Mile-by-Mile Guide to the Gold Rush Trail

Winding through British Columbia from the mouth of the Fraser River in New Westminster and north to Barkerville Historic Town & Park, touring the Gold Rush Trail takes travellers on a journey along historic pathways utilized by Indigenous peoples, fur traders, and those aspiring to find their riches during the numerous gold rushes in the region.

Select a path to discover a segment of BC’s history shaped by nature, or travel them all, with the help of a mile-by-mile guide highlighting the communities and historical sites along the way.

Fort Langley National Historic Site
Fort Langley National Historic Site | Kristi Denby

KM 0 – 140 / Mile 0 – 87: New Westminster to Hope

Following the mighty Fraser River, journey in the footsteps of the first recorded settlements of Indigenous people in British Columbia and, millennia later, of gold prospectors looking to discover their next vein of riches. Along the way, visit historical sites and get your first sample of touring the Gold Rush Trail.

Yale Historic Site
Yale Historic Site | EcoEscape Travel

KM 140 – 250 / Mile 87 – 155: Hope to Lytton through the Fraser Canyon

Home to Indigenous people since time immemorial, the mighty Fraser River provided inhabitants along its bank food, transport, and trade, long before Simon Fraser charted this river. Take a trek along the route named after Simon Fraser, who once travelled along its length through “the gates of hell,” and emerge at the first location of discovery during the Fraser Gold Rush. Learn about conflicts between prospectors and Indigenous communities and how the gold rush shaped the region’s culture and landscape.

REO Rafting
REO Rafting | EcoEscape Travel

KM 250 – 346 / Mile 155 – 250: Option 1 – Northeast – Lytton to Spences Bridge to Historic Hat Creek

Choose your path with a trek to Historic Hat Creek Ranch through Spences Bridge, where adventurous miners began to work along the walls of the Fraser Canyon to find their next score. Extending further into the Cariboo, immerse yourself in history along the famous Cariboo Waggon Road, a critical route that evolved to provide access for miners and suppliers.

Learning about Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet
Fort Berens Estate Winery | EcoEscape Travel

KM 250 – 389 / Mile 155 – 240: Option 2 – Lytton to Lillooet to Historic Hat Creek

Take this option for dramatic landscapes, whitewater rafting, and incredible places to camp and explore. Travel through St’át’imc (stat-lee-um) traditional territory and absorb the incredible terrain past Marble Canyon Provincial Park and Pavilion to Historic Hat Creek Ranch.

Xwisten Experience Tours
Xwisten Experience Tours | EcoEscape Travel

KM 331 – 431 / Mile 206 – 279: Lillooet to Bralorne

The South Chilcotin Mountains beckon, where prospectors first began a 2 km (1.2 mi) portage trek along the lakes to reach the gold-rich lands beyond. Once converted to a railway line (British Columbia’s first, in fact), the area saw an increase in traffic, particularly during the Cayoosh Gold Rush of the 1880s. Years later, the rail line served as the primary method of food and supply transport to the goldfields in the Bridge River Valley from the 1920s to the 1950s. A side trip through Gold Bridge, Bralorne & Pioneer is a must if you’re interested in authentic gold rush history and spooky ghost towns.

Historic Hat Creek Ranch
Historic Hat Creek Ranch | Tyler Cave

KM 346 – 439 / Mile 250 – 308: Historic Hat Creek to McAbee Fossil Site to Logan Lake

Leaving the arid sagebrush hills of Historic Hat Creek, head through picturesque scenery and along lakes and rivers. Stopping at McAbee Fossil Beds Heritage Site provides insight into ancient history and diversity of fossils dating back 50 million years. Travel through Savona and onto Logan Lake, the terminus of the BX Stage Coach Line – one of the major providers of transportation and supplies to miners and proprietors during the gold rush.

108 Mile Ranch
108 Mile Ranch | Jonny Bierman

KM 346 – 523 / Mile 250 – 360: Historic Hat Creek to Clinton to 150 Mile House

Starting from one of the Cariboo’s largest surviving roadhouses, head deep into gold rush country where the once vital stagecoach routes now provide a trip through time as you trace the region’s gold rush history through old towns, archeological sites, and grab a glimpse of pioneer life.

Mcleese Lake Lookout
McLeese Lake Lookout | EcoEscape Travel

KM 523 – 743 / Mile 360 – 497: 150 Mile House to Williams Lake to Quesnel to Barkerville

Roughly follow the original Cariboo Waggon Road – once the primary route to reach communities and settlements in the province’s interior. Along the way, you’ll be immersed in Indigenous history and cultural activities, historic sites and awe-inspiring sights as you see the region’s history come to life.

road trip through horsefly bc
Horsefly | Michael Bednar

KM 523 – 575 / Mile 360 – 357 Option 1: 150 Mile House to Horsefly

Travel east toward Horsefly, the site of Cariboo’s first gold discovery in 1859. The eclectic community of Horsefly offers visitors renowned fishing opportunities, outdoor activities, and provides a perfect basecamp for further exploration into the Cariboo Mountains.

KM 523 – 609 / Mile 360 – 378: Option 2: 150 Mile House to Likely

This back road approach leaves from 150 Mile House and takes you past the Horsefly River – where the first gold of the Cariboo Gold Rush was discovered. Upon reaching Likely on Quesnel Lake, take in the deepest fjord lake in the world and experience all of the fantastic recreational opportunities this community has to offer. Just past Likely is the historic Bullion Pit Mine – once one of the largest placer gold mines in the world.

road trip through Likely BC
Likely | Tyler Cave

KM 609 – 719 / Mile 378 – 446: Likely to Cottonwood House Historic Site

Take the road less travelled with a backroad adventure leaving from Likely, travelling past gold rush boomtowns, abandoned prospector cabins, and stop off to view nature’s majesty at the confluence of the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers, Quesnelle Forks, for a quick hike and spectacular waterfall views.

Barkerville Historic Town & Park
Barkerville Historic Town & Park | Jonny Bierman

KM 743 – 791 / Mile 497 – 527: Wells to Bowron Lake Provincial Park

Leave Barkerville Historic Town & Park and Wells after revelling in the experience of history in action and take the gravel road to Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Discover crystal clear lakes, beaches, waterfalls, and, if you’ve planned ahead, embark on the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit.

For more details on journeying the Gold Rush Trail visit the journey page.