The year of 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Barkerville Historic Town and the Cariboo Gold Rush – a time when thousands flocked to the heart of BC, trekking north through the Mighty Fraser Canyon with the dreams of striking it rich. To celebrate this historic milestone, we thought we’d compile a couple of lists which spotlight BC’s Gold Rush Trail history in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region of British Columbia.
5 Historical Adventures Along the Gold Rush Trail
Photo: Children panning for gold at Fort Langley National Historic Site. Source: VCMBC
1. Fraser River Discovery Centre – New Westminster
Learn about the past, present and future of the living, working Fraser River at the Fraser River Discovery Centre located in British Columbia’s first official capital, New Westminster. The Fraser River was BC’s golden artery – the route in which many a miner travelled to get from the coast into the interior of British Columbia.
2. Fort Langley National Historic Site – Langley
Photo: Panning for gold at Fort Langley National Historic Site. Source: FLNHS via Facebook.
Travel east along the Fraser to Langley and visit the Fort Langley National Historic Site. First established in 1827 as a fur trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company, it’s where the Colony of British Columbia was created a century and a half ago.
3. Historic Yale Site – Yale
Photo: Historic Yale. Source: Historic Yale Site via Facebook.
Continue up the Fraser Canyon past these points to visit Historic Yale Site, the gold rush boomtown that was once the largest west of Chicago and north of San Francisco.
4. Hell’s Gate Airtram – Hell’s Gate
Photo: Hell’s Gate Airtram.Source Ryan C. via Flickr.
When explorer Simon Fraser first encountered Hell’s Gate in 1808, he exclaimed, “We had to travel where no human being should venture for surely we have encountered the gates of hell”. A historic landmark in the heart of the Fraser Canyon, Hell’s Gate is where 200 million gallons of water per minute thunder through this 33 metre wide passage. Hell’s Gate Airtram provides a bird’s eye perspective, an education centre, gold panning, and more.
Located at the confluence of the Mighty Fraser River and the Thompson River is the village of Lytton. The First Nations called this merging of two great rivers “kumsheen” which means “great forks”. The gold rush of 1858 and the construction of the Cariboo Wagon Road rapidly changed Lytton, bringing in infrastructure and hundreds of miners. Learn about the history of the region at the Lytton Museum and explore the remnants of the Cariboo Wagon Road.