Columbia's most popular historic mining town located on the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail made popular in the late 1800s. The historic mining
town of Barkerville is located on the Heritage Highway (Hwy 26) in a forested
region of the Cariboo at the base of the Conklin and Waverly Mountains
located east of the communities of Wells
and Quesnel, BC, Canada.
The discovery of gold by Billy Barker in 1862 attracted
many to the region in the hopes of making it rich. Soon later,
many followed Barker to the area via the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail.
This was not, just any transportation trail either, it was an
engineering marvel at the time referred to as the "Eigth
Wonder of the World".
Miners, immigrants and fur traders - in the thousands
- started arriving in the bustling gold town known as Barkerville.
So many arrived in the mining community between 1862 to 1870 that
Barkerville, quickly, became the largest city north of San Francisco
and west of Chicago, USA. A fact, hard to image in todays world.
The mining town flourished for years until a fire
broke out in 1868 and the towns people were forced to rebuild.
A second gold rush in the 1930's, briefly, revitalized Barkerville
but the community was fading fast. In 1958 the gold mining community
became a heritage site and Barkerville was reborn again.
Today, Barkerville is a popular sightseeing tour
located at the end of Hwy 26 (The Heritage Highway). But it is
not the only attraction in this part of British Columbia worth exploring. Also
located on the Heritage Highway is the Bowron
Lakes Canoe Paddle Route and another heritage site known as
The gold mining community consists of over 100+
heritage buildings. Buildings like a school house, a jail, a post
office, a telegraph office, some settler homes, a carriage house,
a church, a saloon, a hotel, a chinese mercantile store, some
miner cabina and newspaper office to name a few. To make the experience
all seem so real - actors roam the streets freely in period customes.
The Barkerville heritage site is best viewed in two ways. Both
on foot. Some visitors decide on a self guided tour exploring
history at their own pace while others like to time their arrival with the interpretive tour. A trip down memory
lane following the actors down Main Street. The later is full
of stories and folklore and by far the preferred tour.
Barkerville is a working heritage town. Onsite
there is a selection of services operating during summer season
like restaurants including the Lung Duck Tong, Gold Field Bakery,
Wake Up Jakes and the House Hotel Coffee Saloon. Explore Main
Street further by visiting BC's 8th oldest working Post Office
with full postal services, a watchmaker shop with period time
pieces, a live stage show in the local theatre and a general store
with a candy selection kids would hug you for.
Treats for adults include the Kwong Sang Wing Chinese
Store with medicinal herbs and wines and the C. Strouss &
Company General Merchant Store with cheeses, dry goods, jams and
jellies. A visit to the photography shop provides the whole family
an opportunity to dress up in period clothing for a picture. And
better yet, rent the custome for the day and play a local while
Much to see and do when stepping back in time.
Some like to explore the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail on a horse drawn
carraige ride. Others enjoy some quality time panning for gold
with a miner. While some like to stand back and watch the interpretive
show of a working blacksmith at Camaron & Ames Blacksmith
A ridge hiking trail located near the large parking
lot ( RV Friendly) leads to the Barkerville Cemetary. In the summer
months Main Street Barkerville continues to Richfield where the
local courthouse is located and Judge Begbie. Sit and watch as
the law is upheld and sentences are being handed down.
Get to Barkerville: From the community of Quesnel
travel north (or travel south from the community of Prince George)
on Highway 97. Located just outside of Quesnel is Highway 26 (The
Heritage Highway) leading east to Wells, Bowron Lakes and Barkerville.
Continue down Highway 26 for approximately 90 kilometres to Barkerville