Lillooet is pretty amazing. It’s a small town on the Fraser River, four hours North of Vancouver. It is surrounded by ridiculously beautiful scenery with mountains, lakes and loads of possible hiking trails; The town’s slogan is “guaranteed rugged.” It may have achieved the slogan as being the start of the road for the historical Cayoosh Gold Rush, but it’s equaly appropriate now with Lillooet being a great base for adventures.
We visited as part of our mini road trip to show Marc’s brother, Tom, pretty places in BC. We were not sure what to expect, but now I’ve taken a peek, I’d love to go back and explore more trails in the area.
Lillooet – the basics
Location: 250km North of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway
Weather: This is one of BCs hot spots. The mountains create a rain shadow, so the area is dry, sunny and warm.
Hiking Map: Map of hikes near Lillooet.
On this roadtrip, we arrived in Lillooet after a 3 hour drive from Manning Park. We had stopped off for a hike at Othello Tunnels, and then stopped again to explore Hell’s Gate. We arrived after 3pm, so we didn’t have a huge amount of time to explore. Still, I’d like to show you some of the ridiculously pretty views you can see, even in just a few hours in Lillooet.
We stopped off at Naxwik picnic area, as there are some fantastic views of the surrounding massive, granite cliffs, and we were hoping to see some mountain goats. Apparently the park is named after all the garter snakes that live on those cliffs. Naxwit means snake in the language of the local Stl’atl’imx First Nation people. Don’t worry mum! We didn’t see any snakes, and garter snakes are not dangerous anyway!
There is a bit of a walkway through Naxwit park that allows you to wander along the salmon spawning channels. Then you can walk out to the start of the Seton Dam. Look up to the electricity pylons, as we saw osprey and eagles nesting up on them!
If you decide to dip your feet into the Seton river, get ready to freeze. The water must come down from the surrounding mountains and it is incredibly chilly!
We spent a while watching a marmot mum and her baby who were relaxing by the the path. The cub only popped his head out for a moment; Isn’t it a cutie with the white splodge on its nose!?
Seton Lake Viewpoint
A couple of minutes further out of Lilloeet you’ll reach a viewpoint by Seton Lake. There is a spectacular view of the emerald-green waters of Seton Lake reservoir and the surrounding Chilcotin mountains. I love this kind of layered mountain view.
We didn’t realize at the time, but from near here, there is a trail that leads to kekulis, underground winter homes built by Salish-speaking St’at’imc people. When we go back, I’ll explore that too.
Seton Lake beach
Once we’d seen the view, we were all keen to get closer, so we went right down to the beach on Seton Lake. It was springtime, so not very busy at all. There was just one family having a barbecue by the water.
We loved the view so much that we made plans to come back in the evening to see the sun set. Seton lake is SUCH a pretty place to watch the sun go down. While we there, hundreds of swallows danced in the air above us.
Heading South from Lillooet
We continued our road trip South the following morning towards Whistler. I’ll include the first section of the road, as it was ridiculously beautiful! Marc and I regularly drive the Sea to Sky (highway 99) to Whistler, but this was the first time we’d seen the mountain views further North.
We had to stop soooo many times to take photos and see the scenery. If you are visiting Lillooet from Vancouver, this road will blow you away!
Duffey Lake Provincial Park
This has to be one of the prettiest views on the Sea to Sky highway. Duffey Lake is a provincial park, right by the road. This area is reserved for conservation, to protect important wildlife habitats. This means there are no formal hiking trails in the park (although you are allowed to hike here if you leave no trace…)
However, it is worth stopping here just to take in the gorgeous views by the lake.
The lake did a pretty good impression of being a mirror!
We actually made multiple stops around the lake. How could you not with views like this!?
Joffre Peak Rock Slide
You may have noticed from the photos above, but we arrived a week after the two massive rock slides that carved off the North Face of Joffre Peak.
As we drove closer I took a close up photo of the Joffre Peak rock slide. It is pretty epic isn’t it!?
My original plan for the day was to to hike up to the Anniversary Glacier. However that rock slide was so new, that we thought we better wait until the area has been studied more. None of us were keen to be under a possible third slide!
I hope you like the look of the road to Lillooet, as well as the prettiness once you arrive there! Please click on the images below to pin them.