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Heritage Discovery Circle Route

Barkerville Historic Town

(Chris Harris photo)

Transportation & Maps

Heritage Discovery Circle Route

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10+ days, 3476.41 km (2160.14 mi)

Totem pole at 'Ksan Historical Village and Museum (Tom Ryan photo)
Totem pole at 'Ksan Historical Village and Museum (Tom Ryan photo)

Discover the diverse culture of BC's Aboriginal peoples, catch the pioneer spirit on the Gold Rush Trail, journey to historic destinations and ferry through the Inside Passage. Heritage sites line this route, along with stops to see tunnels, fossils, totem poles and grizzly bears.

Select one of the parts to view its details:

All Parts
Museum of Anthropology
Part 1
Vancouver to Clinton

428.15 km - about 5 hours 27 min

In Vancouver, begin your exploration with a tour of some 6,000 objects from BC’s Aboriginal peoples at the Museum of Anthropology. Travel east and stop at Fort Langley National Historic Site. This is the birthplace of British Columbia and a must-see attraction! Continue on to Hope through the rich farm country of the Fraser Valley; walk through the Othello Tunnels, part of the famous Kettle Valley Railway, built between 1910 and 1916. Continue on Highway 1 to Lytton for a guided rafting trip down the mighty Fraser or Thompson rivers. Take Highway 12 to Lillooet and try panning for gold. Continue north on Highway 99 back to Highway 97 and experience the arid desert settings near Clinton.

Barkerville, BC Heritage photo
Part 2
Gold Rush Trail to Barkerville

559.40 km - about 7 hours 15 min

Continue to Clinton by following the original Gold Rush Trail north on Highway 97. Further north is 100 Mile House, named because it was 100 miles along the original Cariboo Wagon Road from Lillooet – mile zero of this famous route. See one of the few surviving stagecoaches of the Barnard Express and Stage Line here, then continue on to 108 Mile Heritage site and learn about the gold rush at this picturesque lunch spot. From here to Williams Lake and Quesnel, enjoy fishing, camping, canoeing, mountain biking and horseback riding. Make sure you bring your golf clubs and stop at the many community courses in the area – these are challenging courses where tee-off times are easily accessible.

To see where the gold rush boomed, make a side-trip east to Barkerville, a historic gold rush town settled in 1862. With more than 125 restored heritage buildings, the town has been named the “Best Large Provincial Attraction” by Attractions Canada on two separate occasions. Continue north to Prince George.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, JF Bergeron/Enviro Foto photo
Part 3
Prince George to the Northwest Coast

948.24 km - about 11 hours 58 min

From Prince George, drive Highway 16 west and follow the trail of settlers, gold seekers, fur traders and explorers. Detour north to see Fort St. James National Historic Site. It was the centre of the fur trade in the 1890s, and it’s now a restored Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. Don’t miss the 50-million-year-old fossils at Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park near Smithers.

In the Hazeltons, visit the fascinating ‘Ksan Historical Village. This replicated ancient Gitxsan village features northwest-style longhouses and totem poles that face the river, in keeping with tradition. Continue on to view the famous totems at Gitwangak and Gitanyow – there are more than 50 in the surrounding area. Detour on Highway 113 to explore the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park where a volcano erupted more than two centuries ago, leaving a pocked lava moonscape. Backtrack and spend time in lively Terrace; stroll the Grand Trunk Pathway and learn the history of this Skeena River city. Head south on Highway 37 to Kitimat, which offers plenty of outdoor recreation.

Continue west to Prince Rupert.

Inside Passage ferry
Part 4
Northwest Coast and Inside Passage to Vancouver Island

948.80 km - about 33 hours 32 min

Spend a few days of cultural exploration near Prince Rupert. Get a close-up view of the area’s diverse Aboriginal communities: the Nisga’a, Haisla, Tsimshian and Haida. From Prince Rupert, take a guided grizzly bear watching tour to the Khutzeymateen – Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary.

In Prince Rupert, board BC Ferries to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). Learn about the Haida’s enduring presence amid these magical islands at the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. Arrange a tour to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, a celebration of more than 10,000 years of connection between land, sea and Haida culture.

Back in Prince Rupert, tour the fish cannery at the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village, and then enjoy a full day cruise on another BC Ferries vessel down the Inside Passage. Travel through dramatic fjords and green forested channels to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. This scenic trip also offers glimpses of porpoises, whales, seals and black bears.

In Port Hardy, make sure to visit the Copper Maker Gallery, where you can inhale the aroma of cedar in the downstairs workshop and watch carvers creating beautiful, original northwest First Nations artwork.

Telegraph Cove, JF Bergeron photo
Part 5
Port McNeill to Campbell River

271.83 km - about 3 hours 51 min

Drive south to Port McNeill where another memorable BC Ferries trip glides you to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. Visit the U’mista Cultural Centre, which preserves the rich culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw Aboriginal peoples, and see the totems of the ’Namgis Burial Ground.

