Cariboo Wagon Road and the Gold Rush Trail

3 to 7 days, 472.86 km (293.82 mi)

Discover BC’s gold rush past on this road trip from Lillooet to Barkerville.

Share  Facebook Twitter | Print Your browser does not support SVG.

Part 1

Lillooet to Clinton

Lillooet | Michael Bednar

Start the journey in Lillooet, Mile “0” of the 1860s Cariboo Waggon Road. Have a photo taken at the Mile “0” cairn on Main Street then stop by the Miyazaki Heritage House, built by one of Lillooet’s first settlers. Visit the Lillooet Museum for the history of the town.

Take Highway 99 to Clinton, and stop at Marble Canyon Provincial Park. This beautiful canyon features spectacular limestone cliffs. Take a picnic at the park’s Turquoise Lake and see the nearby cascading waterfall. At the junction of Highway 99 and Highway 97 is historic Hat Creek Ranch (closed for the 2020 season), which was a working ranch during the 1860s. Today, learn about its history, hear tales of ghost stories, and ride on an original stagecoach.

Optional: On the way to Clinton take Loon Lake Road off Highway 97 for a fishing break at, you guessed it: Loon Lake.

Part 2

Clinton to 100 Mile House

Bighorn Sheep | Kari Medig

Follow Highway 97 to the village of Clinton and visit the local museum, built in 1892 from hand-made bricks. Located just north of Clinton is Chasm Provincial Park (commonly referred to as a the “mini-Grand Canyon”). Rich shades of red, brown, yellow, and purple are on display along the canyon walls, a result of successive lava flows over the past 10 million years. There are also plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities here—bighorn sheep, moose, and mule deer are often spotted.

Stay in 100 Mile House and explore the 8-hectare (19-acre) 100 Mile Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary to view gulls, swans, ducks, and blackbirds, or see an original Barnard Express BX Stage Coach. Stroll through Centennial Park, visit Bridge Creek Falls, or take in the Cariboo Mountains from the Mt. Begbie Lookout Tower. Stop by the 100 Mile House Visitor Centre to see the world’s largest cross-country skis.

Part 3

108 Mile Ranch

108 Mile Ranch Historic Site, 108 Mile Lake | Michael Bednar

Next up is 108 Mile Ranch. This unique attraction consists of 12 historic buildings, including an original 1908 Clydesdale barn (the largest of its kind left in Canada), the 105 Mile roadhouse, the 108 Mile telegraph office, a hotel, and a store. See how pioneers lived during the gold rush with a visit here.

Continue north to Williams Lake, past the communities of Lac La Hache (dubbed “the Cariboo’s longest town”) and 150 Mile House. Visit nearby Churn Creek Protected Area.

Part 4

Williams Lake

Dog Creek Valley in Churn Creek Protected Area, southeast of Williams Lake | Michael Bednar

Williams Lake is considered the hub of the Central Cariboo, so there’s plenty to do and see. Stop in at the Williams Lake Visitor Centre to see an amazing compilation of artifacts at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin and learn about the history of ranching and rodeo in the area; it’s also home to BC’s Cowboy Hall of Fame. While in Williams Lake, hike the popular River Valley Trail that leads from town to quiet forest or head out on more than 200 kilometres of single track mountain biking trails within city limits, in what is the largest mountain biking park in BC’s Interior.

Optional: From Williams Lake, head northeast to the town of Likely to see the largest man-made bullion pit in North America or visit the Cedar City Museum. Stop at the nearby Quesnelle Forks Restoration Site and Ghost Town to explore a historic graveyard and the remains of Canada’s oldest Chinese tong house. Visit Horsefly for great camping spots and hiking options.

Part 5

Quesnel

Quesnel Forks ghost town | magnell_photography

Drive north along Highway 97 to Quesnel, home to the world’s largest gold pan. Visit the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives to check out Mandy the famous haunted doll, or stroll through the Antique Machinery Park. Stop in for a local brew at Barkerville Brewing Co. Coffee-fans will want to check the 19th century dairy barn that is EdgeWood Coffee & Co. Take the 9.5-kilometre Riverfront Trail and cross the historic Walking Bridge.

East of Quesnel, visit the Cottonwood House Historic Site on your way to Barkerfille (this provincial historic site is wheelchair accessible, including 3 kilometres of trails that loop around the site alongside the Cottonwood River).

 

Part 6

Barkerville

Barkerville in the fall | @tylermcave

Head east on Highway 26 to Barkerville Historic Town, the final destination on the Cariboo Wagon Road. Barkerville is the largest historic site in BC, home to more than 125 heritage buildings. Tour the town in a stagecoach, witness authentic gold rush theatre, or try your hand at panning for gold. Don’t miss this unique, living history site.

Optional: Bowron Lakes Provincial Park is located east of Barkerville. Situated on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range, these lakes are world-renowned for their canoe circuit—a chain of lakes, waterways, and connecting portages.

Optional: Backtrack on Highway 26 to Quesnel and head north on Highway 97 to Prince George. From there, drive west for adventures along Highway 16, or, continue on Highway 97 (the historic Alaska Highway) toward Dawson Creek to explore the Peace Region and the Northern Rockies.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions

Route Map

Did you know that the entire Gold Rush Trail extends from New Westminster to Prince George?

Explore More
The Cariboo Highway. Photo: Michael Bednar

Start Planning

Know Before You Travel

What's open and how to travel in BC this summer.

Travel Updates
Drive BC

Information about road closures, major events, and transportation delays.

Get Travel Information
BC Parks

Check provincial campgrounds and park closures.

Check for Updates
Adventure Smart

Always check trail conditions before you head out, and no matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared.

Plan Your Route
Camping

Tips for the experienced and inexperienced campers alike.

Find a Place to Camp
Weather

Get weather alerts and check conditions before you travel.

Check Conditions

On this route

#explorebc

See what's happening now with these recent posts.