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British Columbia Ranchlands and Rivers Circle

Although you could start your drive anywhere along this circle route, this one starts out from Hope. This town is nestled against the Cascade Mountains on the banks of the Fraser River. Hope, only two hours inland from the west coast enjoys a temperate climate thanks to warm, moist Pacific Ocean airstreams. Comfortable and relatively dry summers and mild, wet winters. Snow infrequently falls in low-lying areas and when it does, it usually melts within days. Nearby is the stunning Fraser canyon gorge, an area featured in numerous movies filmed in Hope, including "Rambo-First Blood" with Sylvester Stallone.

You'll head north on Hwy 1, following the mighty Fraser River, named after Simon Fraser, the first European to navigate its waters. Once a transportation link for wagons and stagecoaches traveling the old Cariboo Wagon Road, the Fraser Canyon roadway now transports you through awe-inspiring scenery.Cutting a heart-stopping swath through the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Mountains, the river creates a colossal valley of lush forests, dramatic gorges and mountainside farms.

Your first stop is at Hell's Gate to see nature in its full magnificence. Over 200 million gallons of water surge through this narrow, 110 foot gorge every minute. That is twice the volume of Niagara Falls.

You can take an airtram on smooth 500 foot descent above the gorge to feel the rush of raging waters, view the International Fishways that flank the gorge and maybe even spot rafters shooting the rapids.From here you head north to Lytton where the Fraser River meets the Thompson River creating a dramatic surge which has earned Lytton the title of "Rating Capital of Canada". Rapids such as Devil's Gorge and Witch's Cauldron swirl and dip to the heights of 15 feet. Scenic fishing, hiking and camping are also nearby.You continue north to Lillooet - the official start of the old Cariboo Wagon Road - where you can try panning for gold. Journey on Hwy 99 back to Hwy 97; then head north to the cowboy town of Clinton.

Clinton came into being during the Cariboo Gold Rush and never lost the flavor of the Old West. Known as the "Gateway to the Cariboo", it sits at the junction of two historic routes to the gold fields: the original wagon road that ran from Harrison Lake and through Lillooet and its replacement, the Cariboo Wagon Road, which was called "the eighth wonder of the world" in its day. When the gold rush died down, ranching became the area's major industry and it's still an important part of the local economy.Further north at 93 Mile turn east on Hwy 24, better known as the "Fishing Highway" to make your way through the Interlakes community.

This famous road stretching from here to Little Fort is your access to over 100 fishing lakes. Stop to fly fish or troll for trout, burbot and kokanee. Paddle some of the smaller pristine lakes, enjoy wildlife viewing, or set off on a backcountry trail ride at one of the area's many guest ranches.From Little Fort you turn south on Hwy 5 and head to Kamloops, home of the Kamloops Cowboy Festival. The area's rivers, mountains, lakes and grasslands will leave an indelible impression on you. Stay at any of the area's many resorts - from mountain to fly fishing resorts, remote lodges to luxury retreats - some cater to the entire family while others provide pampering and solitude for a special getaway complete with spa services and gourmet dining.

Head south from Kamloops on Hwy 5 to Merritt and to the sunny Nicola Valley, land of grasslands, rolling hills and shimmering lakes. Ranching is a huge part of the Nicola Valley and where you can visit the Douglas Lake Ranch, Canada's largest working cattle ranch. If you're there in July, check out the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, featuring some country music's best and most promising performers.

Or you can listen to the birds along the Harmon Lake Interpretive Trail in Kane Valley. Explore the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives which depicts valley life at the turn of the 20th century.From Merritt, head south on Hwy 5A to Princeton. You can hike or bike the Trans Canada Trail along one of two rivers that meet in Princeton.

To the west you'll go through tunnels and over bridges; to the east, the higher elevation takes you through grasslands, lakes and forests.Back on the road again, you can take Hwy 3 west to Hope, where you started the tour some days ago. This tour as described is about 449 miles and could take from four to seven days.

.Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Russell.


By: Michael Russell

Orange County

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