Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo

Sheridan Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Sheridan Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

While travelling east-west between the Southern Cariboo’s 100 Mile House (above the Fraser Plateau) and the town of Little Fort in BC’s Thompson River Valley, you’ll find the historic Highway 24 – also known as BC’s Fishing Highway.

Only 97 kilometres in length (60 miles), this short yet incredibly scenic route offers quite a few places to relax, rest up and eat – along with plenty to do, see and experience – along the way. (More than fishing – think boating, swimming, wildlife viewing and more.)

Walter Mark 2lb 8 oz lake trout caught at Hathaway Lake

Walter Mark 2lb 8 oz lake trout caught at Hathaway Lake

Though paved and modern, what’s interesting is that the route for Highway 24 (or Fishing Highway) has remained essentially the same since gold seekers and fur traders used it so many centuries ago.

After the gold discovery in the Northern Cariboo region and the gold rush of the 1800s that soon followed, the area’s wilderness trails became important roads that led to the northern gold fields for thousands upon thousands of gold seekers. Along these routes, a myriad of roadhouses sprang up offering stopover points to these weary travellers.  As well, the water from the area’s hundreds of local lakes and connecting streams throughout these forested areas created a natural and rewarding setting for cattle ranching.

Bird Watching Deka Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Bird Watching Deka Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Today, the area supports key BC industries that include logging, ranching and tourism and several of the early roadhouses have been restored and are now used as recreational buildings and/or resorts.

This picturesque Highway 24 also follows a trail originally used by the Shuswap people as a trading route, and then later developed – in the early 19th century – by the Hudson’s Bay Company to bring furs from the northern BC region to Fort Kamloops and the Columbia River. In fact, sections of the Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail can still be seen towards the highway’s eastern end, which has been aptly preserved and named as a “heritage trail.”

Lac des Roches by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Lac des Roches by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Though named the “Fishing Highway,” this route offers seemingly endless wilderness with boundless outdoor opportunities such as bird watching, boating and canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming and other activities.  (During winter, there’s also snowmobiling and snowshoeing.)

You’ll find this idyllic route dotted with beautiful lakes boasting picnicking areas (and bathrooms), along with cafes/restaurants, shops and places to rest up and stay for the night.

Jack Barnett Snowmobile Trail (Gold Rush Trail) by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Jack Barnett Snowmobile Trail (Gold Rush Trail) by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Indeed, along this relatively expanse of highway, you’ll find nearly a dozen lakes dotting the scenery – with each offering opportunities to discover and explore the area, including Bridge Lake Provincial Park, Crystal Lake Recreation Site, Deka Lake (known for its sizable lake trout and rainbow trout), Eagan Lake, the peaceful and wilderness surrounded Fawn Lake (also known for its rainbow trout at certain times of the year), the five-kilometre long Hathaway Lake, the scenic Horse Lake offering views of rolling hills and vibrant colours in the fall season, Interlakes, the forested Lac Des Roches (which includes many little islands), Sheridan Lake (known for its crystal-clear water and abundant rainbow trout) and Sulphurous Lake (featuring a rocky shoreline and surrounded by low mountains).

Many of the above lakes also boast an array of other activities (along with fishing) and overnight accommodations that range from rustic cabins and RV parking to charming bed & breakfast spots, camping, upscale resorts.

Interested in learning more?  Check out this YouTube clip of the Fishing Highway in action and click here for more information on this popular route.

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Published: October 11th, 2018

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Sheliza Mitha by Sheliza Mitha

Sheliza is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys blogging about her family’s adventures throughout British Columbia. For the latest on food and travel, connect with her on Twitter via @shelizawrites or visit her at www.copyprose.com.

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