MOUNT ROBSON PROVINCIAL PARK
Mount Robson Provincial Park is just 86 km from McBride and is an outdoor playground, with rafting, air tours, camping and world famous hiking experiences. Visit the Mount Robson Visitor Information Centre to start your wilderness adventure. www.bcparks.ca
Tete Jaune Cache was once a major centre with a shipyard during construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and while high water has erased most of the signs of early activity, local history books are alive with the tales of its existence. Named after a yellow headed trapper called Pierre Bostonais in the 1800’s, Tete Jaune has evolved as an attractive residential community and a stopping place for tourists. Visit Jackman Flats and walk along the jackpine covered sand dunes, go mushing with a dogsledding team, enjoy whitewater rafting down the Fraser river, take a guided ATV or snowmobile trip into the mountains or relax in a spa and enjoy the wilderness beauty around you.
Visit the path less travelled in Crescent Spur–Loos. Made up of several communities which grew and faded as sawmills came and went, it now attracts back country enthusiasts from all over the world. From grizzly bear watching in the Morkill to hiking the historic Goat River Trail, the unspoiled wilderness offers a true challenge to the adventurous at heart. For a more relaxed trip, take a guided tour through the many old growth forests, or visit La Salle Lakes. Little la Salle is a popular fishing destination and la Salle Lake campground offers rustic camping with a swimming dock, non-motorized boat launch and beach.
Named after a town in England by the railway during construction in 1913, Dunster remained settled after the building boom, and has flourished as a farming area ever since. It once had many dairy farms which sent cream out in cans by passenger train, until the highway and tanker trucks replaced that in the late 1960s. In recent decades most have changed over to beef farming.
The Dunster Community Hall, located on the uphill side of the highway, hosts a community market on Saturdays 11 am–1pm, July to September, where one can find home baking, garden produce, crafts, flea market items and barbequed lunches. The community also hosts the world famous Ice Cream Social and dance on the Saturday evening closest to July 1–an annual event not to be missed.
For a scenic drive to ‘downtown’ Dunster turn west onto the paved Dunster Station Road, down to the picturesque Flower Bridge across the Fraser River. Whenever the highways department paint the bridge white, local women decorate it with flower paintings. Nearby is the home of the annual Robson Valley music Festival, held in August.
At the “T” intersection turn left and follow the road until you come to Dunster’s a quaint country general store and post office open daily, and a 1913 railway station under restoration at the VIA Rail flag stop. The Dunster School of Fine Arts building is being maintained for community education and arts events, including touring concerts. For local information visit www.dunsterbc.net
An Alternate Route: Dunster-Croydon-Tete Jaune Loop
To further explore the communities of Dunster, Croydon and Tete Jaune Cache on the century-old route of sternwheelers and railway builders, continue east past the store.
From here on, there is sometimes logging activity and you could encounter fast-moving trucks. Also, be careful to stop, look and listen at the 5 busy level railway crossings–there are no gates or signals.
As you leave both pavement and Dunster behind, you carry on through the farming countryside to the pioneer community of South Croydon, where the almost century old one-room schoolhouse is now a private house. Further along the road you can see a small cemetery, a reminder of local pioneers.
A few minutes further east brings you to the turnoff to Shere Lake. This small lake is suitable for picnic and day use.
Next, you cross the bridge over the cascading Kiwa Creek. Just past the bridge the Kiwa Forestry Road heads up into this side valley, giving recreationalists access to the high country and glaciers. Another 10 km east is Watertank Hill, where there is a view over a historic homestead and the meandering Fraser River.
Next, you skirt a wide backwater area hemmed in by the railway grade, where you can observe a variety of bird species. Across the CNR tracks you enter the site of Old Tete Jaune Cache. High water and time have erased most evidence that thousands of men and horses passed through as they built the railway 100 years ago, but local history books are alive with the tales of its existence.
Five minutes further you come to the McLennan River Bridge and turnoff north to a trailhead by the Fraser River where, in August, you can view the incredible ritual of spawning Chinook salmon.
In short order you come to a “T” intersection. Turn left and pass through the community of Tete Jaune to the junction of Hwys 16 & 5, from where you can drive west to Dunster and McBride.
Visit the McBride Visitor Centre, call 1-866-569-3366 or ask at the Dunster Store for current road conditions.
The community of Dome Creek lies down in the valley several kilometres north of Highway 16 along the railway and the Fraser River. Founded by the railway in 1912-13, it continues as a settlement and farming area. Its first school is now under development as a museum. The community has a post office open MWF 10-4:30 and a library open Monday afternoons and Thursday evenings. The library, Lena Schultz Reading Room, has Wi-Fi high speed Internet accessible anytime from the front porch.
Dome Creek is home to the Ancient Cedar Forest, 20 hectares of old growth trees and plant communities undisturbed possibly for thousands of years. One of the best, and now rare, examples of BC’s most inland temperate rainforest, it may have had its beginning with the end of the Ice Age. Many of the western red cedar trees are likely 1,000+ years old, and greater than 2.5 to 3 meters (8-10 feet) in diameter.
A popular year-round destination for hiking or snowshoeing, the forest has marked trails and walkways, and sections are being made wheelchair accessible.
Drive 94 km west of McBride (6.6 km west of the Slim Creek rest stop on Hwy 16), and park south of the highway. Go 250 m up the old road towards the west corner of the forest opening, where the big trees begin immediately. Visit www. ancientcedar.ca for more information.