The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast was, and is, a land of adventurers. The Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1860s drew thousands of prospectors here and the region is still rich in Gold Rush history. Highway 97, the Cariboo Highway, follows the path of the Cariboo Wagon Road, completed in 1864 to help prospectors reach the gold fields. Many towns en route, including 70 Mile House and 100 Mile House, are named for their distance along the original road.
Many prospectors were headed for Barkerville, where a miner named Billy Barker struck it rich in 1862. Barkerville Historic Town, 85 kilometres east of Quesnel, is now a National Historic Site and the largest heritage site in western North America, boasting more than a hundred restored heritage buildings, musical theatre shows, stage coach rides, and actors interpreting actual citizens of 1860s Barkerville.