Quesnel - The Gold Pan City

 Goldpan CityThings to Do: 
Exactly half way between Williams Lake and Prince George is one of the prettiest cities in the Cariboo, Quesnel. It is 119km (74 miles) north of Williams Lake and south of Prince George on Hwy 97 (the Cariboo Hwy). Today Quesnel is a major lumber, pulp, commercial, and service centre for the Northern Cariboo but in 1860 it was the point where prospectors left the Fraser River and headed east to Barkerville and Williams Creek. Like the gold rushers before you Quesnel is an excellent stopping point on your travels. 

In 1783 Alexander Mackenzie stopped here on his trip down the Fraser River and was convinced by the local Dakelh people to leave the river and so he went overland following the Blackwater River. The route he followed is now the 347km (260 mile) Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail. 

Location of QuesnelOne of BC's truly unspoiled rivers the Blackwater River is also one of BC's best fly-fishing rivers. It is also home to kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing.

Known for its shopping, fine dining, and deluxe accommodations ever since the Gold Rush Quesnel offers many excellent attractions. The event that displays Cariboo hospitality and pride at its best is the 4 day long Billy Barker Days held every year on the third weekend in July. Everyone in town dresses up in period attire and takes part. Every member of the family will have something to remember. There is the largest amateur rodeo in BC, a parade, a children's festival, fireworks and music, a whitewater raft race, and much more.

Other events to enjoy include the Fall Fair on Labour Day Weekend. Draft horse and dog pulling competitions, agricultural delights, and a midway are among the highlights. In January the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Race, an official qualifying event for the Iditarod, is a real test of man and dog and snowmobilers get their test with the Great Canadian Hill Climb held in April.

On the quieter side a walk along the Riverfront Trail will soothe your mind or maybe you would like to try gold panning. An area for that very activity has been set aside at the confluence of the Fraser and Quesnel Rivers. Quesnel has the world's largest gold pan on display. You can also take a riverboat trips of an hour or more along the Fraser or Quesnel Rivers.

Visit the Quesnel Museum and Archives located in LeBourdais Park. You'll find pioneer artifacts and a rare collection of 19th century Chinese items. There is also Discovery Place for the kids and LeBourdais Park has a beautiful rose garden next to Pioneer Cemetery. At Heritage Corner you'll be able to see the Old Fraser River Bridge, the remains of the gold rush Steamer Enterprise, boilers and iron parts from the first Fraser River riverboat to travel to Quesnel, the Cornish Water Wheel used in sluicing, and a cairn commemorating the Overland Telegraph Line which reached Quesnel in 1865.

One place you must visit is Barkerville. At one time the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco Barkerville today consists of 125 original and restored buildings. There are more than 100 displays, live theatre performances, demonstrations and shows, and the remains of one of North America's oldest Chinese communities. You'll be able to get your picture taken in a period costume or even rent one for the whole day, do some gold panning, or ride in a stagecoach. It's a living museum.

Golfers can enjoy two courses, one of 18 holes and the other of 9, while fishing, hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing are some of the other outdoor activities to enjoy in the area. There are many more attractions and activities in the area so remember to check back for additions and updates.

North to Prince George

South to Williams Lake

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