Back on Vancouver Island, take a side trip to historic Telegraph Cove. Much of the town is built on stilts, raised above the water, and linked by a wooden boardwalk.

Follow Highway 19 to Campbell River and witness traditional drumming and dancing at Gildas Box of Treasures Theatre. Don’t miss the Museum at Campbell River’s “Treasures of the Siwidi” exhibit – a dramatic light and sound presentation which spotlights a series of Aboriginal masks.

Continue south to Courtenay.

Parksville Community Park, Adrian Dorst photo
Part 6
Courtenay to Nanaimo

161.13 km - about 1 hours 53 min

Visit the the Courtenay and District Museum to dig for fossils in the 80-million-year-old sea bed at the Puntledge River, then drive onward to the communities of Royston, Union Bay, Fanny Bay and finally Qualicum Beach, renowned for its flower gardens and views of Georgia Strait. Further south, sunny Parksville has 7km/4.3mi of sandy beaches and may offer the warmest saltwater swimming on Vancouver Island. Stop in Nanaimo’s Petroglyph Park to see 1,000-year-old stone engravings of mythological sea creatures and other fascinating symbols. While in Nanaimo, visit the Nanaimo Museum for a unique glimpse into the lives of the town’s Aboriginal settlers dating back more than 2,000 years.

Totem at Thunderbird Park near Royal BC Museum in Victoria
Part 7
Duncan, Victoria and Return to Mainland

158.86 km - about 3 hours 40 min

In Duncan, the ancestral home of the Cowichan peoples and the famous Cowichan sweaters, watch carvers at work at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre. In Victoria, the Royal BC Museum showcases the human and natural history of BC, and features outstanding Aboriginal exhibits, natural history galleries and pioneer artifacts. Finally, relax on another scenic cruise with BC Ferries back to Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver.

To complete your tour, visit the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary west of Ladner, which has had more than 260 bird species recorded across its managed wetlands and marshes.

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 City  Visitor Centre  Driving Route

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver to Clinton - 428.15 km - about 5 hours 27 min
1.

Head southwest on Burrard St toward W Cordova St

0.06 km
2.

Take the 1st left onto W Cordova St

1.56 km
3.

Turn right onto Gore Ave

0.11 km
4.

Take the 1st left onto E Hastings St

4.74 km
5.

Take the BC-1 E/Trans Canada Highway ramp

0.67 km
6.

Merge onto BC-1 E/Trans-Canada HwyPartial toll road

31.55 km
7.

Take exit 58 for 200 Street N

0.70 km
8.

Slight left onto 200 St

0.20 km
9.

Turn right onto 88 Ave E

6.15 km
10.

Turn right onto Glover RdDestination will be on the right

0.12 km
11.

Head southwest on Glover Rd toward Rawlison Crescent

1.06 km
12.

Turn left onto Rawlison Crescent

0.71 km
13.

Continue onto 232 St

1.59 km
14.

At the roundabout, continue straight onto 232 St/BC-10 W

0.32 km
15.

Take the British Columbia 1 E ramp to Hope

1.05 km
16.

Merge onto Trans-Canada Hwy

103.58 km
17.

Take exit 170 for BC-1 E/TransCanada Highway

0.15 km
18.

Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Hope Town Centre/Cache Creek/Kamloops/University Of The Fraser Valley/Rte 1 East

0.05 km
19.

Turn left onto Water Ave/BC-1 E (signs for Hope Town Centre/Cache Creek/Kamloops/University Of The Fraser Valley/Rte 1 East)

1.01 km
20.

Head northwest on Water Ave toward Commission St

0.42 km
21.

Continue onto BC-1 E/Trans-Canada Hwy

107.19 km
22.

Turn left onto Main St/BC-12 NDestination will be on the left

0.14 km
23.

Head northwest on Main St/BC-12 N toward 1 St

1.21 km
24.

Turn left onto BC-12 N (signs for Lillooet)

60.42 km
25.

Continue onto BC-99 NDestination will be on the left

0.14 km
26.

Head north on BC-99 N

74.42 km
27.

Turn left onto Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N (signs for Prince George/100 Mile House)Destination will be on the left

24.01 km
28.

Head northwest on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 NDestination will be on the right

4.82 km
Part 2 - Gold Rush Trail to Barkerville - 559.40 km - about 7 hours 15 min
1.

Head northeast on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Le Bourdais AveDestination will be on the left

72.05 km
2.

Head north on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Airport RdDestination will be on the left

14.26 km
3.

Head west on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Spring Lake Rd

76.22 km
4.

Slight right to stay on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N (signs for Quesnel/Prince George)Destination will be on the left

0.23 km
5.

