Ranchlands & Rivers Circle Route

3 to 7 days, 836.88 km (520.01 mi)

Travel across roaring rivers, delve into historic Gold Country and experience outdoor adventures. Enjoy dramatic scenery at every turn, whether rafting the tumu

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Part 1

Fraser Canyon

Travel across roaring rivers, delve into historic Gold Country and experience outdoor adventures. Enjoy dramatic scenery at every turn, whether rafting the tumultuous Fraser River or roaming high in the saddle.

Start your journey in Hope, nestled against the Cascade Mountains on the banks of the Fraser River, then head north on Highway 1. You’ll follow the mighty Fraser River, named after explorer Simon Fraser, the first European to navigate its raging waters.

Once a transportation link for wagons and stage coaches travelling the old Cariboo Wagon Road, the Fraser Canyon roadway now transports you through awe-inspiring scenery.

Cutting a heart-stopping swath through the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Mountains, the river creates a colossal valley of lush forests, dramatic gorges and mountainside farmlands. Stop at Hell’s Gate to see nature at its most magnificent. More than 760 million litres of water/200 million gallons surge through this narrow, 35-metre/110-ft gorge every minute – twice the volume of Niagara Falls. Take an airtram on a smooth 152-m/500-ft descent above the gorge to feel the rush of raging waters, view the International Fishways that flank the gorge and maybe even spot rafters shooting the rapids.

Head north to Lytton.

Part 2

Lytton and Lillooet

In Lytton, the Fraser and Thompson rivers meet to create a dramatic surge that’s earned this area the title of “Rafting Capital of Canada.” Rapids such as Devil’s Gorge and Witch’s Cauldron swirl and dip to heights of 4.5m/15ft. Want more? Tackle the near-continuous rapids of the Nahatlatch River 45 minutes south. Scenic fishing, hiking and camping are also nearby.

Continue north to Lillooet – official start of the old Cariboo Wagon Road – to try panning for gold. Snap a photo of the Mile 0 cairn before journeying on Highway 99 back to Highway 97, and then head north towards the cowboy town of Clinton and 93 Mile House.

Part 3

Interlakes and the "Fishing Highway"

At 93 Mile, turn east on Highway 24, better known as the “Fishing Highway,” to make your way through the Interlakes community. This famous road, stretching from here to Little Fort, is your access to more than 100 fishing lakes. Stop to fly fish or troll for trout, burbot and kokanee. Paddle some of the smaller pristine lakes, enjoy wildlife viewing or set off on a backcountry trail ride at one of the area’s many guest ranches.

Turn south at Little Fort and head to Kamloops.

Part 4

Kamloops

Kamloops is home of the annual Kamloops Pro Rodeo; this region’s rivers, mountains, lakes and grasslands will leave an indelible impression on you.

Stay at any of the area’s many resorts, from the four-season Sun Peaks Resort to fly-fishing lodges, remote cabins and luxury retreats. Some resorts cater to the entire family while others provide pampering and solitude for a special getaway complete with spa services and gourmet dining.

Visit the Kamloops Heritage Railway to ride a historic steam engine and watch a re-enactment of an Old West-style train robbery.

Head south on Highway 5 to Merritt and the sunny Nicola Valley – home of grasslands, rolling hills and shimmering lakes.

Part 5

Nicola Valley

Ranching is a huge part of the Nicola Valley and the area around Merritt. Listen to the birds along the Harmon Lake Interpretive Trail in Kane Valley, or explore the Nicola Valley Museum & Archives, which depicts valley life at the turn of the 20th century.

From Merritt, head south on Highway 5A (Princeton-Kamloops Highway) to Princeton.

Part 6

Princeton to Hope

Hike or bike the TransCanada Trail along one of two rivers that meet in Princeton. To the west, you’ll go through tunnels and over bridges; to the east, the higher elevation takes you through grasslands, lakes and forests. Back on the road, continue west along Highway 3 to Hope.

Driving Directions

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