Gold Bridge is a small town nestled in the Bridge River Valley, among the towering peaks of the South Chilcotin Mountains. It has a rich and fascinating history, full of railways, ghost towns, flooded valleys, old mines, and trails. Since 1859, when gold was first discovered on Bridge River, this region has been home to miners and their families.
The big gold rush began in the 1930s at the Bralorne-Pioneer Mine near Gold Bridge. It was the richest gold claim in Canada, producing more than four million ounces of gold before it closed in 1971 and prompted the construction of a complete town. The mine has been abandoned for many years but recently there has been new mining activity in the area.
History buffs still find plenty of old ghost towns and abandoned mines to poke around in.
Gold Bridge is located in the Bridge River Valley, 105 km (65 mi) west of Lillooet and 300 km (186 mi) north of Vancouver. The valley is accessible by car, snowmobile, float plane and helicopter.
The Bralorne Pioneer Museum Society was formed in 1977 to preserve the history of the Bridge River Valley, which consists of several small communities: Bralorne, Gold Bridge, Gun Creek, Tyax Lake, and Marshall Lake. The museum is open May to October. A number of historical buildings are still intact including the Bralorne Mine, Boultbee Memorial Church, the Gold Bridge Model Bakery and the Bralorne-Pioneer Mine Office.
Relive the days of the Cariboo Gold Rush by spending an afternoon panning for gold. You may also find jade here. The largest jade boulder recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records was found nearby.
Explore the trails created by prospectors during the gold rush. Take in the amazing mountain vistas, sparkling lakes and meadows of wild flowers. Watch for mule deer, moose and grizzly bears. Float place drops are available for groups to do a one-way hike out of the alpine and guides can be hired. Taylor Basin and Spruce Lake Park areas offer a large selection of trails and destinations for every hiker.
With an abundance of water, there is no shortage of fish in the Bridge River Valley. Great fishing can be found on almost all the lakes and rivers in the valley. Pearson Pond, Mowson Pond, Tyaughton Lake, Plateau Ponds, Lajoie Lake and Kingdom Lakes are all perfect fishing lakes with Rainbow Trout, Eastern Brooke Trout, Kokanee & Bull Trout. 1-3lbs average but fish 10-18lbs have been landed as well.
The Valley has an amazing network of world class, high alpine trails, mostly consisting of fun flowy single-track trails that climb mountain passes and cross streams. A large portion of this area is protected wilderness and the Spruce Lake Park is home to some of the classic rides in the area. Local trails lower down in the valley are not to be overlooked and are a great mix of cross country with a few man-built features thrown in for fun! Epic multi-day rides can be done venturing further into Big Creek Park and towards Taseko Lake. Float Plane drops & Horse Transporter Services are also available to help get your group further out into the wilderness. Guide services are available.
It's real cowboy country up here and if you have your own horse, there are endless trails to explore whether day riding from a base camp or venturing into the backcountry with your pack horses. Local outfitters are available for guided tours.
Touring bikes, ATVs and Jeeps, this is your playground! Several circle loops are available on a mix of paved and dirt roads. Hundreds of 4X4 roads and trails are found in the valley.
There are lots of winter activities in the area in addition to snowmobiling. Ice skating on a frozen lake when weather permits can be fun or try Ice Fishing for Brooke and Rainbow Trout. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the network of trails and logging roads is popular, or try skate skiing on Tyaughton Lake when conditions permit.
Bralorne is the Sled HQ and many areas can be accessed directly from town. The Taylor Basin also offers great sledding. All destinations offer spectacular views and riding experiences. There are hazards, including avalanches, crevasses, creek crossings and white outs so know your limitations.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia