Covering the central portion of British Columbia, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a land full of rugged backcountry, incredible scenery, abundant wildlife and unlimited options for outdoor adventure. Outside of the major centres of 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Williams Lake, the human population is sparse, with small communities scattered among a largely unbroken wilderness. Pristine streams cut across deep valleys lined by snow-capped mountain peaks, old-growth forest creates a habitat for a dizzying variety of animals and a recreational trail is never too far away to lead you into the heart of this breathtaking backcountry – this is truly one of Canada’s final frontiers.
To help you make the most of all the incredible outdoor adventure opportunities found here, the Backroad Mapbooks team has created the most comprehensive and detailed guide possible for the region. The 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook contains extensive updates and expansions from the previous edition, including the addition of private land, labelled fish species, multi-use trail and fish stocking charts, a brand new Backcountry Huts Adventure section and countless roads, trails and recreational Points of Interest. From the stunning wilderness of Wells Gray Provincial Park to the fabled fishing lakes of the Interlake Highway and the coastal rainforest around Bella Coola, there is no better guide to exploring the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.
To give you an idea of all the adventures this Mapbook can lead you on, here are a few examples:
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is full of incredible sights that are easily accessed along the region’s sprawling network of highways, secondary roads and logging roads. From pictographs to hot springs, mountaintop lookouts, waterfalls and historic sites, there is a unique attraction around every corner, and the 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook includes detailed listings for nearly 40 of them. Here are a couple of our favourite places to stop while exploring the area:
Barkerville is BC’s largest historical site, functioning as an open-air museum commemorating the 19th century gold rush that swept through the area. Complete with period actors, a working blacksmith shop, a well-preserved Chinatown and much more, Barkerville brings the region’s incredible history to life.
Canim and Mahood Falls
Accessed via a short, easy hiking trail, this pair of falls make for an incredible sight, with Mahood Falls plummeting 20 m (66 ft) in a dual cascade of water. Explore the surrounding gorge or just relax and appreciate the power of the river – these falls are a must-see for any backroad explorer.
Mahood Falls. Image viatouristplaces.ca
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has a well-earned reputation for incredible fishing, with an abundance of productive lakes, rivers and streams found throughout the region. Along the coast, remote inlets and bays offer world-class ocean fishing. Wherever you find yourself, there is some fine angling to be had, and the latest edition of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook provides you with over 500 detailed fishing listings. Here are a couple of our favourite places to spend a day on the water:
Known as one of the best trout fishing lakes in BC, Sheridan Lake is stocked each year with thousands of rainbow trout to help maintain the remarkable fishery. While trout average 1-3 kg (2-6.5 lb) here, it is not uncommon to pull in an 8 kg (17.5 lb) lunker.
While the Lower Dean is famous for its summer steelhead run, with fish reaching up to 13 kg (27 lb) in size, the Upper Dean is a completely different river, with fly-fishing for trout being the main attraction. Whichever part of this fabled river you choose to target, incredible angling awaits.
Fishing on the Dean River. Photo courtesy ofkimsquitbay.co
Encompassing a wide range of habitats from high alpine to steppe, wetland and coastal rainforest, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is home to a variety of game species that will excite any hunter. From bears and moose to mule deer and waterfowl, your options are many. Here are a couple of our favourite destinations in the region:
This huge Wildlife Management Unit covers the Cariboo Plateau to the east of the Fraser River and is primarily made up of rolling forest interspersed with grassland and wetland. Cariboo, mule deer and moose can all be found here in high numbers, along with waterfowl and upland game birds.
WMU 5-2 – Cariboo Chilcotin 5th Ed
Encompassing the Quesnel Highlands and the western edge of the Cariboo Mountains, this Wildlife Management Unit has a lot of logging roads for access into some very fertile hunting areas, including for moose, mule deer and black bear. Additionally, this is the most productive WMU in the region for mountain goat.
