Dreams of glorious riches brought thousands into Lillooet during the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1850s and 1860s, transforming the area into a boomtown with 13 saloons and 25 licenced premises. Lillooet became the largest North American centre west of Chicago, second only to San Francisco. The first trail to the Cariboo gold fields, known as the Cariboo Wagon Road, came through here. Lillooet residents still consider their town "Mile 0" on the Cariboo Wagon Road, and many towns along the Cariboo Highway are referred to by their distance north from this trail.
Today, residents are very proud of their heritage and visitors can explore the unique history throughout the community.
Lillooet is located 252 km or (151 mi) northeast of Vancouver via Highway 99 through Whistler, or 324 km (200 mi) east on the Trans Canada Highway 1 and north on Highway 12. Driving from the east Lillooet is 170 km (106 mi) west of Kamloops via Highway 97 and Highway 99.
Formerly the site of a well-known Anglican Church, the Lillooet Museum and Visitor Centre houses native artifacts, relics from the Gold Rush era, and a re-creation of Ma Murray's old news office.
This stately home was built in the 1890's era by the Gold Commissioner Caspar Phair and his wife. It became the home of Dr. Masajiro Miyazaki in the 1940s, a distinguished leader of the Japanese-Canadian community for 50 years, and one of two Lillooet residents named to the Order of Canada (Margaret 'Ma' Murray was the other). He donated his house in 1983, and it is now used for community events and local artwork display.
One of the most scenic rail trips in the world can be found along the shores of Seton Lake. Surrounded by soaring mountains and near vertical cliffs the 2-car Kaoham Shuttle train runs a daily service between Lillooet and Seton Portage.
Within the many lakes, rivers, and streams around Lillooet, you can find excellent fishing including trout, sturgeon, Chinook salmon, and steelheads.
There are many trail systems with more than 200 km (120 mi) of trails to explore. Some of the most beautiful scenery and accessible alpine hiking areas are found off Highway 99 south of Lillooet.
Lillooet Sheep Pasture Golf Course is a small but challenging 9-hole course for all levels of golfer. Located 8 km (5 mi) south of Lillooet, the course has water hazards, undulations and natural obstacles, including the sheep, to challenge every golfer.
The many lakes and rivers around Lillooet provide for excellent canoeing and kayaking. Canoe rentals are available at Seton Lake.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia