Quesnel Travel Guide, British Columbia
Located 101km (63 miles) S of Prince George at the confluence of the Fraser and Quesnel rivers, Quesnel was the perfect place for all those who wanted to get rich during the gold-rush years as it was one of the richest gold fields in North America. Some remained here after the fever has passed and now the town has 8,500 residents.
Even if the gold rush years are way behind people are still attracted by their memory and activities like The Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Race are luring tourists every January. They are thrilled to follow the trails from Quesnel to Wells/Kruger Lake. Another fun activity around still connected to gold is to plan your own gold rush. A good spot you can start at is at the confluence of the two rivers. You can get all the necessary information at the Gold Commissioners Office.
But gold connected activities are not the only ones around. In fact there are over 100 events that lure people to Quesnel. You can tour the sawmills and pulpmills that will give you an idea of the local economy or choose some more fun based events like the Bill Barker Days, a spectacular 4 days festival held at the end of July. It is one of the biggest events that attract thousands of tourists making this period one of the busiest of the year. It will be difficult to choose from the multitude of events on offer but you can consider checking out the rodeo, the triathlon, the raft races, the Crash to Pass race, the canoe races, or some more relaxing events like having a salmon barbeque, listening to music at the annual Barlow Creek Music Festival featuring top performers and watching stage shows or a parade. The top of the cake event are the fireworks at the end of the festival.
So no matter when you come summer or winter you are sure to find some activity to keep you busy and entertained.
Downtown Quesnel is quite small but it has a nice setting being surrounded by the two rivers and next to beautiful parks. One of them is Le Bourdais Park offering quiet moments, a good stroll and information on the story of the gold rush hosting the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives. If you are into history, there’s also the Quesnel Museum hosting exhibits that tell the history of the area.
You can have a nice stroll on the main commercial strip which is Reid Street. It is also a great place for shopping. If your feet keep up Ceal Tingley Park is another good place for a walk and it can lead you to the Fraser River where the Riverfront Trail awaits you to continue your stroll and have a historic as well as scenic experience. For other great views and unique geological formations called "hoodoos” head towards the Pinnacles Provincial Park.
If your desire to explore does not stop here, the nearby ghost town of Barkerville is a nice place to visit and enrich your knowledge of the gold rush era. The place is full of action all year round with plenty of celebrations. You’ll be able to see here one of North America's oldest Chinese communities and some original buildings from that period.
The Bowron Lakes is a welcoming place for paddlers offering a 116 km (72 mile) circuit of interconnecting lakes.
Quesnel is one of the Central Interior's oldest cities with a rich heritage and plenty of events all year round. Whether you want to experience the gold rush era or connect with nature, you are sure to get a genuine Cariboo hospitality!!
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