Barkerville is a restored 1870s gold rush town in British Columbia with board sidewalks and dirt streets where you can try your hand panning for gold and watch melodramas of this period. It was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush. Of the thousands who mined the Fraser River and the Cariboo, about one third made fortunes, one third made some profit, and the remainder were totally ruined.
Barkerville is situated at the western edge of the Cariboo Mountains, named after the English sailor, Billy Barker, who struck gold in 1862. The town started out as a settlement of cabins and tents in the 1860s and developed into a real town of restaurants and stores. At one time, it was the largest town west of Chicago and north of San Francisco, with a population of about 5,000 people. After the gold rush waned, Barkerville’s population declined until it became a ghost town. In the late 1950s, the town was restored as a historic tourist attraction. Today, Barkerville appears much as it did back in the day.