What really compels us to call the rainiest climate in Canada home?
Ask any Vancouverite why they chose to move to BC, and they’ll talk at length about the natural beauty of the region, the ability to go hiking and hit the beach in the same day, and the endless outdoor adventures. But call the city home for a few years, and you’ll find you’ve hit the same hiking trails again and again.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is the birthplace of BC’s Gold Rush history. Let these hikes take you back in time to experience Canada’s true cowboy history with ghost towns and pioneer cabins, or take in the geographic wonder of the volcanic Chilcotin Plateau, as well as ancient hoodoos. Whether you’re looking for a gentle walk or an epic uphill journey, these little-known destination hikes will get you out of Metro Vancouver — which means quieter trails and new adventures.
Fawn Creek Trails at Horse Lake
What: The Fawn Creek Trails offer 19 kilometres of maintained paths surrounding Horse Lake. Popular in both winter and summer, the trails mainly follow old non-status roads that are no longer in use which makes them a great destination for hiking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.
How Long: Various trails totaling 19 kilomteres
Where: Horse Lake
Getting There: From 100 Mile House, travel approximately 8 kilometres south on Highway 97 and turn east onto Highway 24. Follow this for approximately 25 kilometres and turn left onto Fawn Creek Road.
Rainbow Range Trail
What: One of the numerous trails located in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, this hike truly lives up to its name with its bright rainbow assortment of wildflowers along the pathways. Experienced hikers can enjoy the picturesque vistas overlooking the Rainbow and Coast Mountains, plus meadows with glistening blue lakes.
How Long: 7 kilometres
Where: Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
Getting There: The hike begins off Highway 20, just west of the park entrance near Heckman Pass.
Big Bar Lake Provincial Park
What: If you’re looking to upgrade your hike to include camping, you’ve come to the right place. Northwest of Clinton, the Big Bar Lake Provincial Park offers a family-friendly hike along the Otter Marsh Interpretive Trail. Think scenic wetlands, trout fishing, beaches, and beautiful lakeside campsites. The region also features many popular dude ranches, like the Big Bar Guest Ranch.
How Long: 3.5 kilometres
Where: Big Bar Lake Provincial Park
Getting There: The park is about 42 kilometres northwest of Clinton, accessible via Highway 97.
Fox Mountain Trails
What: The Fox Mountain trail network is literally a mountain biker’s paradise. The extensive network of downhill paths offer some steep, thrilling runs for intermediate to expert bikers. The trail system is also shared with hikers and offers a solid cardio workout.
How Long: 28 trails totaling 45 kilometres
Where: Williams Lake
Getting There: Park in the lot on Mason Road off Fox Mountain Road in Williams Lake.
Williams Lake River Valley Trail
What: Easily accessible from the downtown region of Williams Lake, this 14-kilometre trail follows the river and canyon from the lake to the river’s confluence with the Fraser River. It’s a popular and easy pick that allows you to see the best of central BC as you walk past meadows, sagebrush, juniper, and hoodoos.
How Long: 12 kilometres
Where: Williams Lake
Getting There: The entrance and parking lot is off Mackenzie Avenue in Williams Lake.
Barkerville Cemetery Trail
What: Enjoy a gentle, historic hike less than 1 kilometre long through the area surrounding the gold rush ghost town of Barkerville. This unique route begins next to St. Saviour’s Anglican Church and follows along a portion of the old Cariboo Wagon Road to the Barkerville Cemetery, making it the perfect laid-back hike for ghost-hunting and history.
How Long: Under 1 kilometre
Getting There: Barkerville is located approximately 88 kilometres east of Quesnel at the end of Highway 26, or only 8 kilometres from Wells.
Nuxalk Carrier Grease Trail/Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail
What: Serious hikers only: We bring you the Nuxalk Carrier Grease Trail (also known as the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail). It was originally used by the Nuxalk and Carrier people as a major trade and communication route. This famous trail, which cuts through Tweedsmuir Park, is truly epic in length if you complete the entire path. Just remember that it’s unmarked and services are limited, meaning this is truly an experts-only journey.
How Long: 420 kilometres (3 weeks), with options to complete smaller portions
Where: Between Quesnel and Bella Coola
Getting There: The trail originates at the Blackwater River north of Quesnel. You’ll want to prepare in advance with a guidebook.
Current Trail Status: Various – search for the section you’ll be completing on the BC Parks website
Marble Canyon Trail
What: This park is referred to by local climbers as the “Cinderella of BC Rock” because the terrain is so perfectly untouched. Follow the interpretive hiking trail to explore the wetlands around the lake, which offer great opportunities to spot flora and fauna like waterfowl and songbirds. Keep your eyes peeled for black bears – this is the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, after all.
Where: Marble Canyon, near Cache Creek and Lillooet
Getting There: Travel 40 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek or 35 kilometres northeast of Lillooet.
Canim River Trail
What: This moderately easy trail can be completed in just over an hour and takes hikers past old cabins for a little glimpse of the region’s recent history. Keep your eyes peeled for the remains of the Scott family homestead, located on the riverbank, which dates as far back as 1907.
How Long: 2 kilometres
Where: Wells Gray Provincial Park
Getting There: Travel just over one hour east of Canim Lake towards Mahood Lake. The trailhead is located approximately 1 kilometre past the Mahood Lake Campground.
What: The Deception Falls route is a short, steep trip through the park that travels up to a ridge overlooking a cascading waterfall. The hypnotic, thundering sound of the falls grows louder as you hike up the switchbacks, which are sheltered by a thick, lush forest cover. It doesn’t get much more BC than this.
How Long: 0.8 kilometres
Where: Wells Gray Provincial Park
Getting There: As with Canim River Trail, drive east one hour from Canim Lake towards Mahood Lake. Drive around the north side of the lake until the road narrows. The trailhead should appear just before the road ends.