Do you like the idea of exploring the Cariboo region of BC, the location of BC’s Gold Rush in the 1860s. If so, the cute town of Clinton is a great place to use as a base while you explore the area. We spent just a few days exploring this area (and Lillooet) there last autumn. While we were there, we found a bunch of easy hikes and cool things to see, so I wanted to share some of them. This region is full of interesting geology, picturesque lakes as well as chances to learn about pioneer, gold rush and Secwepémc (first nation) history.
All the following sights and mini adventures are located along the Cariboo Highway, between Clinton and 108 Mile Ranch.
Clinton itself is a cute village that feels like you have stepped back in time into the American West. It has cool, old-style historical shop fronts and super friendly locals. If you have time, visit the Clinton Museum. It is full of memorabilia and artifacts to show off the history of the area. They also have plenty of maps and travel brochures.
Easy hikes near Clinton – Clinton Falls
There is an easy to reach, pretty waterfall less than 10minutes drive from the village; Clinton Falls. This mini adventure will allow you to visit three waterfalls, all within 30 minutes walk!
Easy hikes near Clinton – The Chasm
One of the highlights of the Cariboo region is the incredible Chasm. This geological marvel is a tiny detour from the Cariboo Highway (BC 97). It is a huge gorge – 300m deep, 600m wide. You can hike around the edge, or even down into the valley below. It’s hard to show the scale from photos- but it is very impressive!
Mount Begbie Lookout
Another stop-off right by the Cariboo Highway (BC 97) is the Mount Begbie Fire Lookout. This mountain, is more like a pimple – it juts out slightly above the rest of the plateau. This means you can see for miles, but the hike up will take you less than 10 minutes. This is a great spot for viewing wildlife or having a picnic.
100 Mile House
Most of the locations along this route have names that reflect how far they are from Lillooet (Mile 0) of the Cariboo Wagon Road. There is 70 Mile House, 93 Mile House and then 100, 105, 111, 114, 122, 127, 141, 150… Each of these were stopping points for wagons along the gold rush trail.
Nowadays 100 Mile House is famous as a location for cross country skiing in the wintertime. They even have the world longest cross country skis (they are 10.9m long!) sitting outside the South Cariboo Visitor Info Centre. There are plenty of shops and restaurants here too, as well as pretty scenery.
Centennial Park and Bridge Creek Falls
The highlight for us in 100 Mile House was visiting Bridge Creek Falls in Centennial Park. The park itself is pretty, with an easy to follow trail that leads to a waterfall. If you keep walking beyond the falls there is a campground at the top of the hill. We even saw deer along the way.
108 Mile Heritage Site
One of the most interesting locations along the Cariboo Highway is 108 Mile Heritage Site. It is a bit like an outdoor museum, showcasing 13 buildings that date from mid-twentieth century right back to the 1860s. It is a fascinating site; and it is extra fun to fell like you are stepping into Canadian history.
We found out later that one of the buildings used to be a hotel, with a frightening past. The 108 Hotel was also used as a base to rob and murder over 59 unsuspecting gold miners. Over $150,000 worth of gold was buried around this area along with the bodies – it may be a good area to search for ghosts!
108 Mile Lake
108 Mile Ranch was the furthest North we made it on our day trip from Clinton. However after exploring the historical buildings, we fancied a walk. 108 Mile Lake and Sepa Lake Loop is a pleasant stroll around two pretty, bird-filled lakes. If you are looking for a place to stretch your legs before driving South, this is a lovely option.
One of the tastiest places we found to eat in 100 Mile House was GBR burgers. They have perfect poutine and giant, delicious burgers. Unfortunately they were evicted in March 2022, but watch out for their sign as they hope to open a new location.
I hope that gives you a few ideas for exploring Clinton and the Cariboo region. This is a beautiful area, that is fabulous to visit in the Autumn when it’s raining most days in Vancouver! Plus the road trip from Vancouver via Lillooet is such a pleasure to drive!
The village of Clinton website has more ideas for trails here. I like the sound of Cougar point and Mount Bowman for next time we visit!