There is no stopping in Lillooet today, we are on a mission of a 600 km day to drive from home in Kamloops to Gold Bridge and Bralorne and back home. We packed a lunch and things “just in case” and headed out early so we are passing through this quiet little town of Lillooet before lunchtime. If you wish to see more of Lillooet, click here.
Lillooet has a long Aboriginal history and was originally called Cayoosh Flats then was renamed in 1860 after Lil’wat. It was the main center for the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush 1858/1859. Often known as one of Canada’s hot spots in summer with high temps and has an annual rainfall of 13”.
Our drive today follows up the Bridge River, which flows into the Fraser River right before this stop just outside Lillooet. Once we cross over the Bridge River, we begin to see some more great sights. We will be fairly high above the river as we drive through the Bridge River Valley and here is where that begins.
Pullout on narrow road
Parts of this road are paved but there is also plenty of dirt road that is very narrow and windy. There are pull out areas to use if meeting traffic from the other direction. At least travelling in this direction, we are closer to the cliff’s side. That changes on the way back, wait and see, and always best to believe what the signs say.
Long windy road
We are one of very few vehicles on this road today and with a population of about 250 residents in the Bridge River Valley, there is not a lot of traffic any time. We did see the occasional vehicle but more often than not it was a commercial vehicle. There are not many tourists who would be coming this way at this time of year, either, but we do see a few hunters for hunting season.
Bridge River drive
We are now down low in the valley and have a much better view of the river. The pretty turquoise color makes it stand out and a temptation for lots of photos. The color could be due to a few different things, algae, rock flour from a glacier or different minerals that would all cause the sunlight to reflect off their particles. Whatever the cause is, it is great to see this color.
The Bridge River Valley
Every corner we turn offers incredible sights. Whether it be views of mountains of trees or rock, the Bridge River Canyon is a great drive for sightseeing. There were several gold mines in this valley in the past, none of which are active now.
This is where the Bridge River changes. The river was diverted through two tunnels in Mission Mountain from Seton Lake to create power. Originally called the Mission Dam and completed in 1960 it was later renamed the Terzaghi Dam after an engineer. The road that leads to Seton Portage crossed over the top of the Dam.
The road peaks at the beginning of the Carpenter Lake Reservoir and what a surprise sight this was. This lake was named after the engineer who did much of the early design on this power project and supervised the building of the first tunnels through Mission Ridge during the years of 1927-1931.
This reservoir is the largest of three of the Bridge River Power Project. It is 50 km long and is full for us to view it at its best but apparently is not so pretty when November comes after the dam is opened. But we will enjoy this view as we are here when the leaves are turning, the sun is shining and the reservoir is full! What more could we ask for on this beautiful day!
If you'd like to see a bit more of this road, click here for a page I'd written several years ago.
We continue on to see Gold Bridge and Bralorne. Stay tuned!