Head northwest on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Donald Rd

118.24 km
6.

Turn right onto Cariboo Hwy/Carson Ave/BC-97 N (signs for Bakerville/Prince George)

0.58 km
7.

Turn right onto Cariboo Hwy/Front St/BC-97 N (signs for Barkerville/Prince Geroge)Continue to follow Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 NDestination will be on the left

1.93 km
8.

Head northwest on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Smith Ave

3.14 km
9.

Turn right onto Barkerville Hwy/BC-26 E

79.43 km
10.

Head north on Barkerville Hwy/BC-26 W toward Reduction RdDestination will be on the left

5.52 km
11.

Head southwest on Barkerville Hwy/BC-26 W

73.82 km
12.

Turn right onto Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 NDestination will be on the right

0.94 km
13.

Head north on Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N toward Crotteau Rd

111.69 km
14.

Take the exit toward Ferry Ave/Queensway

0.19 km
15.

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Vanderhoof and merge onto Ferry Ave/QueenswayContinue to follow Ferry Ave

0.27 km
16.

Slight right to merge onto Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 S toward QuesnelDestination will be on the right

0.88 km
Part 3 - Prince George to the Northwest Coast - 948.24 km - about 11 hours 58 min
1.

Head southeast on Cariboo Hwy/Simon Fraser Bridge/BC-97 S

0.53 km
2.

Take the 1st right onto Railway Rd

0.09 km
3.

Take the 2nd right toward Railway Rd

0.26 km
4.

Turn left onto Railway Rd

0.06 km
5.

Turn left onto Cariboo Hwy/BC-97 N

1.02 km
6.

Take the exit toward Ferry Ave/Queensway

0.19 km
7.

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Vanderhoof and merge onto Ferry Ave/QueenswayContinue to follow Ferry Ave

1.47 km
8.

Turn left onto Yellowhead Highway W

102.67 km
9.

Turn right onto Stuart Lake Hwy/BC-27 N (signs for Fort Saint James)

53.27 km
10.

Turn right onto Kwah Rd EDestination will be on the right

0.04 km
11.

Head west on Kwah Rd E toward Douglas Ave/Stuart Lake Hwy/BC-27 N

0.04 km
12.

Take the 1st left onto Douglas Ave/Stuart Lake Hwy/BC-27 SContinue to follow Stuart Lake Hwy/BC-27 S

53.22 km
13.

Turn right onto Yellowhead Highway W (signs for Trans Canada Highway/BC-16 W)Destination will be on the left

264.27 km
14.

Head northwest on Yellowhead Highway W toward Queen StDestination will be on the right

66.74 km
15.

Head west on Yellowhead Highway W toward McLeod St

136.45 km
16.

Turn right onto Sande St/Yellowhead Highway W (signs for BC-16 W/Trans Canada Highway/Prince Rupert/City Centre)

0.28 km
17.

Turn left onto Yellowhead Highway W/BC-16 W (signs for Trans Canada Highway/Prince Rupert)Destination will be on the left

0.39 km
18.

Head east on Yellowhead Highway E toward Terrace Grand Trunk Pathway

0.36 km
19.

Turn right onto Sande St/Yellowhead Highway E (signs for Smithers/Prince George)

0.29 km
20.

Turn left onto Yellowhead Highway E (signs for Kitimat/Smithers/Prince George)

2.45 km
21.

Turn right onto Dease Lake Hwy/Stewart-Cassiar Hwy/Terrace-Kitimat Hwy/BC-37 S (signs for Kitimat/Airport)Destination will be on the right

58.54 km
22.

Head southeast on Dease Lake Hwy/Haisla Blvd/Stewart-Cassiar Hwy/Terrace-Kitimat Hwy/BC-37 N toward Ptarmigan StContinue to follow Dease Lake Hwy/Stewart-Cassiar Hwy/Terrace-Kitimat Hwy/BC-37 N

58.50 km
23.

Turn left onto Yellowhead Highway W

2.47 km
24.

Turn right onto Sande St/Yellowhead Highway W (signs for BC-16 W/Trans Canada Highway/Prince Rupert/City Centre)

0.28 km
25.

Turn left onto Yellowhead Highway W/BC-16 W (signs for Trans Canada Highway/Prince Rupert)

143.97 km
26.

Turn left onto 2 Ave W/Yellowhead Highway W/BC-16 W (signs for Trans Canada Highway/Queen Charlotte lsland/Alaska/Vancouer lsland)Destination will be on the right

0.40 km
1.

Head southwest on 2 Ave W/Yellowhead Highway W toward 4 StContinue to follow Yellowhead Highway W

3.01 km
2.

Turn right to stay on Yellowhead Highway W

0.17 km
3.

Take the Prince Rupert, BC - Skidgate, BC/Yellowhead Highway W ferry

193.29 km
4.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp/Yellowhead Highway W

0.08 km
5.

