No matter how you choose to travel it, the Cariboo trail leads to adventure.
Whether you’re watching the sun set from atop a chestnut mare at a guest ranch or racing down the single-track via your two-wheeled ride, the many trails around the Cariboo let you choose your own path.
From the well-trodden Gold Rush trail to the road less-travelled, where will your explorations lead you?
Horseback riders – In a region steeped in cowboy culture, from the Williams Lake Stampede to today’s working ranches, it’s no surprise that horses figure prominently in many Cariboo vacations. That’s not to say you need to round the barrels at the stampede to live the life while you’re here! North of Quesnel, book a trail ride with Triple J Ranch, or head south past 100 Mile House to Spring Lake Ranch, where guests can enjoy a trail ride around lake. (Or, let someone else do the driving with a wagon ride, followed with stories shared around a campfire, of course.) Immerse yourself in the working life at one of the region’s many guest ranches or get away from it all with rustic luxury – the experience at the end of the trail is yours to choose.
Hikers – Waterfalls or expansive ranch lands? Mountaintop views or meadows? No matter the destination, the journey is so worthwhile, and depending on your chosen experience, it can be as involved – or not – as you like. One of the South Cariboo’s most striking natural sites, for example, is Mahood Falls, with views found just a kilometre or so along a forested path from the parking lot.
By Riske Creek, west of Williams Lake, visit Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park and look for bighorns among the hoodoos at Farwell Canyon or ancient pictographs on the cliff faces. Near Wells, stroll the mountain meadows alight with ladyslipper and Indian Paintbrush ﬂowers, or from Xatśūll Heritage Village, explore the network of hiking and mountain biking trails the Xatśūll First Nation has developed, including the Cross Country Trail connecting the village with Whispering Willows Campsite – one of the longest trails in the region.
Mountain bikers – In a region renowned for its mountain biking, it’s no wonder that the Cariboo tops many must-ride lists. In Williams Lake, speed downhill at DeSous Trail or Jimmy’s Fox Trail, part of the extensive Fox Mountain Network, or opt for a leisurely cycle along the Williams Lake River Valley Trail. The South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park offers more than 200 kilometres of trail alone, winding through grasslands, sub-alpine and alpine meadows and mountains.
Long-distance cyclists might pedal the Gold Rush Trail, which follows Indigenous peoples’ trading routes, expanded during the gold rushes of 1858 to 1862. Alternatively, pack your bike for side-trips along the route and drive the Gold Rush Trail from start to finish.
Walkers – For history buffs, there’s a lot to explore in the Cariboo. Whether it’s a self-guided tour of the 108 Mile Heritage Site, an interpretive walk through Williams Lake, or a browse of the murals in Quesnel, two feet are the perfect “vehicle” for experiencing the rich history and culture of the Cariboo. After an interactive stroll through Barkerville – the largest living-history museum in western North America – venture beyond the town along hiking trails leading to the cemetery, courthouse and lookouts sharing views of the historic Gold Rush town.
To start exploring your path to adventure, visit explorecariboo.com!