Guided Backcountry Tours

Canoeing and Hiking Trips in the Bowron Lake Chain, Cariboo Mountains and throughout British Columbia


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1861 Gold Rush Pack Trail

The year was 1860 and "Doc" Keithley hiked over the Cariboo mountains to start the biggest gold rush in British Columbia history. The following spring 1200 miners traced his steps and soon the mountains were populated with cabins, sawmills, roadhouses, towns and even horse racing tracks.

Today all that remains are walks along alpine ridges, fields of wild flowers, ghosts of the past and decaying remains of the gold rush heyday.

Snowshoe Mountain, Breakneck Ridge, Antler Mountain and Horseshoe Nail Ridge are some of the colourful places you'll hike while your guide interprets the stunning landscape and brings the history alive. Our trip ends backpacking down the main street of Barkerville, an authentically restored 1860's gold rush town where history becomes reality. This is a spectacular trip filled with a wide variety of terrain and great alpine walks. This alpine trip is a good introduction to backcountry travel and is accessible to people with reasonable fitness.

Day 1: We depart by Van and drive to the trailhead in the mountains above Historic Keithley Creek. On our first day we travel up past "Coloured Man's Roadhouse" to Falconer's summit and our first alpine views of the Cariboos. Across rolling alpine terrain we make our way to our first campsite at Snowshoe Plateau. Our sheltered camp is near a small spring which issues from the base of a pretty rock face. In the evening we have an opportunity to hike onto the nearby ridges for wildflowers and scenery.
Total hiking distance 7.5 km

Hikers are deep in wildflowers, approaching Falconer's summit

Day 2: Our amazing trip takes us over a series of low alpine summits and broad rolling meadows, all with fantastic views. Portions of the original 1861 pack trail can be seen worn into the meadows, and we even pass the rubble remains of an improbable alpine guest house that would have been a popular stopping spot in the 1800s. Eventually we drop down past various remnants of our mining history, through beautiful forest country to our evening camp. Here at Sawflat Creek, a broad flat meadow that once was home to the first sawmill in the Cariboo, whose parts were packed over the very trail we've travelled.
Total hiking distance 16.3 km

Day 3: This morning we hike up a trail above the dark steep valley of Antler Creek. At one time this valley held the booming mining town of Antler City, now lost in a thick carpet of moss. We soon arrive at the unlikely location of Racetrack Flats, a beautiful sub-alpine meadow wrapped in wilderness. Faintly, in the grasses, can be seen the remains of a 150 year old horse race track where thoroughbreds from around the world once raced! We hike through here and up the back of Bald Mountain for a spectacular lunch setting before following the footsteps of the miners down past summit rock and onto the main street of Barkerville, a bustling booming mine town, seemingly recreated for our enjoyment.
Total Hiking distance 17.8 km

Alternately . . .
If you wish to savour this unique alpine experience, slow it down a bit and ramble over the mountains on our 4-day trip.
Day 1 ends at Snowshoe Camp
7.5 km
Day 2 puts us at Upper Leon's Roadhouse, a mound of chimney rocks, by sheltering trees on a high alpine plateau. Here once stood a miners roadhouse where miners and horses spent the night. Enjoy the views, the wildflowers and the historical artifacts.
9.2 km
Day 3
We stop at Racetrack Flats, an amazing series of meadows and benches, in a beautiful and historic setting.
12.8 km
Day 4 We wander over the Bald and Mount Agnes complex of meadows and rock bands before descending on the original Cariboo Waggon Road and entering Barkerville Historic Town.
12.7 km

Cameron Ridge

This is a relatively easy three-day hike which takes you onto the spectacular Cameron Ridge, overlooking the Mitchell Wetlands and the North Arm of Quesnel Lake.

Photo: Hikers enjoying the spectacular vista of the Cariboo Mountains.

Day 1 takes us to the first view point on the sub-alpine ridge before we arrive at a small lakeside campsite in a high meadow.
Day 2 we don our day packs for a walk along Nora's Knoll and farther, enjoying our picnic lunch and the beautiful views down the sheer drops to the deepest fiord lake in British Columbia.
Day 3 we hike out over rolling terrain through broad flower-strewn meadows back to our vehicle and on our drive home stop at the scenic and unique Ghost Lake Falls on the Matthew River.

Day Hikes

The Cariboo Region has a wide variety of day hiking opportunities. Just two of the many options available are listed below.

For More Hikes and additional day-tours, visit our WHITEGOLD DAY TOURS PAGE

Racetrack Flats

Hikers enjoy lunch where once stood a hotel in the wilderness!

A short shuttle trip from Wells/Barkerville takes you to an old access road which joins the 1861 pack trail. From here, we engage in an easy to moderate hike past the remains of historic Antler City, and the local landmark, "Rhubarb Cabin". We join an old hydraulic ditchline for a nearly flat traverse brimming with wildflowers before arriving at Racetrack Flats, a unique series of sub-alpine benches at the junction of Racetrack and Antler Creek. Racetrack Flats offers easy exploration and interesting cultural history. The faint outlines of a 150 year old ¼ mile racetrack are visible, stretching out from what was once the front porch of Maloney's roadhouse, now marked by the old pile of stones that was once its chimney.
168 m (550') elevation gain, 9 km return

Mount Magnus
If you've just finished the Bowron Lake Chain, then this is the hike for you! From the summits of this alpine knoll, the west side of the Bowron Lakes are laid out like a map. You can clearly see your trip from Sandy Lake in the south to Bowron Lake in the north. In addition, you have spectacular views into the interior of the park and a panoramic view of the mountains of the entire region. Whether you've done the Bowron or not, this is a great hike to introduce you to the alpine wonders of our region, and give you a sense of your place in the Cariboos!
550 m (1800') elevation gain 6.5 km return

Photo: Mt. Kaza in Bowron Park dominates the Magnus skyline

Other day-trips into the Cariboos are available.

Whitegold Adventures

Box 206
Wells   BC
V0K 2R0


Phone: 1 250 994-2345
Toll-free (N America): 1 866 994-2345
Fax: 1 250 994-2347

Wells & District Chamber of Commerce
Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia
Cariboo Tourism Association


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