Practical Points and Hiking Safety
WARNING – You will be traversing a vast wilderness area outside park boundaries and outside regularly maintained roads and camping sites. Take special notice of driving instructions on this website and in brochures offered at tourist info centres because signage is not always clear. Due to harsh winter conditions signs disintegrate quickly and can not always be replaced in a timely manner. Campsites are user maintained. This means no one will be coming to clean up your mess. Please leave camping areas clean for the next campers.
The Cariboo Mountains have rugged and remote wilderness areas. Remember the following:
- Weather can change quickly, especially in the mountains.
- Please leave the area you visit undisturbed and be sure to carry out your garbage.
- Obey posted signs, keep to designated trails and be aware of restrictions for pets.
- Cougars, bears and other wildlife inhabit the region. Do not get too close to or attempt to feed wild animals.
- Some areas and trails in the area may pass near or through private property.
Browntop Mountain Hiking Trial
An unmaintained wilderness road, 11.5 km from the junction of 8400 Road. From Keithly Creek road, turn right at the Barkerville sign, crossing the Cariboo River and turn left onto 8400 Road. Proceed 4.1 km on the 8400 Road to the C Road. Turn right and continue for 7.4 km to the trailhead. The road to the trailhead has grown in and may not be accessible by vehicle.
The trail was brushed in June 2015. Recreation Sites and Trails BC
Cameron Ridge Hiking Trails
The Cameron Ridge hiking trail is breathtakingly beautiful. The trail embraces the wildlife-rich watershed of the Penfold Valley, with ancient cedar and spruce forests. The Cariboo Mountains Wilderness Coalition built this trail as part of their efforts to protect the area.
The main hike is the 14 km (8.7 mi) Cameron Ridge Trail, which climbs along Cameron Ridge to the Cariboo Mountains Lookout. It is an easy hike through stunning sub-alpine meadows ringed by snow-capped peaks that lead to a stunning overlook of the north arm of Quesnel Lake. The trailhead is located about halfway (70 km/43 mi) between Barkerville and the town of Likely.
Cariboo Mountains Park
Cariboo Mountains Park is located northeast of Likely and east of Quesnel. The park is undeveloped and accessed along active logging roads. These roads require driving with extreme caution. Always drive with headlights on.
Ghost Lake, the only vehicle accessible camping area, is reached by travelling to Barkerville from Quesnel along Highway 26, and turning down the rough gravel Forestry Road 3100 near Barkerville. It is 70 km (43 mi), about 1.5 hours, from the turn off to the park. A 4 km (2.5 mi) access road, marked by signs, leads to the camping area. Alternatively, it is possible to take 8400 Forestry Road (Cariboo Lake Road) from Likely until it connects with 3100 Forestry Road. This route is about 90 km (56 mi) long.
Cameron Ridge Bungalows rents cabins and you can dine in style at the “Chocolate Moose Cafe” which serves delicious meals and desserts.
At the 15 km marker on the Keithley Creek Rd, turn right. (It is 16.5 km from Cedar Creek Rd turn) Parking and turn-around space at the ladders is very limited on this un-maintained road. If you choose to walk, it is 2.2 km from the top. In the Fall, Chinook and Sockeye salmon are jumping up the falls. Not suitable for large vehicles. Dangerous for small children and pets. Not suitable in very wet weather.
Cariboo Lake is situated about 24 km (14.88 miles) north of Likely on the Keithly Creek Rd. A large lake with a mean depth of 18 meters (59 feet), it contains wild stock Rainbows, Lake Char, Kokanee and Dolly Varden. Some large fish have been caught in this lake. Trolling is the most popular method of fishing. The word Lake is a misnomer for this body of water as it is actually a wide swollen part of the Cariboo River itself.
Barkerville / Wells and Likely Circle Tour
This tour takes you from Williams Lake to Quesnel and back again on the (2-W drive, well-surfaced gravel) “Back Road” through the Mitchell Valley in the Cariboo Mountains to Likely. It is an exciting wilderness day trip. Pick up a brochure at the Tourist Information Centre detailing the trip with a map. A map is also on our transportation and map page. Transportation and Maps
Due to lack of internet and cell phone range in this area it is advisable to pick up a brochure map before proceeding on this tour.