Mule Deer. Photo via Guide Outfitters Association of BC
From flatwater paddling across picturesque tree-lined lakes to wild whitewater rivers and majestic ocean fjords, canoers and kayakers have a lot to choose from in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, and the latest edition of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook provides you with over 50 detailed listings for the best places to paddle across the region. Whether you are looking for a casual afternoon paddle or a multi-day wilderness journey, there is a route just for you. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Bowron Lakes Canoe Route
Known as one of the best canoe tripping destination on the continent, the Bowron Lakes chain offers a fantastic mix of lake and river paddling among the towering Cariboo Mountains. Well-maintained portages, plenty of scenic campsites and lots of fish to catch for dinner all contribute to making this an unforgettable journey.
Bowron Lakes Canoe Route. Image via hellobc.com
Offering a good mix of challenging whitewater and lazy river paddling, the Nazko is a beautiful river with a variety of take-out and put-in locations, so you can choose the length and difficulty of your Cariboo Chilcotin Coast paddling trip
Nazko River Paddling Route
Home to some of the largest provincial parks in the province, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a playground for outdoor explorers with a bountiful wilderness just waiting to be explored. From roadside pullouts to remote mountain lake chains and wildflower-filled meadows, the region’s parks protect some of its most incredible natural areas. The latest edition of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook lists close to 90 of the area’s best regional, provincial and national parks. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Marble Canyon Provincial Park
Found 40 km northwest of Cache Creek, this park is an excellent picnicking or camping destination, with the scenic canyon and a waterfall on Turquoise Lake setting a beautiful backdrop for any type of outdoor adventure.
Marble Canyon Provincial Park. Photo via wikimapia.org
Finger Tatuk Provincial Park
Found 80 km southwest of Vanderhoof, this park can be accessed via a few different logging roads and offers some great fishing for rainbow trout and kokanee. There are a variety of other animal species found here as well, including grizzly and black bears, eagles and numerous species of birds and waterfowl. Camping is available on Finger and Tatuk Lakes at former recreation sites, and backcountry camping is possible throughout the rest of the park.>
Finger Tatuk Provincial Park
Scattered throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast are numerous recreation sites that offer a more rustic alternative to developed campgrounds. Situated on Crown land, these rec sites provide access to some of the region’s best outdoor recreation areas. In the latest edition of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Mapbook you will find close to 240 detailed listings for rec sites across the region. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Chubb Lake Rec Site
Found on the north end of the lake, this site is the perfect base camp for swimmers, fishers and paddlers. A boat launch provides easy access to the scenic lake, and ice fishing is a popular draw in the winter months.
Chubb Lake Rec Site
Stony Lake West Rec Site
Featuring a pebble beach and a boat launch, this four-unit site is popular with boaters, swimmers, canoers and those just wanting to relax on the lakeside.
Stony Lake. Photo via tracksandtrails.ca
From high-altitude treks through stunning alpine terrain to casual riverside strolls and interpretive forest trails, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast has a wide range of trail adventures for all types of explorers. The 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook contains almost 230 detailed listings for multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and snowshoeing. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Crazy Creek Trail
Leading you along Crazy Creek to the alpine north of Niut Mountain, this scenic trail leads you past a series of small lakes to some incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Crazy Creek Trail
Cameron Ridge Trails
Found near Likely, this series of trails branch off an old mining road and lead you through scenic sub-alpine meadows, forest and wetlands, offering views of Mitchell Lake, the Penfold Valley and the North Arm of Quesnel Lake. It is also possible to access the alpine of the Goose Range, where further hiking opportunities can be enjoyed by more adventurous hikers. Whichever route you choose, the views will take your breath away.
View from Cameron Ridge Lookout. Photo via likely-bc.ca
Abandoned logging roads, mountaintop lookouts, wide-open fields and muddy wetlands are just some of the features that make the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast a world-class ATVing destination. In the 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook you will find 30 detailed listings for the best places to ATV in the area. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Gold Rush Trail
Stretching for over 450 km (280 mi), this trail takes you from Clinton to Wells along a mix of unmaintained logging roads and developed trail. Along the route you can expect to encounter old mine sites, ghost towns, scenic lakeside campsites and more.
