Cariboo Mountains

Cariboo Mountains

Cariboo Mountains, range, c.200 mi (320 km) long, E British Columbia, Canada, rising to 11,750 ft (3,582 m) at Mt. Sir Wilfrid Laurier. It runs roughly parallel with the main Rocky Mt. range to the northeast, from which it is separated by the Rocky Mt. Trench, there occupied by the Fraser River. In the foothills to the west is the Cariboo dist., scene of the famous Cariboo gold rush of 1860. Many camps sprang up in the region, and much gold was taken out, but after 1866 the diggings declined. Many gold-seekers stayed on in the region, and today there are several thousand who make their living by a combination of mining, hunting, and farming. The Cariboo wagon road, built (1862-65) by the government, facilitated the settlement of the interior of the province. It started from Yale, at the head of navigation on the Fraser River, and ended in the Cariboo dist. nearly 400 mi (640 km) to the north. Bowron Lake and Wells Gray provincial parks are in the Cariboo Mts.
''This article is about the Cariboo Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. They should not be confused with the Caribou Mountains.
The Cariboo Mountains are the northernmost subrange of the Columbia Mountains, which run down into the Spokane, Washington area of the United States and include the Selkirks, Monashees and Purcells. The Cariboo Mountains are entirely within the province of British Columbia, Canada. The range is 7,700 km² (c. 2,975 sq mi) in area and about 245 km in length (SE-NW) and about 90 km at its widest (SW-NE).

Physical geography

East of the range is the Rocky Mountain Trench, in this region largely the path of the upper Fraser River, including the section known as the Grand Canyon of the Fraser (which is not to be confused with the better-known Fraser Canyon nearer Vancouver. To the west the range verges with the Cariboo Plateau through an intermediary "foothill" area known as the Quesnel Highland. Northwestwards the range drops to the Willow River area of the Nechako Plateau, which lies around Prince George. South of the range, northeast of Clearwater a plateau-like mountainous area between the range and the North Thompson River is part of the Shuswap Highland, which crosses the North Thompson and continues into the Shuswap Lake area.

N.B. Some classification systems assign the Cariboo Mountains to the Cariboo Plateau, which also includes the small Marble and Clear Ranges but it is so large and so mountainous a range, with peaks that rival the highest in the Selkirks, that it does not warrant the "plateau" designation.

The Cariboo Mountains subranges include the Palmer Range and the Mowdish Range.

Watersheds and rivers

Unlike the other three major subranges of the Columbia Mountains, the Cariboo Mountains have almost no contact with the Columbia River or its tributaries, but are entirely bounded by the Fraser and its tributary, the North Thompson River (there is a small exception in the Canoe River, which runs into the Rocky Mountain Trench from the eastern end of the range. The Canoe River is on the north side of Albreda Pass, which is the divide between the North Thompson and the Rocky Mountain Trench.

High peaks

The highest summits in the range are in a group known as the Premier Range whose peaks carry the names of eleven Canadian Prime Ministers, one British Prime Minister, and one Premier of British Columbia. The highest peak is Mount Sir Wilfrid Laurier at 3,516 m (11,535 ft). The most recently added name to the group is that of Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

The highest peak in the Cariboo Mountains outside the Premiers Range is Quanstrom Mountain 3,038 m (9,967 ft), which is the northernmost peak in the range over 3,000 m.


Protected lands and parks

Much of the Cariboo Mountains lie in Wells Gray Provincial Park, among the oldest in British Columbia, and another section is in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a popular canoeing circuit east of the preserved gold rush town of Barkerville. Another park in the range is Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park, between Wells Gray and Bowron Lake.

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