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Golden Raven cultural attraction itineraries:
Prince George to Fort St. James:
Leave Prince George and head west on Highway 16 for an hour before reaching Vanderhoof, the geographical center of the province of BC. Vanderhoof is also home to Nechako River Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which attracts very large numbers of spring-migrating Canada Geese.
While in town, visit the Vanderhoof Museum http://www.vanderhoofmuseum.com/, then grab a quick bite to eat at Ok Café (only open seasonally).
Continue on to Fort St. James (turn north on Highway 27) and take in the Fort St. James National Historic Site of Canada.
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/bc/stjames/index.aspx. Travel back in time to 1896 when wealth was measured in fur pelts and salmon. Tour Canada’s largest collection of wooden buildings that have been restored to reflect the fur trade era. You can spend the night in the historic Murray house warmed by a wood stove and live like the traders did more than a century ago. There are often events taking place at the Historic Site, and if you’re lucky enough you might get to watch some world famous chicken racing!
If you’re feeling adventurous, hike Mount Pope, a 6.5 km hiking trail to the peak provides a panoramic view of Stuart Lake and the mountains to the north.
Have lunch at the café on site at the Fort overlooking Stuart Lake before returning to Prince George (1:45).
Prince George to Mackenzie:
Heading north on Hwy 97, stop at Huble Homestead Historic Site (40km north of Prince George) http://www.hublehomestead.ca/. Enjoy lunch after touring the historic buildings, First Nations fish camp and purchasing unique gifts in the historic General Store.
Continue on Highway 97 north until you reach the Mackenzie junction and turn left on Highway 39. Located on the south end of Williston Lake (largest man-made lake in BC, and 7th largest reservoir in the world), Mackenzie is home to the world’s largest tree crusher. The Mackenzie Museum http://www.mackenziemuseum.ca/ has rich cultural, social, and natural history component that show how the development of Mackenzie in the 1960s happened as an ‘Instant Town’ in the Canadian wilderness.
If you have the chance to explore Morfee Lake, there are two great beaches, one with a boat launch for motorized use and one for swimming.
Return to Prince George (approx. 2hrs, 15mins)
Prince George to Barkerville:
Take Highway 97 South towards Quesnel, BC before turning left on Highway 26 to Wells and Barkerville (2 hrs 15 min from PG),
On route, visit Cottonwood House Historic Site, a store, museum and heritage property located on the right bank of the Cottonwood River, which was formerly the "capital" of the Cariboo Gold Rush route. Continue to Barkerville Historic Town http://www.barkerville.ca/, established in the 1860’s by Billy Barker as a gold mining settlement. Wander through the restored buildings, general store, church, Chee Kung Tong Building, which was designated a National Historic Sites of Canada in 2008.
Have lunch at one of several restaurants in Barkerville and spend the night in the King House, Kelly House or St George’s Hotel.
The next morning, stop at the Wells Museum, check out some local galleries and shops and take a lunch break at one of the many restaurant options on your way back to Prince George. (Approximately 2hrs).
Prince George to Valemount via McBride:
Driving on Highway 16 east, stop at Purden Lake Provincial Park, where you have the option of spending the night at a campsite, go for a swim, fish, or have a picnic. There are various difficulties of hiking trails dotted along Highway 16 east, pick up a hiking guide at the Prince George Visitor Centre before you leave town.
A must see is the Ancient Forest (113km east of Prince George) Provincial Park, which is fully accessible and an easy walk along boardwalks through 2ooo year old giants.
Stop at the McBride Train Station and the Whistle Stop (Consignment Art) Gallery http://www.whistlestopgallery.org/ which showcases the work of 96 Robson Valley artists and artisans.
Grab a coffee and snack at the Beanery Café before checking out the McBride Valley Museum (by donation) http://www.valleymuseum.ca/index.html to learn about local history and view regional artworks.
About 35km east of McBride, take a small detour to the community of Dunster, nestled in the Robson Valley and famous for it’s annual ice cream social. Continue on through to Tete Jaune Lodge, a Hudson’s Bay Log Cabin right on the Fraser River, and if you’re feeling adventurous book a white water rafting excursion. See the salmon spawn in season in the river (usually late August), before making a detour to Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains to hike the famous Berg Lake Trail.
Make your way to Valemount, located at the northern reach of the Rocky Mountain Trench in BC’sThompson-Okanagan Region, just 120 km (75 mi) from the entrance of Jasper National Park, and 322 km (200 mi) north of Kamloops.
Visit the Valemount Museum http://valemountmuseum.ca/, which offers exhibits throughout its three floors including the recently added Ishbel Cochrane exhibit, featuring the Hargreaves brothers outfitting company and the Mount Robson ranch. The Museum also has a restored caboose and numerous artifacts from the Robson Valley’s early years of logging and agriculture sectors. Explore the Railroad Room, which has a model train running through the displays, artifacts and, yes, even through the bathroom. Pick up a tasty treat from the Swiss Bakery before heading over to Three Ranges brewery to kick back and relax.
In Prince George:
Starting at the Cameron Street Bridge in Prince George BC, walk along the Nechako River on River Rd towards Cottonwood Island Park (about 2.7km). The Central BC Railway & Forestry Museum http://www.pgrfm.bc.ca/ is located adjacent to Cottonwood Island Park and is home to logging machinery, tractors and heavy equipment, a beehive burner, rolling stock and a mini railway. Take a souvenir with you before continuing your walk through Cottonwood Island Park, where you can spot carved faces in the trees. The path leads you to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park (between 17th and 20th avenues), along the banks of the Fraser River. On a hot summer day take in the gardens, or the Rotary Spray Park. Also located in the Park is the Exploration Place and Science Museum http://www.theexplorationplace.com/. This interactive museum features local history, a dinosaur discovery exhibit, a living biome, First Nations gallery, Prince George Hall of Fame and more. As well, take a ride on the Little Prince Steam Engine, the only operational narrow gauge steam engine in Canada. Don’t forget to grab a scoop of your favourite craft made ice cream from Frozen Paddle after your train ride.
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The Institute for Canadian Citizens' Cultural Access Pass allows newly sworn-in citizens to visit participating attractions for free, for one year.
Find out how to register for free access to over 1,200 of Canada's best museums, art galleries, discovery centres, historic sites and nature parks - then pick yours up at our visitor centre!
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this guide has you covered. Maps, ideas, fun facts - a showcase of all Prince George has to offer. Download it below, or pick up a hard copy at the Visitor Centre.
Want to advertise in next year's guide? Please email Kirstyn Wallace for more information.