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Stats & Facts

Hunlen Falls | Kari Medig

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of Super, Natural British Columbia—whether you’ve got a hankering to ride the range, relive Gold Rush history, fish to your heart’s content, get an adrenaline rush, or just get away from it all, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast offers the perfect places to do just that.

  • Located in the central interior one-third of the way up the province of British Columbia, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast covers approximately 117,500 sq km (45,415 sq mi) which is over 12 percent of BC’s landmass, similar to the US state of Pennsylvania (117,412 sq km) and a bit smaller than the European country of Greece (131,940 sq km).
  • With a population of about 73,000, the entire region has the same population range as the BC cities of Kamloops, Prince George and Nanaimo. In comparison, the state of Pennsylvania has over 12.3 million people; Greece has a population of 10.6 million.
  • The vast region includes 15,000 km (9315 mi) of coastline, 8,000 lakes and 17,000 km (11,000 mi) of rivers and streams.
  • The climate features warm, dry summers, crisp, cool winters and a rainy season on the coast that lasts from October through February. The hot spots in the region have reached 41.5 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) with a summer average between 21 and 28 degrees Celsius (72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The Northern portions have summer weather in the mid to late teens, while the Coast is mild year-round with a summer day averaging 16 degrees Celsius (62 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Gold drew Europeans here, while ranching enticed them to stay. Today, ranching, forestry, tourism and mining are the major industries.
  • The world’s largest pair of cross-country skis (11-metres high) graces the entrance to the 100 Mile House Visitor Info Centre. The region offers more than 200 km (125 mi) of groomed and track-set trails as well as endless backcountry to explore.
  • The largest log house in North America – over 100,000 square feet – was built in Williams Lake and shipped to the US. One of the log lodges for the downhill ski venue at the Salt Lake City Olympics was built in 100 Mile House.
  • Mt. Waddington, BC’s highest peak is located in the Coast Mountain Range, south of Kleena Kleene. Its ice and granite steeple at 4,016 meters (13,176 ft) is esteemed by intrepid climbers and has been compared to Mont Blanc in the French/Italian Alps.
  • Quesnel Lake, with depths of nearly 610 meters (2000 feet) is believed to be the world’s deepest fjord lake.
  • It takes six to ten days to paddle the world-famous 116-km (72 mi) Bowron Lake Circuit. Comprised of pristine lakes, rivers and creeks, it is, for canoeists and kayakers, the wilderness trip of a lifetime.
  • Hunlen Falls in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is Canada’s third-highest waterfall at 260 meters (855 ft); reached and accessed by an ambitious nine-hour hike.
  • Gold Bridge, an isolated community west of Lillooet, is noted as being the richest gold-producing region in the province. Gold spurred the area in the 1920s and the Bralorne Mine, which opened in the 1930s, produced over $145 million in gold and employed some 5,000 miners before closing in 1970. The Bralorne Pioneer Museum in Gold Bridge preserves the history of the Bridge River Valley
  • BC’s first rodeo was held in Williams Lake in 1919. Ranches, originally spawned by the Gold Rush (those who didn’t find nuggets, stayed to work the land), and were home to cowboys from as near as Washington State and as far as Europe.  They held a small rodeo as a social event. Today the Williams Lake Stampede is an international event and one of the largest in Canada.
  • The unique spelling of Cariboo most likely dates back to April 1861 when it was reported in the British Colonist newspaper that an “animal of the reindeer species known as the Cariboo” was shot. The word is believed to be of Algonquin origin and was spelled ‘caribou’ or ‘cariboeuf’. The word ‘Cariboo’ is simply a variant of Caribou and both spellings are in the Oxford and Funk & Wagnall dictionaries. Today Cariboo has become the geographical name describing the region while ‘caribou’ remains the spelling used for the animal.
  • The names of many towns in the Cariboo are connected to the Gold Rush. For example, 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House, to name two, were named for the distance from Lillooet along the Cariboo Wagon Road.
  • With a history dating back to 1863, the Gang Ranch was once the world’s largest ranch at two million acres.
  • Alkali Ranch, believed to be the province’s oldest ranch dating from 1861, was established by Otto Bowe, a German who arrived in California in 1854 and was lured north in 1858 in hopes of finding gold.
  • The first white man to arrive at the Bella Coola coast by land was Alexander Mackenzie. In 1793 he followed the ‘grease trail’ used by Nuxalk and Carrier First Nations as a trading route to the coast. Mackenzie Rock on the shores west of Bella Coola commemorates the explorer’s arrival at the ocean with his inscription “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land, 22 July 1793.”
  • In 1864 Barkerville was thought to be the largest town north of San Francisco.
  • The St. George Hotel and the Kelly/King House B&B are the only places to lay your head within a Canadian heritage site. The seven-room St. George Hotel has been restored to its 1890’s elegance and one room boasts a ghost – a blond woman who is only seen by men. The Kelly/King House B&B was the home of the Kelly family, owners of one of Barkerville’s first hotels.
  • The smallest community in the region is Stuie with a population of five. The tiny hamlet lies in South Tweedsmuir Park and is home to the Tweedsmuir Lodge.
  • Bella Coola is the only central coast community with a highway link to the rest of Canada.
  • The white Kermode Bear, known as the “Spirit Bear” by First Nations people, may be sighted on Princess Royal Island north of Bella Coola. Startlingly beautiful, it is a subspecies of the black bear and is found only in the Great Bear Rainforest.