Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo
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.)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
If the Fishing Highway interests you, check our suggested drives:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond
Canadian Rockies, Cowboy Country to Coast Mountains
For campgrounds in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.
Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc
Hip and Happening in the South Cariboo, BC – 10 Reasons to Visit Today
The South Cariboo area of British Columbia is known as a land of big adventures, outdoor recreation and cowboys. And with the proliferation of world-class guest ranches dotted across its wide-open landscape, it definitely comes by its reputation naturally. But many don’t realize that the South Cariboo is also a land of rich history, talented artisans, and culinary enthusiasts. Read on for 10 reasons to visit the South Cariboo today:
This hidden gem located just minutes off the main road, in 100 Mile House, is most definitely worth a visit. Bring a picnic and lounge on the grass while the kids play in the playground. Then take an easy stroll along 500-metre Bridge Creek Waterfall Trail. The trail meanders through the park, criss-crossing two wooden bridges, before winding up at the picturesque Bridge Creek Waterfall.
This charming heritage site is located midway between 100 Mile House and Lac La Hache, on Highway 97. Named 108 Mile, for the distance the community was located from Lillooet, visiting the 108 Heritage site is like taking a step back in time to the days of the Mile Houses of the Cariboo Waggon Road. The 13 heritage buildings, some original to the site and some that were relocated from other areas in the South Cariboo. Take some time to explore the site, tour the stately McNiel House and learn about the history of the South Cariboo.
Every Friday from 9am – 2pm from early May until the end of September, you’ll find the lively South Cariboo Farmers Market in 100 Mile House. With over 20 vendors, offering everything from fresh produce, flowers, handmade jewellery, baked goods, beauty products, art, quilting and birdhouses, everyone will find something special to take home.
Located in an old gas station – there’s even an old car worked into the bar – Jackson’s Social Club & Brew House is the newest nano-brewery in the Cariboo. Stop by for a flight and some food! They have a small, but diverse, menu of beer, including their newest brew, the crisp and refreshing, Summer Blizzard. And the food menu focuses on using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious pub fare like soft tacos, hot dogs and pretzels. (175 Highway 97, 100 Mile House)
No visit to the South Cariboo is complete without a visit to the Canim Lake General Store. This local legend is a community hub, post office, bakeshop, gallery and provider of goods and services. During the 2017 fires, the folks at Canim Lake were integral in keeping locals updated and providing for anyone who chose not to evacuate. And … the store happens to be the home of Granny Grace, legendary for baking the best fruit pies you’ll ever taste, not to mention the butter tarts, cheesecakes and other tasty treats.
Tucked into the quaint community of Forest Grove, about 20 minutes east of 100 Mile House, the Dandelion Kitchen is a must try. This charming restaurant is small in stature, but big on flavours, and their menu focuses on local and seasonal items. The beef is naturally raised, and grain fed, on their farm, and rumour has it that their baked duck breast is a life changer! Reservations are strongly recommended.
Looking for a light meal and a wicked cup of coffee? The Chartreuse Moose in downtown 100 Mile House has you covered. The coffee is roasted in-house daily and the café is warm and welcoming. Visitors can enjoy Paninis, wraps and sandwiches, or all-day breakfast, while checking out the local art that’s displayed on the walls. (3-150 Birch Avenue, 100 Mile House).
At the east end of Canim Lake, follow an easy one-kilometre hiking trail to viewpoints overlooking the river valley and two spectacular waterfalls. In just 20 minutes, visitors can walk to both Mahood Falls and Canim Falls. You should be aware that although the trail is very well groomed, there are no guard rails and the edges of the trail drop quickly down into the canyon. After 10 minutes of walking, stop at the first viewpoint and look through the trees to the 50-foot Mahood Falls. Continue on for another 10 minutes to the even taller (65 feet) Canim Falls. At the Canim Falls viewpoint there is a steep, hidden trail that will take you the base of the waterfall.
Photographer, Chris Harris has made a name for himself as one of the country’s most respected nature photographers. With his camera and keen eye, he has documented all corners of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast in thousands of images and has published multiple books. His studio gallery, tucked into a grove of aspen trees, is located between 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch and was designed specifically to showcase his photography. Recently they’ve added an immersive slide-sound presentation, with photos set to music. Definitely worth a visit, the Studio Gallery is open officially “by chance or by appointment”, but unofficially they try to be there as often as possible. We recommend calling ahead to make an appointment.
If you’re a garlic lover (or not) and find yourself near Lac La Hache on the last weekend of August, be sure to check out the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. The tagline for the festival is “Bring the whole family … for a stinkin’ good time”, and that is exactly what they do! Enjoy family fun, live music and entertainment, while celebrating all things garlic! There will be garlic sales, tastings and in previous years there has even been a garlic-eating contest.
If the Cariboo interests you, check our suggested drives:
Canadian Rockies, Cowboy Country to Coast Mountains
Following the Gold Rush Trail Through the Cariboo and Beyond
For places to camp in the Cariboo and elsewhere in British Columbia go to Camping & RVing BC Camping Map.
Post your BC travel and camping photos using the hashtag #CampinBC
Published: August 2nd, 2018
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