strenuous): Follow in the footsteps of Gold Rush miners travelling to their claims along Grouse Creek. The trail starts along the road just outside of Barkerville, heading across the bridge over Williams Creek, following the road, staying left for 5.5 km (3.4 mi) to signs indicating a right to turn onto Grouse Creek at the junction.
Lowhee to Barkerville (2 km/1.2 mi, easy): An easy walking trail from Lowhee Campground in Barkerville Park with Barkerville Cemetery and Barkerville Historic Town & Park.
Powderhouse Trail (30 km/19 mi, strenuous): Travel this historic hiking trail from the Barkerville area up to the high country at Mount Agnes. The Powder House Trail starts across the meadow from Summit Rock on the Cariboo Waggon Road.
Richfield Cemetery Trail (800 m/0.5 mi, easy/moderate): The trailhead is located near the north side of the Richfield Courthouse and begins with a brief climb but levels off. Consider taking the road out to the Waggon Road for a slightly longer walk.
Williams Creek Loop (10 km/6 mi, moderate): Trailhead sign for the 1861 Gold Rush Pack Trail is found below the Richfield Courthouse.
Collins Overland Trail (33 km/21 mi, Moderate)
This hike follows part of the historic Collins Overland Telegraph Company survey route from Whittler Creek to Pantage Creek. The three separate trails are all well marked. Access is located 70 km (43 mi) from Likely on Cariboo Lake Road, 5 km (3 mi) past Maeford Lake.
Horsefly Lake Provincial Park (Various)
An assortment of hiking trails can be found within the park, leading from the park campground to Viewland Mountain or the alpine meadows at Eureka Peak. You can also explore trails around Horsefly Lake itself.
Quesnel Hiking Trails
Take to paths right downtown, perfect for a good stretch and exploring the city of Quesnel, or head out for a challenging climb and terrific scenery at the following hiking trails:
Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail (450 km/280 mi, strenuous): Also known as the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease trail, this route traverses the province from the intersection of the Blackwater and Fraser Rivers just outside Quesnel to Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park in the Deal Channel north of Bella Coola. Although the entire trail takes three weeks and a lot of preparation to complete, there are a variety of smaller hikes here, crossing through alpine trails, rivers and a fjord.
Beavermouth Recreation Site: A 20-30 minute hike up the creek offers a fantastic view of the waterfalls.
Claymine Low Mobility Trail (1km /0.6 mi, easy): 15 km west of Quesnel on Claymine Rd, the trail meanders through lush forest and around a large boulder that was deposited during the last ice age. An accessible outhouse and information kiosk are located at the trailhead, as well as an accessible picnic table along the trail.
Cottonwood Accessible Trail (3.4 km/2 mi, easy): located approximately 26 km (16 mi) east of Quesnel on the Barkerville Highway, this network of gentle-grade-trails wind around the perimeter of the Cottonwood Historic Site and along the Cottonwood River.
Fuel Management Trails (various): a hard-packed, low-grade network of forested paths perfect for all ages with up to 3 km (2 mi) of trails to check out. There is a ½ km low-mobility loop suitable for wheelchairs and strollers that has three beautiful log benches. The trails wind through a fuel-managed demonstration forest, to illustrate fuel-treated stands of trees, and an educational kiosk is on-site with additional information on wildfires and fuel management.
Hallis Lake Trail Network (750 m/0.5 mi, easy): a crushed gravel trail that descends down to a lookout over Hallis Lake.
Hangman Springs Trails (various): just 20 minutes from Quesnel, this trail network has some great views of Baker Creek. These trails are shared year round, so watch for (or bring) dirt bikes, horses and hiker, as well as snowmobile and snowshoe in the winter.
Hixon Falls (3.9 km/2.5 mi, easy): an out-and-back trail located about an hour north of Quesnel but well worth the visit to see the 100-foot cascading waterfall . Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 1 min to complete, or there is a 250 m trail to the bottom of the falls.
Kosta’s Cove Accessible Trail (2km/1.2 mi, easy): an accessible trail that begins at Kosta’s Cove Community Park and runs along the shore of Ten Mile Lake, looping back around through lush forest. Select from the well-packed gravel and a gently graded path along the shoreline, or tackle more difficult terrain through the forested section.
Pinnacles Provincial Park (1km, strenuous): located 7 km (4 mi) west of Quesnel, this provincial park is open year-round and offers one of the best views of the city plus vistas high above Baker Creek and the park’s famous “hoodoo” rock formations.
Riverfront Trail (various): paved trails providing access to the river and a scenic, peaceful circle tour through the community of Quesnel. The downtown loop is 5 km (3 mi) in length and takes about an hour to complete. The West Quesnel loop is 4.3 km (2.5 mi) long. Signage situated along this walking trail provides insight into the history, nature, and First Nations of the area.
Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park (various): just 10 minutes north of Quesnel, this lake offers year-round recreation. A nature trail to a large beaver pond offers the chance to view diverse wildlife up close. There are over 10 km (6 mi) of trails to explore and in the winter feel free to bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis. If you’d like to try your hand at catching a fish, you can also borrow an auger, fishing rod and tackle free of charge from the Quesnel Visitor Centre (with refundable deposit).
West Fraser Timber Park (various): located in the largest of Quesnel’s city parks, offering a system of hiking trails.
Wonderland Trail Network: (various): a recently updated network of multi-use trails located south of Quesnel.
Respecting Communities and Cultures while hiking in the Land Without Limits
When travelling through our beautiful Land Without Limits, some undesignated hiking trails and backcountry routes will take you through Indigenous community areas. If possible, ask if you are permitted to hike through their land before you arrive. If you plan to take photos of buildings, art, artifacts or people, kindly ask permission first. By respecting the communities and culture you visit during your journey, you help make the experience a positive one for all involved.
Responsible Hiking in the Land Without Limits
No matter where you are hiking throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, use the following tips to ensure a safe and successful experience:
- Never attempt a trail that is too difficult for your capabilities;
- Carry the appropriate gear and supplies for the length of hike;
- Pack extra clothing for changes in weather conditions or an unexpected overnight stay;
- Make sure that someone knows where you are hiking and when you are expected to return – use the AdventureSmart Trip Planning App;
- Be aware of wildlife in the area and how to respond; and
- Always pack out what you bring in.
By being responsible hikers and travellers, we can all continue to enjoy the exceptional beauty of BC wilderness and preserve it for future generations.