The park contains 14 ecological zones and offers the visitor an opportunity to visit all of the zones. This is a walk in wilderness park with no vehicles allowed. Due to the low snow levels in the park during winter, it may be possible to hike some trails with care.
At the junction of Highway 99 and 97, is Historic Hat Creek Ranch which is open for visitors between May and September only. Turn south towards Cache Creek. Known for its old west ambience, the town was a stopover for travellers on the arduous Gold Rush Trail. The trail is now a major highway, but signs along its length commemorate the pioneers and gold seekers who trekked it when it was no more than a trail etched into the steep canyon walls. There's a CanaDream Club campground here should you decide to spend a little more time in this area. Brookside Campsite offers sites with power only between mid-October and the end of March in an area surrounded by nature.
Follow Highway 1 and the Thompson River south and stop where the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway hammered in its last spike at Basque, near Ashcroft. As you drive, notice the terrain and think of the challenge that faced railway engineers and labourers. While heading south on Highway 1 the canyons grow steeper and narrower, making the accomplishment even more amazing.
At the town of Lytton, the Thompson and Fraser Rivers meet at a spectacular confluence. Venture to the water's edge and watch the fine line that emerges as the azure waters of the Thompson merge with the muddy Fraser.
Highway 1 is carved into the cliffs of the Fraser Canyon following the river as it rushes between the rocky walls and past Hell's Gate, the narrowest point on the whole Fraser. During the summer months, an air tram descends into the gorge and brings visitors close to the raging white water torrent. An international village has shops, restaurants, and an historical education centre.
At Yale, the canyon opens up and the Fraser River spills out into the Fraser Valley. The raging white water becomes a slow, meandering waterway carrying log booms, barges and tugboats. The Yale Museum provides the background on the significance of this location as the start of the Gold Rush Trail.
Further on is Hope, where the traveler can head east to Vancouver along either Highway 1 or Highway 7. Hope is at the foot of the Cascade Mountains and is known as the Chainsaw Carving Capital of Canada. Giant wooden chain-sawed sculptures are placed throughout the town, depicting wildlife and the surrounding area.
The route along Highway 7 north of the Fraser River is very scenic and includes a short 8 kilometre jog to the resort village of Harrison Hot Springs, one of British Columbia's finest resort communities. Since its inception, Harrison Hot Springs has grown in class and reputation, and is now considered a world-class vacation destination. The town's two mineral hot springs beckon tourists, inviting them to relax while taking in the stunning scenery. The string of inspiring mountains cradle a majestic 60 kilometres stretch of lake.
Further along Highway 7 is Mission and the site of the original 9,000-year-old Sto:lo settlement the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre. Westminster Abbey in Mission welcomes visitors to attend liturgies, roam the 80-hectare abbey farm and watch life in the seminary campus. Looking out from the hill is a view of the Fraser River and its valley unfolding below.
As you leave Mission towards the city of Vancouver you travel through the fields and dairy farms of the lower Fraser Valley. Communities to explore along Highway 7 include Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Anmore. The Pitt Wildlife Management Area is home to North America's largest freshwater tidal lake, Pitt Lake - excellent for bird watching, including sandhill cranes, eagles, and trumpeter swans at various times of the year.
Overnight in Vancouver. We have three partner campgrounds here to choose from before returning your vehicle back to our location in Delta tomorrow.