Tete Jaune Cache is a village of about 500 people in the Robson Valley of Northern British Columbia. There are a couple of small provincial parks nearby and it's a good spot to see salmon spawning when the Chinook travel up the Fraser River in August.
Tête Jaune Cache was named after a Métis fur trader and trapper named Pierre Bostonais who guided for the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1800s. Bostonais was nicknamed Tête Jaune by the French voyageurs because of his blonde hair. (Tête Jaune is French for yellow head.) The Secwepemc First Nations people had an established village of tents and pit houses on the banks of the Fraser in this area rich in salmon and wild berries when discovered by Bostonais, but the townsite land of Tête Jaune Cache was officially located in 1901 and crown-granted (patented) in 1902. During the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Tête Jaune Cache was a prosperous community and was the head of navigation for the paddle steamers of Foley, Welch and Stewart and the BC Express Company. The town was a booming collection of lumber shacks, tents, and log houses which brought thousands of pioneers, trappers, prospectors, foresters, and entrepreneurs to the Robson Valley. Major industries in historic Tête Jaune were timber, railways, steamship trade, and mining, especially for the locally abundant mica. Some of the largest and cleanest sheets of mica extracted in the era of its highest demand (for its usage in lanterns and stoves) came from this region, and the remains of one such mine can still be found on the popular Mica Mountain hiking trail. The pool halls, theatres, restaurants, jewellers, lady barbers, saloons, and trading posts are no more, with only a few stone chimneys remaining as evidence of this bustling town's existence, but the Valley Museum and Archives in McBride and the Valemount Historical Society maintain an excellent collection of photographs from the heyday of this boom town, c. 1910-1918. The area under the aegis of Tête Jaune Cache is home to Hauer Brothers' Sawmill, and a few small businesses specializing in custom timber milling, woodworking, guided flyfishing, whitewater rafting, snowcat skiing, and bed and breakfast accommodation.
In August 1916, the Simpcw people of the Tête Jaune Cache were forcibly relocated out of the area to Chu Chua and other places. The people were made to travel the 300 km by foot. The people of the Simpcw First Nation have made applications to the government to have lands at Tête Jaune Cache formally recognized.
The village is just south of the Yellowhead Highway 16 at the junction with Highway 5. It is roughly one hour's drive (100 km) west of Jasper, 3 hours (240 km) east of Prince George and 3½ hours (330 km) north of Kamloops.
- 1 Jackman Flats Provincial Park, Highway 5 (roughly 4-5 km south of the junction with Hwy 16). Small protected area with over 100 sand dunes, a unique feature of the area. There are four hiking trails ranging from 1.5-6 km in length. The area is also popular for bird watching and the hiking trails can be used for cross-country skiing in winter. Due the fragile ecosystem, park users are asked to stay on the designated trails at all times. Free.
- 2 Rearguard Falls Provincial Park, Highway 16 (about 5 min drive east of Tete Jaune Cache). Small park that protects the area around Rearguard Falls. A fairly short and easy hike leads from the parking lot to the viewing platform. The falls are notable as being one of only two falls on the Fraser River and also being the furthest point Chinook salmon usually reach when they travel upstream (a journey of some 1200 km from the Fraser River estuary in Vancouver!) Free.
- 3 Tete Jaune Salmon Spawning Grounds Recreation Site, Old Tete Jaune Cache Rd where it crosses the McLennan River. A small recreation area with a short trail to the river where salmon spawn in Aug/Sept.
- 1 Stellar Descents Whitewater Rafting, 11957 L'Heureaux Rd, toll-free: . Three rafting trips ranging from a lazy two hour float down the Fraser River to 3-4 hour trips on Class 3 or Class 4 rapids. Float trip $40-50, Whitewater trips $99-109.
- 1 Riverside Cafe, 11957 L'Heureux Rd (same entrance as the Tete Jaune Lodge but continue driving to the back of the property towards the river), ☏ . Casual family restaurant overlooking the Fraser River with some nice views of the mountains. There's also a patio and Sunday brunch.
- 1 Bearberry Meadows Guest House, 12190 Crown Rd, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Two self-contained units in a log house. Rooms include partial kitchen (microwave, sink, mini-fridge and coffee maker), free Wifi and garden area with BBQ. The Mica Suite has a queen bed and includes a four burner stove-top; the Goslin Suite has a queen bed and pull-out single sofa bed. $95-115 (double occupany).
- 2 Mica Mountain Lodge, 15658 Old Tete Jaune Cache Rd, ☏ . Three log cabins with kitchens, living space, a separate bedroom, and a private picnic area with fire pit outdoors. There's also a cast iron wood stove for added warmth and coziness. $155-185 (double occupancy), $25 per extra adult or child.
- 3 Tete Jaune Lodge - Campground, 11957 L'Heureaux Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . Lodge with a number of different accommodation options, including rooms in the lodge, a campground with RV sites and tent sites, and cabins and teepees. Lodge rooms and cabins have one or two beds. Campsites have fire pits and firewood is available from the office. The property is located on the Fraser River and you can see the salmon spawning in August. Rooms $130-159, Campground $25-35, Cabins $45-75.
- East on BC Highway 16 are two spectacular Rocky Mountains parks — Mount Robson Provincial Park (10-15 minute drive) and Jasper and Jasper National Park (1 hr drive). Both parks have plenty of hiking, camping and some stunning scenery.
- West on BC Highway 16 is McBride and Prince George, the largest city in northern British Columbia.
- A short distance south on BC Highway 5 is Valemount. Further south is Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is noted for its many waterfalls, and the city of Kamloops.
|Routes through Tete Jaune Cache|
|Prince George ← McBride ←||W E||→ Mount Robson Provincial Park → Jasper|
|END ←||N S||→ Valemount → Kamloops|