The Chasm – Cariboo

The Chasm – Cariboo

The Chasm is one of those strange places that isn’t particularly famous, but despite that, it is surprisingly cool. I guess if the Chasm was located somewhere else it would attract thousands of visitors. As it is, located just north of Clinton in BC’s Cariboo region, the 300m deep, 600m wide gorge seems to be off the main tourist trails. Still, if you are on a road trip along the Cariboo Highway (BC 97) it is worth taking a detour to visit this natural wonder.

The Chasm – the basics

Distance: 2km 
Elevation gain
: minimal
Time: 30 mins
What to bring: You don’t need much it’s a short walk. I brought the 10 essentials because I always do. It’s good to carry bear spray in this region.
Facilities: Plenty of parking and drop toilets
How hard is it? Easy. You can see the views even without walking.
Dog friendly: We saw some off leash dogs, but there are steep drop-offs so it’s safer to keep dogs on their lead.

The Chasm loop – map

We followed the trail along the edge of the gorge, then back along a gravel path. If you have more time, there is a trail that will take you down to the base of the canyon.

The Chasm Geology

This impressive gorge was created by layers of lava that was then eroded by glacial waters over 10,000 years. There is still a waterfall at the end of the gorge, although nowadays it is pretty small. The layers of rock are all different colours; It is also known as the painted chasm.

Chasm views

The trail closest to the parking area is covered by fences, but if you walk a little way around the top of the canyon, there are some fabulous, fenseless views. You can peer down for 8km along the Chasm Creek valley and far into the distance.

This is the view from the eastern side of the canyon.

I wonder if this counts as BC version of horseshoe bend!?

The trail at the top of the canyon it pretty exposed and close to the edge. Still if you are careful (and try not to scare your husband by getting too close to the edge) it is great for seeing the chasm close up.

Possible wildlife viewings

The chasm has a whole range of habitats, from ponderosa pine trees at the top, to lakes and marshes at the lower levels. This means, if you are lucky you might see bighorn sheep on those steep walls, as well as moose, deers and black bears at the base of the gorge. Bring your bear spray just in case.

Fab things to visit near the Chasm

It doesn’t take long to visit the Chasm (if you only hike a couple of km). We visited Clinton Falls, Begbie Lookout, Bridge Creek Falls (at 100 mile House) as well as 108 Mile Lake and 108 Mile Heritage Site all on the same day.

If you fancy seeing some spectacular views with very little effort, you should definitely visit the chasm! The further around it you hike, the more you will love it.

21 thoughts on “The Chasm – Cariboo

  1. This is pretty cool! I definitely agree with your assessment that more people would visit this attraction if it were in a more densely populated area.

  2. This looks like a pretty easy walk. Definitely interested in the wild life but I would bring bear spray as you suggest.

  3. This looks so awesome, and I love that it’s a short hike to get there. I would definitely love the Bridge Creek falls as well.

  4. Wow, the chasm landscape looks so dramatic! The views look incredible, but the paths look a little exposed for my liking! Thanks for the great guide!

  5. Wow, I had never heard of the Chasm before, even though I’ve been to BC several times. It looks like a great stop for our next Canada road trip – thanks for sharing!

  6. The Chasm seems to have such an incredibly beautiful landscape! Thanks for sharing this detailed guide – I can never get enough of hiking routes around the world. Definitely saving this for later 🙂

  7. This looks like a great walk! I am a big fan of the Ice Age Floods in our region and would love to see the Chasm. It is also a good choice for most fitness levels with some beautiful views. And yes, I think that counts as the BC version of Horseshoe Bend!

  8. Ooo I love big gorges like this! It’s nice that the rim trail is pretty rugged and a bit off the beaten path. Can you also hike down into the canyon?

    1. Yeah, that is what I’d like to do next time. On this occasion we were keen to follow the gold rush trail. Next time I’d spend longer hiking into the Chasm…

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