A Snowmobiling Trip Along the Gold Rush Trail

A Snowmobiling Trip Along the Gold Rush Trail

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My phone rings and it’s my friend Geoff who lives in BC’s Cariboo region. Every time I get a call from this guy it means there’s a new adventure to be had. He starts off with, “You want to go on a snowmobiling trip along the Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo Mountains and capture some shots?” I quickly answer, “When do we leave?!”

Following the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail in BC's Cariboo

Following the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail in BC’s Cariboo

The plan is to join the BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) on a week-long commemorative snowmobile ride along the historic Gold Rush Trail. The group is to start in Kamloops and we will intercept them near the hub of the Cariboo, Williams Lake. We will be riding with them along one of the most scenic parts of the region, right through to the historic communities of Wells and Barkerville.

Snowmobiling in Wells, BC

Wheeler and Geoff Sledding in Wells. Photo: Geoff Moore

Originating in the 1850s, the Gold Rush Trail is the route along which many people travelled in the hopes of striking gold. Today, locals and visitors alike can ride the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail (GRST), immersing themselves in its rich past. The cool thing about this route is that it appeals to different levels of riding; whether you are looking for a soft adventure or a rugged experience, you can find it here.

Sledders taking in views at Roundtop Mountain

Sledders taking in views at Roundtop Mountain

I have spent little time on a snowmobile, but after meeting the group and getting a safety brief, I can tell this is going to be a unique BC experience to remember. So with my camera gear packed on the back of my rental sled, we follow the trail deep into the Cariboo Mountains, pit-stopping at various communities along the way. We ride past snowy meadows, frozen brooks, and massive lakes taking in the beauty of the region around every turn.

Sunset on a sled at Quesnel Lake near Likely

Sunset on a sled at Quesnel Lake near Likely

We join the group in the South Cariboo near Lac La Hache, riding our way along the GRST to Horsefly, where we refuel our sleds and stomachs. In Likely*, we spend the night and I step into the pub feeling proud that I had kept up with the pack. I feel like an explorer, so I ask the bartender, “Can I exchange a tale of adventure for one of your fine brews?” He laughs, “Sure.” But I still need to pay for the beer. There really is nothing like putting in a full day of riding in BC’s wilderness to make you feel like an adventurer.

Yanks Peak Sledders

The BCSF crew crossing Yanks Peak in BC’s Cariboo

With each day, the journey gets better. A combo of trail riding, fresh powder, wide-open spaces and unlimited mountain-top views makes for a sledder’s dream. Some highlights for me are Roundtop Mountain, Yanks Peak, and the Groundhog Lake area. We even get to sled through historic Barkerville**!

Snowmobiling into historic Barkerville

Snowmobiling into historic Barkerville

The Cariboo has delivered yet another tale of adventure. The BCSF organized an epic snowmobiling trip with many snowmobile clubs supporting the ride along the way. Best of all, we met a ton of awesome riders that share an enthusiasm for snowmobiling around BC. So if you ever receive a call from a fellow adventurer, or want to make your own snowmobile voyage happen, make sure to explore BC’s Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail!

Aerial Sled Groundhog Lake

Rooster powder tail on frozen Groundhog Lake in BC’s Cariboo

Check out this short video showcasing this snowmobile trip through BC’s Cariboo.

Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail (GRST) Trip Tips:

  • Ensure you are prepared for backcountry travel. Visit Adventure Smart and Avalanche Canada for more information.
  • There are multiple entrance points to experience the GRST.
  • The GRST was originally intended to start at Clinton and end up in Wells-Barkerville linking communities along the way (463 km/288 mi). The remaining sections required for completion are between Clinton – 70 Mile House and Horsefly – Likely.
  • For detailed info, see the GRST website
  • *You cannot legally ride the section between Horsefly and Likely. During our particular ride, special permission was arranged by the BCSF.
  • **The snowmobile ride along the main street of Barkerville was prearranged by the BCSF with permission from Barkerville.