Welcome To
Williams Lake

Situated at the center of this vast and beautiful region, Williams Lake has earned its reputation as ‘the Hub of the Cariboo.’ The city was originally named after Chief William of the Sukwekwin (Shuswap) Nation who moved his base here from Chimney Creek in the early 1860s. William was not alone. Miners, cattle traders, foresters, and ranchers all since came to this great lake and called it home. Today, thousands of travelers and traders alike come through Williams Lake each year. Most head north-south along Highway 97, BC’s major route for tourism and commerce, but plenty go west to the sprawling ranch land and forests of the Chilcotin. In any direction, you will find breathtaking country to explore.

The world–famous Williams Lake Stampede originated in 1920 as a gathering of local cowboys. Today, the annual event, held on the Canada Day weekend, draws over 13 000 spectators each year. You will find the William’s Lake Visitor Information Center right off the highway just south of town. The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin in downtown Williams Lake is dedicated to rodeo and ranching history and showcases a “B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame.” The Williams Lake B.C. Rail Station House, the oldest building in town, is now the Station House Gallery.

North of Williams Lake about 33 kilometers is Soda Creek, where travelers used to board paddle wheelers that headed north up the Fraser River. Here you will find the Xats'ull Heritage Village where you can experience first-hand the traditional lifestyle of the Xats’ull (Secwepemc) people.