Likely is situated at the mouth of 100 km long Quesnel Lake. The lake lays claim to being the deepest fjord lake in the world and the area surrounding it is a part of the only inland temperate rainforest in the world giving it a unique climate.
Likely is a small rural community in the Cariboo Region, nestled in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains. This area played a significant role in the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1859 when rough-edged boom towns like Quesnel Forks, Cedar City, and Keithley Creek had overnight populations in the thousands, predating Barkerville.
Between 1896 and 1898, the river was dammed (Golden River Dam Quesnelle) to allow mining of the Quesnel River bottom. As a result, the town that sprang up was eventually known as Quesnelle Dam. The first bridge into Likely was built on the foundations of the dam and those foundations are still visible from current bridge. When the post office was moved from Quesnel Forks in 1923, it was felt that a name change was due to better suit the town’s new status. John”Plato” Likely was a popular miner at the time and so the name was changed. John Likely is buried in Kamloops.
Historical Events and Places in Likely
History of Likely and Area
The discovery of gold in 1858-9 in the Horsefly and Likely areas radically changed settlement patterns. Prospectors from all over the globe rushed to the boom towns of Harper’s Camp, Quesnel Forks, Keithley Creek and Cedar City.
Large populations of Chinese settled where Europeans had been and once the gold fever abated, huge scale hydraulic extraction facilities, like the Bullion Mine in Likely replaced many of the small placer mines.
Road Houses set up along the early gold rush trails to service prospectors became ranching homesteads, like the Alkali Ranch just outside Williams Lake, reported to be the oldest beef producer in Western Canada.
The Cariboo Wagon Road attracted many transient miners who decided to make the Cariboo their home, but it also enabled early pioneers to bring their wagons and stock into fertile valleys and clear the land.
The gold rush at Cedar Creek (1922) also brought many miners into this area but the rush did not last long. The Bullion Mine started operating again in the 1930’s and attracted workers from all over. Many men came as prospectors on their own and eked out a living on the banks of the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers as well as the many creeks around Likely.
Likely’s surrounding areas have many crystal-clear lakes and rivers. The surrounding area supports recreational activities such as snowmobiling, mountain biking, ATV trails, white water rafting, kayaking, and walking and hiking trails. The area is known for world-class fishing, hunting, and outback camping. Likely is the gateway to the Cariboo Mountains. The “Back Road to Barkerville” is the wilderness portion of the Williams Lake/Wells/Barkerville Circle Tour. This is a gravel road easily accessible by most vehicles. It is a very popular scenic trip that allows you to travel through sub-alpine meadows and view thundering waterfalls. All of this is surrounded by snow covered mountain ridges. The residents of Likely invite you to explore and experience our ghost towns, historic sites as well as view abundant wildlife and the opportunity to enjoy wilderness adventures.
Today Likely is a friendly rural centre with a core population between three hundred and three hundred fifty people. Main industry mining, sub-industries; logging and tourism.