ATV trail near Wells. Photo via princegeorgecitizen.com
Mahood Lake Trails
Located to the south of Mahood Lake and Wells Gray Provincial Park, this area is full of old roads and trails that lead you deep into the backcountry and past a number of small lakes.
With a consistently generous snowpack and an abundance of mountainous terrain to explore, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a great place to snowmobile. Your 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook contains over 50 detailed listings for the best places to snowmobile across the region, complete with information on staging, distance, elevation gain and more. Here are a couple of our favourite sledding areas:
Gold Bridge Area
With hundreds of kilometres of unplowed logging roads, tons of groomed and signed trails maintained by the local snowmobile club and exciting play areas like the Shulaps Mountain Range, this is one of the finest snowmobiling destinations in BC.
Gold Bridge Area
Located amid the beautiful Rocky Mountains, McBride offers some of the best backcountry snowmobiling in the province with deep powder, numerous forestry roads and a variety of terrain for all skill levels.
From California bighorn sheep to mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, moose and hundreds of species of birds, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is full of abundant and diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife. In the 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook you will find over 70 detailed listings for the best places to view wild animals in the region. Here are a couple of examples:
Calvert Island Conservancy
Located 55 km southwest of Bella Bella in Fitz High Sound, this conservancy is home dolphins, harbour seals, porpoises, sea lions and a variety of whales, including orcas, humpbacks and minkes.
Sea otters near Calvert Island. Photo via futureoftheocean.wordpress.com
Eakin Creek Floodplain Provincial Park
Home to large stands of old-growth forest, this park is haven for winged creatures including American dippers, bats and wharblers, making birdwatching a very popular activity here, especially in the summertime.
Eakin Creek Floodplain Provincial Park
Blessed with a consistent heaping of soft, clean snow, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is hotspot for outdoor recreation during the winter months. From cross-country skiing to snowshoeing, fat biking, backcountry skiing, snowboarding and much more, there is an adventure for every taste in this winter wonderland. Your 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook contains 30 detailed listings for the best places to get outside during the winter months. Here are a couple highlights:
Bull Mountain Ski Trails
Featuring 28 km (17 mi) of signed and groomed trails, including two loops that are lit for night skiing, this scenic cross-country ski area is found just north of Williams Lake.
Bull Mountain Ski Trails
Mount Timothy Ski Hill
Truly a hidden gem, Mount Timothy features over 35 named runs and a consistently deep snowpack that makes it one of the best places in the region to ski and snowboard.
Photo via skitimothy.com
Backcountry Hut Adventures
Brand new to this edition of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook are close to 30 descriptions of the region’s best backcountry huts and cabins, complete with information on access, capacity, reservations and more. From snowmobile warming shelters to mountaineering huts, backcountry ski cabins and much more, there are plenty of incredible places to take shelter among the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast’s backcountry. Here are a couple examples:
Found deep in the forest off the Dore River Service Road, this cabin sleeps ten people and is a popular destination year round, both for hikers in the summer and backcountry skiers in the winter.
Ozalenka Hut – Cariboo Chilcotin 5th Ed
Tweedsmuir Ski Club Cabin
Found just off Highway 20, this user-maintained cabin offers access to a plethora of ski and snowmobile trails. Built to replace the cabin that burnt down in 2009, this cabin sleeps six and can be reserved online.
Tweedsmuir Ski Club Cabin. Photo via tweedsmuirskiclub.com
Of course, this is just a small sample of all the adventures we have packed into the 5th Edition Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Mapbook. To fully appreciate all the recreation opportunities found in the region, pick up Mapbook yourself by ordering online or using our store locator to find a Backroad Mapbooks retailer near you!