Likely Day Trip Ideas
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. If you bring it in with you, take it back out again. 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.
1. THE BACK ROAD
The Gold Rush Circle Route between Likely and Barkerville
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 is a summer road, usually open the end of June through September. Confirm conditions before proceeding at the Likely or Wells Information Centre.
This route takes approximately 3.5 hours 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. The road turns into the 3100 Road on the Quesnel side. The falls of Ghost Lake turn into the Matthew River and are spectacular. Continue on to Barkerville for visit and return to Likely via Quesnal to McLeese Lake and the Beaver Lake Road to Likely Road.
Places of Interest on the Quesnel side:
- 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.
2. Browntop Mountain Hiking Trial
An unmaintained wilderness road, 11.5 km from the junction of 8400 Road. From Keithley 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.
3. Cameron Ridge Hiking Trail
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 the town of Likely and Barkerville on the Gold Rush Circle Route. Cameron Ridge Bungalows rents cabins and you can dine in style at the “Chocolate Moose Cafe” which serves delicious home cooked meals and desserts.
4. Ghost Lake & Falls
Follow the Gold Rush Circle Route 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 as 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.
5. Cariboo Falls
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.
6. Cariboo Lake
Cariboo Lake is situated about 24 km (14.88 miles) north of Likely on the Keithley 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.
7. Quesnel Forks Ghost Town
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 at the Recreation Site it is often used for family reunion picnics and day trips.
- The cemetery is still in use today by Likely residents in a separate section from the old miners cemetery.
8. 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 Recreation Site and Hazeltine Creek are just ahead.
9. Keithley Creek/Cariboo Lake/Cemetery
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.
10. Little Snowshoe Cemetary/Tom Kinvig’s Cabin – 4×4 only
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.
11. 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 Niagara 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. Niagara Peak is situated in the Cariboo Mountains. Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park was established as Mitchell Lake/Niagara Park in 1995. The name was changed to Cariboo Mountains Park in 2000.