Vast sunny skylines, endless lakes, and welcoming smiles as wide as the Fraser river – is it any wonder a destination as epic as British Columbia’s Cariboo stands atop many a bucket list?
Even in winter, when many areas of the West Coast are socked in under clouds, the Cariboo tends to look on the brighter side, with crisp air and blue skies presenting the perfect backdrop for snowy adventures.
But for now, let’s look ahead at what might be on the itinerary for next spring and summer. After all, an epic adventure deserves some careful planning!
Go big in the outdoors
There’s a reason any discussion of the Cariboo naturally heads outdoors, particularly in the warmer seasons: No matter your passion or chosen pursuit, you’ll likely find it here!
Numerous lakes and rivers make this a must-visit area for anglers, not to mention paddlers and hikers who can explore so many different landscapes in a single region.
From the hoodoos and sand dunes of Farewell Canyon, near Williams Lake – watch for the big horn sheep! – to a thrilling river boat ride along the Fraser from Quesnel, there’s so much to experience.
For something “uniquely Cariboo,” head west from 100 Mile House to the Bridge Lake Ice Caves, where ice builds up in the cracks, holes and small canyons of the lake-side bluffs. If conditions are right, ice remains in the caves year-round.
Paddlers with more time to explore will want to put the Bowron Lake Circuit on their to-do list, but be sure to plan well ahead to visit this popular destination.
For quieter pursuits, stroll Quesnel’s Riverfront Trail, view the valley from Pinnacles Park or see who you can spy at Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake. Here, the marsh, island and lake environments – and the numerous species making their home here – make this a premier location for nature appreciation.
Golfers, of course, enjoy the best of both worlds, playing gorgeous links that meander lake-side at the 108 Mile Golf Club or the Coyote Rock Golf Course, on T’exelcemc traditional territory near Williams Lake.
Climb high, descend fast … or slow
For those preferring two wheels to two feet, the Cariboo has earned a well-deserved international reputation among mountain bikers, who commend both the diverse landscape and the well-developed trail network.
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Options abound for all ages and skill levels, and no matter where you want to ride – from challenging mountain single-track to gentle flow courses through rolling hills and sagebrush – communities from 100 Mile House to Wells have you covered!
And if you simply prefer long, leisurely rides along quiet country roads, you have no shortage of routes to take you away from it all.
Connect to a rich past
Of course, no visit to the Cariboo is complete without a little time exploring the region’s diverse heritage. Fortunately, many historic locations are also some of its most striking, so outdoor recreation and historical pursuits often go hand-in-hand here!
Head north from 100 Mile to the 108 Mile Heritage Site, a collection of buildings from the central Cariboo, along with donated antiques and artifacts. Be sure to visit the Xatśūll Heritage Village to learn about the Xatśūll Nation’s long history and culture.
We know historic Barkerville will be on your to-do list, but why not extend your visit with overnight camping or a B&B in picture-perfect community of Wells? From there, you can take the road less travelled to Likely to explore the Cedar City Museum, with its outdoor mining museum displaying mock shafts and old machinery, then venture 20 minutes along a steep gravel road to Quesnelle Forks, a ghost town – once the oldest town in the Cariboo – where you can wander original log cabins and a heritage graveyard.
And on the odd day when the sun doesn’t shine – or it’s shining too brightly – take a break from the outdoors to soak in the diverse history held in the numerous museums or heritage sites throughout the region.
Ready to plan your own epic Cariboo adventure? Visit explorecariboo.com
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