This route takes approximately 4 hours (Wells to Likely)depending on how many stops are made. Follow Keithley Creek Road and turn right at the Barkerville sign, cross the Cariboo River and turn left onto 8400 Road. Stop at Ladies Creek Recreation site for a close up look at Cariboo Lake. There is a hiking trail to Cameron Ridge. Check the Back Road Brochure for further information. The road turns into the 3100 Road on the Quesnel side. The falls of Ghost Lake turn into the Matthew River and are spectacular. Not to be missed. This is a summer road only so confirm conditions before proceeding. Usually open the end of June through September. If you’re lucky.
Places of interest along the Route:
Cottonwood House Historic Site – Cottonwood House is one of the last remaining roadhouses in BC.
Wells, BC – Wells is a mining town and a centre for artists and outdoor enthusiasts.
Barkerville Historic Town & Park – The town of Barkerville stands as a testament to BC’s golden beginnings.
Ditch Road & Chinese Oven
This is an un-maintained Forest Service Road. The road is narrow in places so use caution in a truck with camper or vehicles pulling trailers. The road has been graded, but there can be bent trees over the road in some areas.
Turn off the Likely Road at the 3rd left turn near the top of the Likely Hill west of the Likely Bridge (Polley Lake sign). The scenic drive to Horsefly follows the ditch carved out to divert water to the famous Bullion Mine in the late 1800’s. Polly Lake is 11.7 km from the turn and across the lake you can see the back side of Polley Mountain Mine – an active gold, copper mine. The viewpoint of Quesnel Lake is 14.5 km from the turn (includes an outhouse). Just past this near the 11 km sign, watch for the Chinese Oven sign. Turn right and proceed for 1.0 km. There are a sign and a short path on the right. Please DO NOT touch anything at this Special place. The oven was built by Chinese diggers in the 1890’s. The ovens were used to produce coke for the blacksmiths.
Turn around in the grassy area just ahead. Raft Creek and Hazeltine Creek are just ahead.
Likely/Horsefly/Williams Lake Museum Circle Tour
Start from any museum and follow directions. If you start from Williams Lake Museum, drive 14kms south to 150 Mile House. At 150 Mile House turn onto the Horsefly/Likely Road, after a short while you will reach a large map sign on the right that will direct you to turn left towards Likely. Next stop Cedar City Museum in Cedar Point Park, Likely. Our staff will be happy to give you the area highlights as well as brochures and maps of the area. Dvd’s on local history and books are also available to purchase. (Approximately 4 hrs. Well to Likely) on “The Old Gold Rush Trail”.
As you leave Likely going west, 3km to the top of the Likely Hill, turn left onto the Ditch Road. This gravel road is alongside Quesnel Lake which is the Deepest Fjord Lake in BC. Look carefully for a sign on the right about 5 km from Likely Highway turn off for the Chinese Ovens sign. The Chinese were a big part of our mining history.
Near the end of the lake, it becomes Mitchell Bay Road and you can follow it toward Horsefly. In Horsefly is the Jack Lynn Museum and is rich in the areas settlements and cultures.
After enjoying the delights of Horsefly, it’s back to Williams Lake. The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin in Williams Lake will take you on a tour of the western areas of the Cariboo and Chilcotin. You will be driving on a paved road again. After driving 51 km’s turn right on Hwy 97 and drive north to Williams Lake. Sights you will see along the way include the Bullion Pit, Salmon Spawning Channels, and Quesnel Forks. In September, the Horsefly River is teeming with spawning salmon, and the viewing is awesome!
Gavin Lake Trails
Watch for the Gavin Lake sign after you leave Morehead going towards Williams Lake. The road will be on your left side. The trails start at the Forest Recreation site on Gavin Lake. Visit our U-Tube channel for video on the Gavin Lake Trails.
Ghost Lake & Falls
Follow the Circle Tour Map directions to or from Likely.
Once at Ghost Lake you will find a small vehicle-accessible User Maintained Campground with five campsites, a parking lot, an information kiosk and a pit toilet. There is no water supplied and all garbage has to be carried out as this is a user-maintained facility. With the correct fishing licence, Ghost Lake offers some excellent angling opportunities for Coho, Chinook and Sockeye Salmon plus Rainbow, Kokanee and Bull Trout.