Turn right onto Yellowhead Highway W

3.39 km
6.

Head southwest on Yellowhead Highway E toward 3 Ave

3.39 km
7.

Turn left onto Ferry Ramp/Yellowhead Highway E

0.08 km
8.

Take the Prince Rupert, BC - Skidgate, BC/Yellowhead Highway E ferry to Prince Rupert

193.29 km
9.

Take the Port Hardy, BC - Prince Rupert, BC ferry to Port Hardy

509.04 km
10.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp/BC-19Continue to follow BC-19Destination will be on the right

4.07 km
11.

Head south on Bear Cove Hwy/BC-19 toward Douglas St

0.68 km
12.

Turn left onto BC-19 S (signs for Campbell River/Port Alice/Port McNeill)

35.81 km
13.

Turn left onto Campbell WayDestination will be on the left

2.50 km
Part 5 - Port McNeill to Campbell River - 271.83 km - about 3 hours 51 min
1.

Head southeast on Campbell Way toward Hemlock

2.50 km
2.

Turn left onto BC-19 S (signs for Beaver Cove/Campbell River)

7.23 km
3.

Turn left onto Beaver Cove Rd

10.50 km
4.

Turn left onto Telegraph Cove RdDestination will be on the left

3.59 km
5.

Head southwest on Telegraph Cove Rd toward Main Rd S

3.59 km
6.

Turn right onto Beaver Cove Rd

10.50 km
7.

Turn left onto BC-19 S (signs for Campbell River)

185.19 km
8.

Head south on Inland Island Highway/Willow St S/BC-19 S toward 16 AveContinue to follow Inland Island Highway/BC-19 SDestination will be on the right

48.72 km
Part 6 - Courtenay to Nanaimo - 161.13 km - about 1 hours 53 min
1.

Head southeast on BC-19 S

59.79 km
2.

Take exit 60 for British Columbia 4 toward Qualicum Beach/Coombs/Port Alberni

0.55 km
3.

Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Qualicum Beach

0.05 km
4.

Turn left onto BC-4 E

3.80 km
5.

Slight right onto Island Hwy WDestination will be on the right

0.19 km
6.

Head east on Island Hwy W toward Judges RowDestination will be on the right

11.24 km
7.

Head east on Island Hwy E toward McVickers St

4.63 km
8.

Sharp left to merge onto BC-19 S toward NanalmoDestination will be on the right

31.16 km
9.

Head southeast on Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 S

4.72 km
10.

Take the Trans Canda Highway/BC-1 N ramp to Nanaimo/Cedar Road

0.40 km
11.

Merge onto Island Hwy/BC-1 S/BC-19 SContinue to follow Island Hwy/BC-1 SDestination will be on the right

44.60 km
Part 7 - Duncan, Victoria and Return to Mainland - 158.86 km - about 3 hours 40 min
1.

Head south on Island Hwy/BC-1 S toward Alexander St

42.87 km
2.

Head south on Island Hwy/BC-1 S toward W Shore PkwyContinue to follow BC-1 S

18.75 km
3.

Turn right onto Belleville StDestination will be on the left

0.22 km
4.

Head east on Belleville St toward Government St

0.39 km
5.

Continue onto Blanshard St/Patricia Bay Hwy

1.06 km
6.

Turn right to stay on Blanshard St/Patricia Bay HwyContinue to follow Patricia Bay Hwy

30.28 km
7.

Take exit 33 for Lands End Road

0.20 km
8.

Turn left onto Lands End Rd

0.08 km
9.

Turn rightDestination will be on the right

0.29 km
10.

Head south toward Lands End Rd

0.29 km
11.

Take the ramp onto Patricia Bay Hwy

1.22 km
12.

Slight right onto Wain Rd (signs for Wain Road/McDonald Park Road/Deep Cove)

0.23 km
13.

Turn left onto Swartz Bay Rd (signs for BC-17 N/Ferries)

0.40 km
14.

Turn left onto McDonald Park Rd (signs for BC-17 N/Ferries)

0.16 km
15.

Slight right onto Patricia Bay Hwy

1.81 km
16.

Turn right onto Ferry Ramp

0.21 km
17.

Take the Swartz Bay, BC - Tsawwassen, BC ferry to Tsawwassen

46.43 km
18.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N

0.06 km
19.

Turn right to stay on Ferry Ramp/BC-17 NContinue to follow BC-17 N

3.53 km
20.

Turn right onto Tsawwassen Dr S

0.30 km
21.

Head east on Tsawwassen Dr S

0.24 km
22.

Take the 1st right onto BC-17 N

8.21 km
23.

Turn left onto Ladner Trunk Rd

1.57 km
24.

Turn left onto 52a StDestination will be on the right

0.04 km