Quirky Attractions in the Kootenays
Unique, historic, and cultural gems to visit.
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?!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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**!
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!
Check out this short video showcasing this snowmobile trip through BC’s Cariboo.
Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail (GRST) Trip Tips:
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