Route 4

The Heritage Trails

From the splendour of Stanley Park at the mouth of Burrard Inlet to the spectacular Cascade Mountains above Hope and on to the storied Cariboo, the Heritage Trails route runs through the heart of B.C.

Route highlights include geocaches at some of the New Pathways to Gold’s Heritage Trails Projects. NPTGS and their partners like the National Trails Coalition and the Hope Mountain Centre want visitors to rediscover the network of trails along the corridor’s historic routes, like the 1849 HBC Brigade Trail near Hope. You can experience the Cariboo Wagon Road and get a taste of the Gold Rush at Barkerville, Wells and Stanley. Or catch a ride on the Spirit Catcher Train at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, a traditional First Nations Village recreated by Aboriginal Tourism B.C.

In-between, enjoy geocaching at some of our partner organisations and community sites. The Princeton Visitor Centre and Chamber of Commerce is adding four of their existing caches to the Chasing the Golden Butterfly program. And NPTGS is proud to partner with the Gold Country Communities Society GeoTourism Program and add sites from this groundbreaking tourism initiative.

So whether you want to wander in the pristine Cascades or experience authentic Aboriginal culture, chase the Golden Butterfly down the Heritage Trails Route.

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s newest festivals. This is an interactive, engaging and sensory experience for all visitors. Watch colourful performances and dances by First Nations performers. Listen to the beat of the drums. Watch as talented carvers transform wood into amazing artworks like a totem pole and a canoe. Check out the weavers busy at work or you can relax at the story telling circle and listen to enchanting stories passed from generation to generation.

Three Fun Facts about Klahowya Village

  • The Stanley Park Miniature Train has been transformed into the Spirit Catcher Train—an amusing display of the animal kingdom, highlighted by a guest appearance by orcas.
  • You can also visit the Spirit Stone Pathway to learn more about the animals and their significance.
  • The delicious traditional cuisine on site includes BBQ salmon and bannock. There’s also an artisan market where visitors can meet the artists and learn more about Aboriginal art work.
The Hudson’s Bay Company 1849 Brigade Trail from Hope to Otter Lake goes through the unspoiled beauty of the Cascade Mountains. Part of a network of trails in the Fraser River corridor that were used by First Nations people, fur traders and gold-seekers, today it offers the average hiker carrying a multi-day pack a five-day backcountry experience that passes through areas untouched for 160 years. The Hope Mountain Centre, working with a committee of individuals, government agencies and non-profits groups (including the New Pathways to Gold Society), is proud to help restore the HBC Brigade Trail—a designated “Heritage Trail.”

For more information about the 1849HBC Brigade Trail, check out

Three Fun Facts about 1849 HBC Trail, Hope

  • From the Peers Creek trailhead to Palmer Pond, the trail runs 25 kilometres. Once completed, hike the entire 43-kilometre route from Hope to the Tulameen Plateau, west of Princeton.
  • Between 1849 and 1860, men and horses using the trail faced a difficult four-day trip over the Cascades to the hub of Kamloops, source of stock horses and the link to the upper Fraser.
  • The route was originally a First Nations trail used for hunting and trade. An Upper Similkameen chief named “Blackeye” described the route to A.C. Anderson of the HBC in 1846.
Yak-Tulamn (the place where red earth was sold) was home to First Nations for millennia before the arrival of Europeans. The ancestors of today’s Upper Similkameen Indian Band mined ochre and chert. Vermilion Forks, present day Princeton, where the waters of the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers meet, was an early stopover for travelers en route to the West Coast and Interior. Some settlers were colourful characters like Jack Budd, a top horse breeder who was close pals with American train robber Billy Miner. Today, Princeton is the gateway to an outdoor leisure pleasure land.

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Three Fun Facts about Princeton & Area

  • The Princeton Museum & Archives is the place to take a walk back in time through the amazing collection of photos, stories and artifacts.
  • The Princeton Visitor Information Centre is right beside the Similkameen river so stop, soak your feet and do some panning.
  • Welldo, the little town that wasn’t, is near the HBC trailhead is in a secluded camping area by the river. Remember: it’s Bear Country, so carry bear spray just in case.

From the strategic transportation hub of Cache Creek to the rolling range of the Cariboo, Gold Country is laced by historic trails and backcountry routes to suit every kind of traveller. Discover the region’s rich history while using the Gold Country Geotourism Program. Use the GPS points or treasure hunt clues (letterboxing) to find boxes cached throughout Gold Country. This unique program is the first of its kind in British Columbia, and features 72 sites throughout the region.

For more information about Gold Country geocaches, check out
For an area map of Gold Country, click here.

Three Fun Facts about Gold Country Geotourism

  • Cornwall Hills Provincial Park covers 1,188 hectares of protected ecosystems, ranging from Engelmann Spruce-Sub-Alpine-Fir to parklands, grasslands and alpine meadows.
  • Goldpan Provincial Park hosts 14 campsites and a few day use picnic tables on 5 hectares, tucked between the Thompson River and the Trans Canada Highway. Scenery, semi-precious gems, wildlife, fishing, train watching, history and more make this park a rare gem.
  • Check out the replica s7istken (pithouse) near Lillooet. The semi-subterranean pithouses is approximately 12 metres in diameter — big enough to shelter four families.
An amazing feat of engineering, the Cariboo Wagon Road linked the outside world to fabled gold rush boomtowns like Stanley, where the saloons were packed and millions of dollars in gold were found. A later gold rush lead to the birth of Wells, famous for its Gold Quartz Mine. But none was more storied than Barkerville, “as lively a mining town as has ever existed in any gold-producing country the world has yet seen, not even excepting the famed and more modern Dawson City, product of the Klondike excitement.”

For more information about the Cariboo Wagon Road, check out

Three Fun Facts about The Cariboo Wagon Road

  • Barkerville was named a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1923–35 years before it became a Provincial Park and Heritage Site. Barkerville has never been a ghost town: Someone has lived there or stayed overnight since 1862.
  • Stanley is the last known whereabouts of Miss Florence Wilson, British Columbia’s first official librarian. Originally from England, Miss Wilson came to the Colony via the London Female Middle Class Emigration Society aboard the Tynemouth—the first “Brideship.” She ended up owning two saloons in Barkerville before moving on to Stanley.
  • Fred Wells always believed there was “a mother lode to be found in the belly of the Cow.” The Cow in this case was Cow Mountain and Fred was right. His Cariboo Gold Quartz Mining Company helped Wells (both the town and the man) prosper in the midst of the Great Depression.