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Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Vancouver
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Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

My family's planning on doing the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail, as the kids are learning about it in school (grades 3 and 5). Has anyone done the route that would like to share some tips?

While at the BC Street at the O-Zone during the Olympics (miss those fun-filled days), I picked up a booklet called Chasing the Butterfly, and discovered that there are geocaches along the route! Would love to hear your experiences on this as well, if any of you have tried it!

Hopefully we'll have about a week to do the trip in, starting from Vancouver. We're aiming to be there for the Billy Barker Days. I assume Barkerville's where the celebration is held? Or is it in Quesnel? Is two nights at Barkerville good? Where are good places for us to stop overnight at along the way? My daughter loves horses and would love to be able to stay a night at a ranch where we could experience farm life--milking the cow, helping with farm chores, etc... any idea where we could do this?

Sechelt, BC
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1. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Here are a couple of good websites to check out if you haven’t already:

Chasing the butterfly: http://www.newpathwaystogold.ca/geocache/

And great info on the Gold Rush Trail - loaded full of stops along the way:

travel-british-columbia.com/tours/Gold-Rush-…

We had a blast at Billy Barker Days!

Billy Barker Days are held in Quesnel over a four day weekend in mid July. The events start Thursday morning but for us it was kicked off with the “crash to pass” stock car race ( a lot of fun ) on Thursday evening followed by many events and a soundstage at Lebourdais Park (central Quesnel Park – site of the great little Quesnel Museum- you have to go thru this museum if you are there) and an action packed 3 day rodeo over Alex Fraser Park. The whole thing winds down on Sunday night with a pretty good fireworks display. Did I mention the food? The beer was ice cold too.

This map is a great aerial locator of all the areas the festivities is held. Use the search to get a good feel of where all the events are located. i.e – rodeo grounds will show you where the rodeo is held – ‘race track’ shows you where the stock car races are, Lebourdais Park for the main site, etc...

wikimapia.org/…9

1-250-992-1234 for more info on Billy Barker Days

En-route to Barkerville is the Cottonwood House where there are some farm animals my kids were able to participate in taking care of. You can book accommodation there as well:

http://www.cottonwoodhouse.ca/

2 days in Barkerville is plenty – we were happy with one.

You can also stay in the Wells area

www.bchotels.info/?n=wells&id=428&t=city

Or right in Barkerville – there is one B&B there.

http://www.stgeorgehotel.bc.ca/

When heading north I usually drive this route with Quesnel as my overnight rest stop so I cannot recommend accommodations other than this.

Perhaps if you posted in the British Columbia forum more posters could offer more opinions than I have.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g154922-i80-Britis…

Enjoy your travels.

Port Moody, Canada
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2. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

and here's another great site courtesy of SamSalmon

http://www.cayoosh.net/fraser.html

Sechelt, BC
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3. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Staying in Barkerville was a highlight when we travelled to Barkerville last summer. There are a couple options within Barkerville: Kelly House, King House, and St. George Hotel. We stayed in the Kelly House. Upstairs there is a large room where families can stay in 1 room together. On the main floor there is a room with a queen bed (might be a double) and a room with 2 single beds - joined by a bathroom. Another nice option for a family.

We stayed for 1 night. We arrived midmorning on day 1 and left midmorning on day 2.

Other posters have offered wonderful information.

Some nice stops along the route include the Alexandra Bridge on Hwy north of Spuzzum; Hells Gate; the historic town centre of Yale; Fort George Park and the Exploration Centre in Prince George; Fort Langley; Kilby Historic Farm.

Sechelt, BC
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4. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Another suggestion. There is a tourist information building before you get to Barkerville. They sell discounted tickets to Barkerville.

Edited: 07 April 2010, 23:52
Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

You might look into Big Bar Guest Rance at Jesmond. The Flying U at 70 mile has swimming off the dock. The family are all musicians and play in the evening (line dancing, square dancing.) I know one group of 11 year olds who have memories of a life time. Both have cabins and "hotel" rooms.

http://www.bigbarranch.com/index.html

http://flyingu.com/

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

You'll be a bit early for the corn at Soda Creek...too bad. The Ranch at Soda Creek was surveyed and set up to provision the miners at Barkerville. If you take the Soda Creek - McAllister road off highway 97, you will go right through Dunlevy Ranch, which is the original property, and then down past the landing at the river where the miners could load onto paddle wheelers for the trip to Quesnel.

One of my favourite little towns along the way is Clinton. Even if you don't stay there, definitely stop into the little town museum. We did that on our last trip and it was much better than I expected for such a little place. Well worth it.

Another must do stop is the little town of Yale, just north of Hope. This is Mile 0, the point where the miners could no longer travel by boat as the river was impassable beyond that point. There is a little historic site there with signage, etc.

Vancouver
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7. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Thank you all SO much for all the helpful tips! We will definitely visit most if not all of the places recommended. I'm thinking of staying 2 nights at Quesnel to take in Billy Barker Days, then at Barkerville for 2 nights (most likely at the campground).

Big Bar Guest Ranch sounds wonderful, but is a little beyond our budget for the trip. We're still open to suggestions for overnight places on the way to Quesnel.

Has anyone tried camping at Barkerville as well as at other stops along the route?

Kamloops, Canada
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8. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

I just learned something today, the campgrounds were at one time run by BC Parks, not any more.

http://www.barkervillecampgrounds.ca/

There are three separate campgrounds as you will see on the website, each has their own benefits. I assume that you will be travelling in the summer, I would reserve as they can get pretty full especially on weekends.

If needed you can also camp at the Bowron Lake site but it is further away (added area to also visit).

…gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/bowron_lk/

DO NOT MISS the Barkerville cemetary! Find Billy himself(at least his gravesite).

Our kids have enjoyed Barkerville for two separate visits!! Two days on site is perfect but you can do it in one day. The special events (Canada Day for example) are fun to visit and experience.

Enjoy your visit :0)

Sechelt, BC
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9. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

Will you be tenting it or have an RV?

Sechelt, BC
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10. Re: Cariboo Gold Rush Trail

If I may expand on the Barkerville Cemetery – Billy Barker’s remains are not actually in the cemetery in Barkerville. I have heard people wanted to move him there but as of 2009 this had not happened yet. After he passed away in Victoria penniless he was buried as a pauper in the potter’s field section of the Ross Bay Cemetery in 1894. Billy was said to have wanted an impressive monument but in the early 1960’s his gravesite was marked with a simple gravestone.

In 2008 the fine folks in Wells and Quesnel decided a proper marker benefiting one of our provinces’ most characteristic pioneers was in order. A very large boulder from one of his mines was shipped to Victoria where a bronze plague was attached depicting the life and times of Billy Barker and was placed at his gravesite. Finally a monument large enough to honour such a well loved colourful character of BC history.

Also: Judge Begbie (known as “the hanging judge” and another gold rush character of the Cariboo region) is also interred at the Ross Bay Cemetery, having passed exactly 30 days before Billy Barker. While Billy’s funeral was that of a pauper – Judge Begbie had a funeral procession befitting that of royalty. It is said that the good judge was a simple man though - only wanting a plain marker on his grave – but that was not to be. His grave was adorned a massive monument and it has been said all he wanted was a marker reading: “Lord be Merciful to me a Sinner”

I is a bit of a pioneer cemetery geek and count the Barkerville and Ross Bay cemeteries as two of the most interesting. Mooseboy is very correct when suggesting a visit the Barkerville cemetery. You can get the most amazing black and white photos too – especially if taken in an early morning mist.

The pioneer cemetery in Quesnel is also very notable. Odd note of irony – it is located next door to the city senior’s centre.

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