Cache Creek, located at the junction of the Trans Canada Highway 1 and the Cariboo Highway 97, can accurately be described as a bustling oasis town in the midst of cactus, tumbleweed and a desert-like climate. The harsh terrain gradually gives way to wide rolling grasslands and beautiful mountain terrain. This unique landscape is the result of being situated at the junction of the Cariboo and Thompson Valleys on the Thompson Plateau.
Cache Creek has a deep history extending much further back than the gold rush. For thousands of years the Shuswap Nation has inhabited the valley living a traditional and nomadic lifestyle. But when gold was discovered in the 1860s, miners, ranchers and settlers put down roots and firmly established the town of Cache Creek on the map.
At the height of the gold rush, Cache Creek was a resting place for travelers on their way from the Lower Mainland to the Interior. Legend has it that the town got its name when travelers began to hide their ‘cache' in the nearby Bonaparte River while they rested on their journey. Another story tells of a robber who stole gold from a prospector and ‘cached' it along the bank of the river. Whatever the story may be, the ‘cache' has still not been found.
Today, Cache Creek is popular tourist destination attracting visitors with its ambience of western mystique and its abundant scenic beauty. With gently rolling grasslands, Cache Creek is an ideal setting for horse riding, and the lake-dotted landscape provides ample opportunity to view wildlife, desert flowers and other unique species adapted to the dry, hot land.
Less than 20 minutes away, 10km south of Cache Creek on Highway 97C, the historic community of Ashcroft lies nestled in a valley beside the Thompson River. With 2,000 residents, Ashcroft mirrors Cache Creek in many ways; it's a desert oasis rich in history and big on hospitality. But unlike its neighbor, this community's economy is based on agriculture, which the flourishing ranches of the area portray.
Today, Ashcroft is known as the "The Heart of Gold Country" and acts as a gateway to the North by providing amenities and services for travelers. Once in Ashcroft, visitors will instantly feel stress-free as the heritage-filled community's peaceful ambiance resonates from all around. With rolling hills, and a sunny and arid climate, Ashcroft offers spectacular opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The most popular pastime in this region of the Thompson River is fishing. Loon Lake is particularly promising for its abundance of rainbow trout, but also contains kokanee and steelhead. The steelhead run on the Thompson River is legendary as one of the main tributaries for the oceangoing fish. Steelhead are famous for their size, speed, stamina and strength; simply watching them battle their way upstream is an amazing sight.
For those who prefer rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and camping, the surrounding mountains offer lots of opportunities. Book a guide, or venture out alone, you will not be disappointed as the landscape has much to offer.
Logan Lake is the most populated community in the Gold Country sub-region. Hunters, fisherman and backcountry explorers flock to this town for its pristine landscape of mountains, lakes and forest. Located a short 60 km (38 mi) southwest of Kamloops on Hiwy 97C, Logan Lake was originally established as a company town to support the largest open pit copper mine in North America. Presently, the town has expanded to become a beautiful rural space offering serene mountain landscape and ample outdoor recreation opportunities coupled with all the amenities of a modern, hospitality-driven town.
Visitors to Logan Lake always have something to do. There's fishing not only in Logan Lake but the surrounding lakes as well, are offering a chance to catch the next big one. There is Steelhead Provincial Park, located 40 km (25mi) to the North. This park is extremely popular in the summer as it is the angling hot spot offering a convenient boat launching ramp and an incredible view of eroded countryside. You can venture into the network of back-road trails for a relaxing bike ride, or peaceful hike. There's a lot to do in the winter too! With 36 km (22 mi) of groomed trails, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular activities that attract enthusiasts from all over the world. Endless opportunities to enjoy nature at its finest make it easy to see why Logan Lake is one of the most popular communities in the interior of BC.
For the ultimate water-sport experience, the experts head to the small town of Spences Bridge on Hwy 8. Located at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers, travelers have two main options when entering this community: to fish or to river raft.
The area around Spences Bridge attracts anglers from around the world during its peak fishing season - September to December. In particular, they came for the excellent steelhead fishing at Goldpan Provincial Park where they catch and release these prized sport fish.
Spences Bridge is also is a paradise for those who love the feel of spectacular white water. Located near two world-class whitewater rivers, the Thompson and the Fraser River, there is ample opportunity to power-raft or paddle down the exhilarating waterways. There are 18 major rapids with rankings from 1 to 5 on the stretch of river between Spences Bridge and Lytton. Whether you're a novice or an expert, an angler or a river rafter, the quaint town of Spences Bridge has much to offer.
Gold Country is a place where history runs deep and nature sprawls freely. This region can offer something for everyone, whether it be lassoing a calf, casting a fishing line, paddling down a river, or simply hiking a backcountry trail. Gold Country is always satisfying and never forgotten by visitors.
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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia