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Williams Lake Travel Guide, British Columbia

Located 539km (334 miles) N of Vancouver in the center of a vast region, Williams Lake is now a trade center for a large agricultural area and has a rich history as a “cowtown”.

This little ranch town with a population of about 12,000 residents is not quiet at all, there is just as much going on as you would expect in a big city and some do consider it a city. As you arrive you will see that the town bustles with activity and you will be beautifully surprised by the nice combination of urbanism and ranch atmosphere.

There are many tings that bring people to Williams Lake, from the nice surroundings to the entertainment opportunities making this little lakeside town a very attractive destination.

The period that attracts the most visitors is the first weekend of July, because it is then that the Williams Lake Stampede is held. The event goes a long way back in 1920s when the Stampede begun. It started as a small event and has grown into one of Canada's top rodeos lasting four days. This event made Williams Lake famous all over the country and rodeo fans come from all over the country to see it. Rodeo cowboys from across Canada and the western United States come here to take part in the competition that can bring them a nice sum of money. Who would’t want to compete for US $64,000? It is true though that the competition includes some usual rodeo events that are more challenging and fun. There is the barrel racing, bareback, calf roping, bull riding, chariot races, chuck-wagon race, the Top Dog Competition, pouch-passing pony express race and among the funniest are the wild cow-milking contest and the cattle-penning contest. You can have a lot of fun at the barn dances, parade, midway rides, and grandstand entertainment.

The town becomes pretty crowded and if you plan to be here for the event it’d be a good idea to do some planning ahead.

If you don’t happen to be in town for the big event there’s still plenty to do around. You can start with the downtown area that hosts The Cariboo Friendship Society Native Arts and Crafts Shop, an excellent place to buy souvenirs and a nice building to visit.

Another attraction is the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin that traces the history of ranching and rodeo where you can learn something about the most famous cowboys and see some interesting objects.

Besides visiting the town that can’t take more than a few hours, you can fill up your time by taking on some of the outdoor activities. There is plenty of space for this purpose the town being the gateway to the Chilcotin, the coastal mountainous area to the west and to these you can add the parks, the recreational areas and the 8,000 lakes in the area, and as many streams and rivers. The most popular activities include hiking, biking, fishing and rafting.

Rafting is at its best here and it is mostly aimed at expert level so it can become pretty dangerous for the beginners. There are plenty of guided expeditions that can last from a day to more and The Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser river system is where it all takes place.

A great place for beach activity, picnic and wildlife watching is the Scout Island close by. You can find out a lot of tings about the local flora and fauna at the Nature Centre. Still in the nearby area of the town there are the historic communities of Likely and Horsefly that are interesting to visit.

Come and discover Williams Lake, absorb the wide range of choices for year-round fun and relaxation that this warm and welcoming town offers. Make the most of your visit and planning your perfect holiday.

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