From Hope , the old TransCanada Highway runs north along the west bank of the fast-flowing Fraser River. Although the new Coquihalla Highway  is a much shorter option for those heading for Kamloops and beyond, the old highway offers many interesting stops and is by far the preferred route for those not in a hurry.
The first worthwhile stop is tiny Emory Creek Provincial Park, 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Hope. Stopping at this quiet riverside park, it’s hard to believe that a little more than 100 years ago it was the site of Emory City, complete with saloons, a brewery, a large sawmill, and all the other businesses of a bustling frontier gold town. The city had virtually disappeared by the 1890s, and today no hint of its short-lived presence remains. Wander along riverside trails, try some fishing, or stay at one of the wooded campsites ($15).
In 1858 Yale was a flourishing gold-rush town of 20,000, filled with tents, shacks, bars, gambling joints, and shops. But when the gold ran out so did most of the population, and Yale dwindled to the small forestry and service center it has been for 100 years. If you want to find out more about Yale’s historic past, the gold rush, the Cariboo Wagon Road, and railway construction, visit Yale Historic Site (Douglas St., 604/863-2324, daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May–mid-Oct., adult $5, senior $4.50, child $3), comprising a museum, the 1863 St. John’s Church, and the chance to try gold panning.
At Hell’s Gate, the Fraser River powers its way through a narrow, glacially carved, 34-meter-high (111-feet) gorge. When Simon Fraser saw this section of the gorge in 1808 he wrote “we had to travel where no human being should venture—for surely we have encountered the gates of hell,” and the name stuck. Today you can cross the canyon aboard the 25-passenger Hell’s Gate Airtram (604/867-9277, adult $17, senior $15, child $11), which runs daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m. mid-April–mid-October. Across the river you can browse through landscaped gardens, learn more about the fishway and salmon, or even try your hand at gold panning.
Another small town with a gold-rush history, Boston Bar is today a popular white-water rafting destination for those brave enough to float the Fraser River’s roaring rapids. REO Rafting Adventure Resort (16 km/10 mi west from Boston Bar, 604/461-7238 or 800/736-7238, www.reorafting.com ) offers tent cabins ranging from basic canvas frames ($30 per person) to riverfront tents with peeled log furniture ($170 s or d), or you can stay overnight and take a raft trip, with all meals included, for $209 per person for one night. As the name suggests, the resort is the base for REO Rafting ($145 for a full day on the river), but horseback riding, rock climbing, and guided hiking are also offered.