The bright colours of the South Cariboo in the fall make a stunning background for an active getaway. Whether you’re into walking, cycling, riding, birding, canoeing, or fishing, BC’s Land of Hidden Waters has you covered. Don’t forget your camera, as the thick summer foliage has fallen away to reveal spectacular vistas during the day, and the clear night skies reveal a blanket of stars. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
100 Mile House, with its many excellent restaurants and accommodation options, is the hub of the South Cariboo. It’s also a fabulous location for some autumn bird watching. Just west of the town’s information centre is a peaceful, eight-hectare wetland marsh bursting with winged life.
Spend a night at the Days Inn 100 Mile House before setting out on your journey, or travel 20 kilometres east and take a little detour to Ruth Lake Provincial Park. Seek out a scenic picnic spot on a nice sandy beach, then head to Ruth Lake Lodge Resort for an overnight stay.
Canim Lake is 37 kilometres long and is surrounded by rugged hills and mountains. You’ll find family-oriented resorts and some great fall fishing, hiking, and canoeing spots. Archaeologists studying Indigenous pictographs and ancient pit houses in the area suggest that Plains Indigenous People came to this area after their prairie buffalo had been depleted. They found the fish and other wildlife to be plentiful, and this hasn’t changed much since.
Enjoy a restful night at Canim Lake Resort, South Point Resort, or Kayanara Guest Ranch and Resort , then head out on South Canim Lake Road toward Lone Butte. Consider a six-kilometre detour on the northeast fork for a short walk to spectacular Canim and Mahood Falls. Just beyond these falls is Mahood Lake, part of Wells Gray Provincial Park, and a longer hike to Deception Falls. (Note that some amenities at Wells Grey Provincial Park may not be available this fall so check before you go.)
Travel back through 100 Mile House and south along Highway 97, then east on Highway 24 to Lone Butte. Once the Cariboo’s largest town and a busy rail station, Lone Butte is a gateway community to the Fishing Highway (also called the Interlakes or Little Fort Highway). The plug of an ancient volcano—a columnar basalt that was formed within a prehistoric volcano six million years ago—led to the community’s name, and the village boasts the last standing water tower along the rail line.
Don’t leave town without visiting the Iron Horse Pub for a brew and their famous bison meatloaf. And if you need some equipment for your trip down this popular fishing route, stop in at Lone Butte Sporting Goods Ltd.
Highway 24 offers a scenic autumn drive, 97 kilometres to Little Fort on the Yellowhead Highway, accessing an area of more than 100 lakes within an hour’s drive (aptly called “the Interlakes”).
As its more popular name suggests, the fishing here is incredible. Cast a line for rainbow, brook, and lake trout, burbot, and kokanee. Interlakes-area resorts and shops can supply you with all your fishing needs. The first don’t-miss stop is Sheridan Lake, well known for its rainbow trout trophy fishing. The canoeing in this area is also excellent, and the guest ranches are plentiful if you’re looking to go for a horseback ride.
Spend a night here at Sheridan Lake Resort, Loon Bay Resort, or at nearby Fawn Lake Resort. Next head east to Bridge Lake, a beautiful recreational lake 10 minutes east. Cottonwood Bay Resort a great overnight option here.
Lac des Roches, at 14 km long, is one of the most photographed lakes in BC. There is a lovely lookout point over the picturesque lake—with its pretty little islands and narrow channels—from the Macdonald Summit rest area at the lake’s east end. The fly fishing here is top notch, as are the amenities at Lac Des Roches Resort.
A side-trip to Watch Lake and Green Lake in the fall is a must, with the golden leaves of aspen and larch trees lining the roadway. Saddle up for a horseback adventure, and watch for eagles, osprey, and loons. The 15-kilometre-long Green Lake gets its greenish hues, and thus its name, from algae and other microorganisms in the water, which makes for a stunning backdrop to fall photography.
This alternate return route takes you south of Lone Butte and west to 70 Mile House before returning north to 100 Mile. Accommodations in the area include Watch Lake Lodge, Flying U Ranch, and Wind and the Pillows B&B.
70 Mile House is an old roadhouse location and one of the first stopping places on the Cariboo Waggon Road. No trip to 70 Mile is complete without a visit to the roadside Sugar Shack, where you can cozy up to the outdoor campfire as you sip a coffee sweetened with maple syrup, or enjoy some of the most authentic poutine outside of Quebec. From here, continue exploring the Cariboo or South Chilcotin, or head home full of memories and photos from your visit.
This road trip was created specifically for the unique travel circumstances of 2020. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm availability.
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