Touring & Camping
Whether adventurers prefer the high-tech flexibility of the latest tenting gear or road tripping via luxury RV with all the comforts of home, the four distinct sub-regions of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Fraser Canyon offer some of B.C.’s most stunningly scenic and ecologically unique landscapes – plus a tantalizing roster of experiences en route.
At the heart of Nuxalk (nu-halk) and Carrier First Nations territory in the Coast Mountain range is Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, a vast, rugged preserve boasting four distinct vegetation zones, two vehicle access sites and remote wilderness camping. Along the central coast’s 15,000km/9,320mi of pristine shoreline, several ecological preserves and conservancies encompass no less than six marine parks, and at Hagensborg in the Bella Coola Valley, a local tour operator maintains a nature conservancy trail for RV guests, ensuring that the valley’s wildlife-rich terrain is accessible to explorers of all ages and physical abilities.
Bull Canyon, on the banks of the Chilcotin River, features shallow caves off a riverside interpretive trail, while at Ts’yl-os (sigh-loss) Provincial Park – a postcard-perfect oasis of mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows and waterfalls – two tranquil backcountry campgrounds offer sweeping vistas of Chilko Lake, the largest high-elevation freshwater lake in Canada. The west Chilcotin’s Nimpo and Anahim lakes are filled with rainbow trout, and popular guided flight-seeing tours are coordinated through local RV parks and fishing lodges to Hunlen Falls, the Monarch Icefields, the Rainbow Mountains and other stunning sites. The Puntzi Lake area also offers camping; alternatively, nature lovers can set up at a forestry campsite or mingle with anglers at fishing resort RV campsites and cabins. Excellent camping and recreational options are also available at Green Lake in the Cariboo northeast of 70 Mile House, where crystal-clear summer waters ensure idyllic swimming and water sports. A Lac la Hache, beach access is available at both private and provincial campgrounds off Hwy. 97.
For tranquility, parks are tucked away near Lone Butte at Hathaway Lake – as well as east of Williams Lake on Horsefly and Quesnel lakes. In fact, some 65 private and public campgrounds and RV parks are found throughout the region, including east of Quesnel near Wells and Barkerville. At Bowron Lake Provincial Park campsites offer dramatic views of the Cariboo Mountains, with canoe and kayak rentals available to tackle one of the world’s top canoe circuits. Guided backcountry experiences are also offered by outfitters on the Bowron’s frozen lakes in winter, plus year-round float plane fly-in adventure services.
Geocaching is another great way to uncover “hidden” wilderness vistas while touring, with adventurers using GPS devices to find hidden containers called “geocaches”; (geocachers, then share their adventures online). One such cache – a metal cylinder with a logbook and pencil enclosed – is hidden at Clayton Falls near Bella Coola. In Likely, a “cacher” has stashed “treasures fit for a kid” in a location where trappers once gathered and historic machinery is now displayed. Perhaps the most creative geocaches, though, are those found through Gold Country’s GeoTourism program – featuring caches in Lillooet and throughout the South Cariboo. In the West Chilcotin, the new Freedom Highway series of caches is also popular