The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is the heart of B.C.'s wild. Framed by rolling hills and coastal mountain ranges, the province’s untamed frontier is bursting with diverse landscapes and ecosystems, abundant nature and wildlife, and rich history and culture.
There's lots of space to roam and wander through the vast open spaces of this ‘Land Without Limits’. And, when B.C. is ready for local travel again, B.C.’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast will be the perfect destination to reconnect with the great outdoors and have adventures off-the-beaten path — all with responsible travel in mind.
Safe and responsible travel is about more than planning your travel route and taking the trip essentials. It’s about equipping yourself with the preparation and knowledge to also reduce the strain of your exploration on the places you visit. By educating yourself on practices of conservation, sustainability, and curiosity beforehand, you will demonstrate respect and support to the lands and communities of which you are a guest.
Williams Lake. Photo: Ollie Jones.
For starters, responsible travellers should follow the 3 T's:
- Trip Planning — Plan your travel route before you go. Understand the terrain and conditions you’ll encounter, check the weather, and make note of important points along your route, such as where you can fill up the gas tanks.
- Trip Training — Learn the skills and acquire the knowledge you’ll need for your trip. Know your limits – such as your comfort levels with regards to hiking and camping – and stay within them.
- Take the Trip Essentials — Think of the most important items you need to have in your car and your backpack, as well as equipment necessary for any activities you have planned. Top trip essentials to consider include navigation, a headlamp, sun protection, first aid, a knife, items for fire and shelter, and extra food, water, and clothes.
Visit landwithoutlimits.com for a suggested checklist and downloadable planner.
Bear viewing in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park/Bella Coola Valley. Photo: Jonny Bierman.
Respect for wildlife and the environment
To keep natural environments accessible for future generations, it's the traveller's responsibility to do their part and follow the old-age adage of leaving things in good or better shape than they found it.
Anyone visiting the outdoors should familiarize themselves with the 7 Leave No Trace principles for treating the land with respect. These principles include the following:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on hard or durable surfaces (and be sure to stay on designated trails)
- Discard of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize the impact of campfires
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
As for wildlife encounters in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, the chances are high, but the prospect of human-wildlife conflict is small. That said, it still pays to be prepared. Read more on how to respect wildlife when exploring.
Xatśūll Heritage Village near Williams Lake. Photo: Jonny Bierman.
Respect for local communities and culture
Being a respectful traveller requires being respectful of the people who call the places you are visiting home by being considerate of the local communities and culture you are coming into as a guest.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is home to 9 prominent Indigenous nations with their own languages, traditions, stories, and cultural practices.
There is no better way to understand and respect Indigenous history, traditions, practices, and culture than by learning from the communities themselves through Indigenous experiences. Travellers who are invited to participate should lead with curiosity and respectfully ask questions in a conscious effort to learn about these cultures.
Another way to give back as a guest is to buy and support local through engaging in agri-tourism at the fresh farmers’ markets, groceries, coffee shops, and many unique stores for home-grown goods throughout the region.
Keeping these communities safe and respectful also means respecting the environment and adhering to community health and safety guidelines, whether travelling indoors or outdoors.
Many rural communities have limited infrastructure and resources to handle unnecessary strains, such as emergency responses for those that visit unprepared. Research any restrictions and health guidelines of individual communities and businesses prior to your visit. By coming prepared, you can minimize as many risks as possible.
B.C.’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast offers endless adventures across its four distinct regions. From camping to road-tripping and everything in-between, the opportunities for exploration and discovery of B.C.’s history, culture, and natural terrain are limitless.
To inspire responsible travel trip planning, here are some road trip plans across the region’s four districts for your future adventure. These ideas are bound to lead to the ultimate experience navigating B.C.'s roads less travelled when B.C. is ready for inter-provincial travel!
Cariboo Gold Rush Trail
The birthplace of B.C., the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail is where history meets nature. Dotted along the trail of the original Cariboo Waggon Road are some of the province's most unique opportunities for exploration for both adventurers and historians, including camping resorts and historic destinations from Gold Rush Trail times of 1859.
The Cariboo Mountains is where you’ll find the deepest fjord lake in the world and B.C.'s hidden adventure hotspot. World-class bear and wildlife viewing, alpine hiking, fly-fishing, and other outdoor activities occupy adventurers of all abilities.
The Chilcotin, B.C.'s living "Wild West", is where cowboy culture thrives and scenery, wilderness, and adventure are all close at hand.
There are several ways to experience Chilcotin during your future visit. Head to Nimpo Lake region for lakeside lodging and float plane access to some of the backcountry lodging and hiking in the true wilderness of the Chilcotin. Both wilderness resorts with safari-style tent camping experiences and family-friendly resorts with camping and RV options can be found along Highway 20 in B.C.’s unspoiled raw wilderness. Cariboo Chilcotin Coast guest ranches offer guests eco-retreats and wilderness and ranching experiences for those who want to reconnect with nature.
Jacobson Lake, Chilcotin. Photo: Tyler Cave.
Great Bear Rainforest
The wild and rugged beauty of the Great Bear Rainforest draws in visitors who come to fish, hike, bike, kayak, see wildlife, and enjoy the natural splendour of the region.
The Great Bear Rainforest Loop covers parts of Vancouver Island, the Great Bear Rainforest, and the Chilcotin for an awe-striking road trip to the Bella Coola Valley when the community is open to visitors.
Land of Hidden Waters
At 97 km long, the Land of Hidden Waters (or "B.C.'s Fishing Highway") provides access to nearly 100 secluded lakes, perfect for some of the province's best freshwater fishing, as well as spots to enjoy watersports, camping, and outdoor adventure.
When these communities are open to tourism, you will be prepared and ready for a great adventure in B.C.’s wild!