There are two waterfalls at Ghost Lake. One is on the way in, near the entrance to the campground just before the turnoff for the Cunningham-Matthew FSR while you go across a bridge on the Ghost Main. The other waterfall, Matthew River Falls, has access from right behind one of the campsites near the parking lot. To view the waterfall, there is an unmarked trail that leads you toward the falls. The area is very steep and could prove fatal to young children, or non-experienced hikers if you approach too closely or in wet, dangerous conditions or are not wearing the proper footwear. Bears and cougars are also present in the park so be prepared for wildlife encounters.
There is also another unmarked trail that goes from the campground to the lakeshore of Ghost Lake. This is where you can carry a canoe or kayak and launch by hand into the lake. Once boating in the lake you’ll find some incredible views of the Cariboo Mountains including some of sheer rock formations. There are some areas along the lake where adventurous outdoor people have set up wilderness camping before.
There are many geocaching sites in the Likely area. Visit the official Global GPS Cache hunt website at www.geocaching.com to start your search.
26 km from Likely, on beautiful Cariboo Lake. Travel through Poquette Pass in the early morning or afternoon. Poquette Lake is usually very still. Wonderful photo opportunity. Take a moment to stop at the bench and enjoy the view as you drive toward Cariboo Lake. Keithley Creek was named after William R. Keithley, aka ‘Doc’, who came from the California gold fields in the 1860s. Veith and Borland set up a ranch and a town grew, supplying food and goods for the miners in the area. This side of the creek and bridge was the Chinese section of town. If you look to your right as you drive down the road, note the rocks piled by the Chinese miners. The cemetery and library (smallest library in the Cariboo) are just ahead on the right, across the bridge.
This is an unmaintained road. From Keithly Creek Bridge, drive and stay left at the first Y. Continue left at Powder Kings parking lot. Follow the yellow arrow left to 10.2 km from the bridge and continue to keep left. One more left will bring you to Little Snowshoe Creek, which you must cross to reach the cabin.
Veith and Borland had a store at Little Snowshoe Creek and Barr’s Creek. To the left of the cabin, across the road is the Little Snowshoe Cemetary. Tom’s daughter, Ethel still mines from her father’s cabin and owns the Chinese section of Keithly Creek. She was born in the Keithly Creek Hotel.
Little Niagra Falls (Quesnel Lake boat trip)
Little Niagara Falls is located on the East Arm of Quesnel Lake, where the Niagara River spills into the lake creating a great natural show every day. Niagara River flows from its headwaters on top of Niagra Peak and into Quesnel Lake bringing natural silts which form a large white cloudy area in the water at the base of the falls as it thunders into Quesnel Lake. Niagra Peak is situated in the Cariboo Mountains. Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park was established as Mitchell Lake/Niagara Park in 1995. The name as changed to Cariboo Mountains Park in 2000.
Quesnel Forks Ghost Town
Camping Quesnel Forks -This is one of the most beautiful campgrounds in the area of Likely.
Take a self guided tour of this historic ghost town! Tour information is on signs beside the buildings. Quesnel Forks is located 13 km from Keithley Creek Road in Likely. Turn at the Community Hall and follow Rosette Lake Rd as it turns into a gravel road.
The ghost town of Quesnel Forks was founded in 1859 and predates Barkerville. At one time it had the largest population in mainland BC with 1,000 – 3,000 transient residents at the height of the gold rush. It was major supply centre for miners as they headed further along the gold trail. It is a Chinese ghost town. Feel ghosts of the past in breezes as you stroll among restored buildings, cottonwood trees and the old cemetery. Low Mobility Trails follow along the Cariboo River and through the heritage village. There are wheelchair accessible outhouses.
Today’s Quesnel Forks while being a great area to camp is often used for family reunion picnics and day trips.
The cemetary is still in use today by Likely residents in a seperate section from the old miners cemetary.
Likely is part of the only inland rain forest in the world. It exhibits unusual flora, fauna and birds unique to this area. You will travel through historic areas of the old Gold Rush Trail among the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains. The opportunities for photography, bird and animal watching, rock hounding, hiking, swimming, camping, cycling and much more are available for your wilderness experience.
Picture is of ‘Boswell Lake’ on the road to Winkely Creek campsites, past the historic Cedar City Mine. Great little fishing spot.