Distance from Vancouver to Lillooet:
Approximately 250 km, if via Highway 1 West and Highway 99 (Seat-to-Sky) North.
views of Carpenter Lake, Bridge River Canyon, and Marshall Creek Falls.
Access to Gun Creek Recreation Site, many trails and several FSRs.
Frequently narrow and winding road with steep unbarricaded drop-offs.
Much of the road is gravel. Dust from passing vehicles on gravel
surface, especially along Carpenter Lake. Rockfall hazard. Numerous
large and small rocks on the road. Avalanche hazard in the winter
season. No cell phone signal for most of the road.
BC Highway 40 runs for just over 100 kilometers from the town of
Lillooet to a tiny community of
Gold Bridge. Along the way, this
semi-dangerous, partially unpaved road passes by some very impressive
views. Interestingly, this highway does not appear to be officially
numbered. Aside from ONE mentioning on a sign in Lillooet (indicated with
a red arrow in photo #6), there isn't a single sign along this highway
showing its number. The number 40, however, does appear in maps, and
many folks in BC do know what "Highway 40" refers to. There are three
roads which compose Highway 40: it starts in Lillooet where Moha Road
begins off Main Street. Shortly, Moha Road turns into Bridge River Road
(also known as Lillooet-Pioneer Road). Finally, at Terzaghi Dam,
Carpenter Lake Road along Carpenter Lake takes over as Highway 40 all
the way to Gold Bridge.
The main difficulty is watching the road while checking out all the
great views around you. Considering the number of blind corners, the
need to dodge numerous small and large rocks, and steep unbarricaded
drop-offs, it's much safer to pull over for a particularly good view,
even with traffic being quite light on this particular highway.
Also, Highway 40 does get used by logging trucks and other industrial
traffic, so watch out for that too, especially on a particularly narrow
stretches of the road.
BC Highway 40 starts in the town of Lillooet, and
there are two ways to get there from Vancouver: first is Highway 1 East
to Lytton via Fraser Valley-Hope-Yale-Boston Bar, then take Highway 12
from Lytton to Lillooet. Or, like we did this time, Highway 1 West to
Horseshoe Bay, then Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky) via
Squamish-Whistler-Pemberton to Lillooet. The latter is a more scenic,
albeit a more challenging drive, with steep grades past Pemberton. If
driving on Highway 97 South towards Cache Creek, turn right onto Highway
99 a few kilometers before Cache Creek, and you'll get to Lillooet that
1-2. Here we are on Highway 99, driving from Pemberton and approaching an
intersection where turning right would shortly lead to the beginning of
Highway 12 (to Lytton) and continuation of Highway 99 (to Cache Creek).
But, driving straight, would lead to Lillooet and (over 100 kilometers
later) Gold Bridge via Highway 40. The red arrow points to a "Welcome
to Lillooet" sign. All the mileage in this trip report is based on this
sign as a starting point, so zero your odometer at that sign if you want
to follow our mileage markers.
BC Highway 99 near Lillooet
3. We went straight at the intersection shown above, and here is a
distance info sign (shown with a green arrow in photo #2). Shalalth and Seton
Portage can be reached via Highway 40 and Mission Mountain Road - the
turnoff is at Terzaghi Dam 51 km later.
Seton Lake Road Lillooet BC Canada
4. Just around the corner, another sign indicates that a right turn is
required to reach Gold Bridge and Seton Portage. This short stretch
between the intersection seen in photos #1 & 2, and Main Street seen
straight ahead, is called Seton Lake Road.
Seton Lake Road - Lillooet BC
5. Now on Main Street in downtown Lillooet. To hike a very fine
Red Rock Trail, turn left at 6th Avenue.
Main Street Lillooet BC
6. Highway 40 starts where Moha Road begins off Main Street, 3.3
kilometers from Welcome to Lillooet sign. We are approaching that left
turn. Canco gas station (located adjacent to KalTire) serves only 87 grade gasoline, as well as
diesel, and it's your last chance to fuel up before Gold Bridge. Note
the red arrow in the photo below - it points to the only Highway 40 sign
reference that we saw on this trip.
Main Street Lillooet
7-8. Turning left from Main Street onto Moha Road. BC Highway 40 begins
There is a Buy-Low food store immediately to the right after you make
that left turn, and it's the last substantial food store on this trip.
Main Street at Moha Road Lillooet British Columbia
9. Having turned onto BC Highway 40 / Moha Road, we see a sign with
distances to various destinations.
Moha Road Lillooet
10. Moha Road passes by some residences.
Moha Road Lillooet
11. Approaching a bridge across Bridge River.
BC Highway 40 near Lillooet
12-13. Here it is, 9.3 km from Welcome to Lillooet sign.
Bridge Across Bridge River near Lillooet BC
14. Bridge River view from the bridge.
Bridge River British Columbia
15. Just a few hundred meters later, at 9.7 km, West Pavilion FSR starts
on the right side. It leads in just under 12 km to
Trail, which we hiked a few days later.
BC Highway 40 at West Pavilion FSR
16. BC Highway 40 at 18.6 km after the Welcome to Lillooet sign. By this time it is probably
already called Bridge River Road / Lillooet-Pioneer Road.
BC Highway 40
17. At 21.4 km, asphalt turns into gravel. The road then switches
between gravel and asphalt several times.
Highway 40 British Columbia Canada
18. A fine view of Bridge River and canyon at 21.5 km.
Bridge River seen from BC Highway 40
Here is our video of driving on Highway 40 around
23 km from Welcome to Lillooet sign.
19. The good views keep coming one after another. At 24.1 km here.
BC Highway 40 between Lillooet and Gold Bridge
20. Now at 30.3 km after the Welcome to Lillooet sign.
BC Highway 40
21. At 32.1 km, there is a large pullout on the left side. There is
a great Bridge River and canyon view here, as well as a
Horseshoe Bend Trail which gets
down to the river, and which we hiked a few days later.
BC Highway 40 at the Horseshoe Bend Pullout
22. The view from the pullout.
Horseshoe Bend Canyon View from BC Highway 40 Pullout
23. Moving on, at 34.1 km Yalakom FSR starts on the right side.
BC Highway 40 at Yalakom FSR Turnoff
24. There is a series of tight switchbacks shortly thereafter, and here
is a view of Highway 40, Bridge River and the Canyon from around that
area, at 35.1 km from Welcome to Lillooet sign.
British Columbia Highway 40
25. At 40.4 km, a large rock is hanging right above the highway, and
there are some large cracks there, so avoid stopping under that rock, as
it might not stay there for much longer.
Highway 40 British Columbia
26. BC Highway 40 (Bridge River Road / Lillooet-Pioneer Road) at 45.8 km
from Welcome to Lillooet sign.
BC Highway 40
27. At 50.9 km, we are approaching Terzaghi Dam and a major
intersection, where a left turn would lead to Seton Portage and
Shalalth, while going straight (this would now be Carpenter Lake Road)
would be the continuation of BC Highway 40, and would lead to Gold Bridge and Bralorne.
BC Highway 40 near Terzaghi Dam
28. Here is that intersection, at 51.2 km.
Elevation: 643 meters.
BC Highway 40 at Mission Mountain Road
29. Looking left, this is Mission Mountain Road to Shalalth and Seton
Mission Mountain Road at BC Highway 40
30. Except today wasn't a good day to visit.
Shalalth and Seton Portage Closed due to Covid
31. Here is a view of Carpenter Lake (a hydroelectric reservoir), which begins at this intersection.
The great views are about to start arriving in abundance.