The 100-sq-km western interior area in south central British Columbia—which includes Lillooet, Lytton, and Ashcroft—boasts breathtaking mountain and valley views and easy access to Alpine and semi-arid desert destinations. In addition to geographical diversity, there is an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, cougars, and elk.
Rich in gold-rush and First Nations history, the area was used by thousands of prospectors and traders as a jumping off point to British Columbia’s interior and the gold it was famed for. It was also once known as Cayoosh Flat for the good grazing for cayuses (Indian ponies).
Residents in the area number close to 8,000. Visitors are attracted to the region for its plentiful fishing, river rafting, golfing, back-country skiing, mountain biking, trail running, and hiking, and year-round festivals and events.
The annual Labour Day weekend River Festival in Lytton, where the Thompson and Fraser Rivers meet, is a big draw at summer’s end. The three-day event celebrates the village’s vibrant First Nations communities and features live bands and street dances, a traditional Pow Wow and lots of children’s activities.
In Ashcroft, often filmed by the movie industry for its rugged terrain, the local Desert Hills Ranch hosts a summer long market, as well as seasonal events like Pumpkin Throwing in the fall and a Mother’s Day celebration in May.
Lillooet is known for its award-winning local vineyards, hops production, organic free-range chickens and tourism. An active Naturalist Society in the area has written two books on local trails. And the local Bridge River First Nation offers salmon fishing tours and traditional cooking demonstrations throughout the summer.
Thirteen physicians practice in the area, some on a part-time basis. All three communities offer primary care; Lytton and Ashcroft offer emergency, pharmacy and lab services during specified hours. The Lillooet Hospital and Health Centre offers 24/7 emergency and surgical services, maternity services, and in-patient care. Lytton Medical Clinic houses a pharmacy and provides basic laboratory services.
What the area has to offer:
- A rich First Nations culture.
- Abundant activities for winter and summer outdoor enthusiasts.
- Year-round festivals and celebrations.
- Hot summers and mild winters.
- Spectacular scenery.
- Proximity to Kamloops and the Whistler ski resort.
How to get there:
The Western Interior is accessible by road from Kamloops and Vancouver. Greyhound buses travel to nearby Lytton twice daily and there is taxi and charter bus service within the Lillooet community and from Lillooet to Kamloops.
A municipal airport in Lillooet services private planes and charters.
See RCCbc’s rural community website to learn more about Lillooet.
Learn more about the community of Lillooet through the perspective of past resident, Dr. Eddy Ng.