In 1859, local Indians showed gold seekers the location of gold deposits in now historic Horsefly, sparking the great Cariboo Gold Rush. Located 60 kilometres east of 150 Mile House, on the south branch of the Old Gold Rush Trail, Horsefly today is a forestry centre and the gateway to fabulous camping, hiking and fishing in the surrounding area.
Nestled at the base of the Cariboo Mountains, 10 kilometres east of Horsefly, is the beautiful Horsefly Lake, 50 kilometres long and 650 foot deep, with crystal-clear, clean water. Horsefly lake is just one of the plethora of lakes and rivers in the Chilcotin-Cariboo region that invite exploration, outdoor adventure and fishing.
Location: Horsefly is located 60 km east of 150 Mile House off Highway 97.
Horsefly Lake Provincial Park is set in the heart of what were once goldfields, but now the area is mainly used by anglers – a good fishing spot for rainbow trout. The park is located 13 km northeast of Horsefly, and facilities include vehicle/tent campsites, a picnic/day-use area, and a boat launch. And, yes, the biting-insect population here is the reason for the lake’s name.
Horsefly Lake and area has some of the best fishing in the Cariboo. You can fish for the large rainbow or lake trout that Horsefly Lake is known for, or for kokanee. The smaller lakes in the area provide excellent fly fishing, or if you must have the whole lake to yourself, take a floatplane to one of the remote lakes in the Chilcotins.
Fishing: If you prefer river fishing, the Horsefly River has the second largest sockeye salmon run in British Columbia, and fantastic rainbow fishing – all catch and release.
Just north of Horsefly, Quesnel Lake is the largest Lake in the Cariboo, with the North Arm extending 77 kilometres and the East Arm reaching out 100 kilometres. Fish for 10-16 pound rainbow trout, lake trout up to 30 or 40 pounds, as well as dolly varden or kokanee.
Kayaking: Novice kayakers can try the Lower Horsefly River to Quesnel Lake. The more experienced are in for a real adventure, on the Quesnel River from Likely to Quesnel Forks, and the Cariboo River, putting in at Quesnel Forks. There is no limit to the opportunities for canoeing in the area. You need look no further than Williams Lake itself, or the Chimney Lake Chain, Blue Lake, and McLeese Lake. Check with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Voyageurs Paddling Club for details on lake, river and canoe camping. Even in the hearts of our cities, you’re never far from the wilderness. In British Columbia, the opportunities for recreation are everywhere.
Hiking: Hiking trails along the Horsefly River lead to Horsefly Falls, and along the Viewland Trail to Viewland Mountain (1,326 m), north of Horsefly Lake. Trails through the cedar forest lead from Horsefly Lake to Quesnel Lake. The Abbott Lake Trail also provides a pleasant hike to Abbott Lake.
Cross-country skiing: Cross-country skiers can head for the 30 kilometres of well maintained trails at the Bull Mountain Trails, 20 km north of Williams Lake, and to the Corner Lake Ski Trail, 7 km southwest of Horsefly.
Skiing: Downhill skiers and snowboarders are catered for as well, 24 kilometres east of Lac la Hache. The Mt. Timothy Ski Area operates a family ski hill featuring a snowboard park and a seven-minute scenic T-bar ride up the 1,635-metre hill. Overnight RV plug-in sites are available.
Snowmobiling: Wide open wilderness and frozen lakes invite snowmobilers to the area during winter to participate in snowmobile races, or to venture out for the pure adventure of it.
Dog Sledding: Experience the romance and thrill of Dog Sledding through Cariboo Country, where the heavy and reliable snowfalls provide excellent backcountry trails. Local companies will take you on a short tour, or set you up to mush your own team of enthusiastic and friendly huskies.
Circle Tour: See the best of the Cariboo, Chilcotin and BC Coast on the Discovery Coast Circle Tour. Cross to Vancouver Island from Vancouver and head north, boarding the Queen of Chilliwack in Port Hardy. Return to the mainland at Bella Coola, and enjoy the grassy plateaus, rolling meadows, picturesque canyons and high mountain peaks of the Chilcotin. The old Cariboo Wagon Road will lead you back to Vancouver through the heart of the Cariboo region. The Inside Passage Tour, the Native Heritage Tour, and the Circle Tour of Northern BC all incorporate the Cariboo Highway 97 for the journey between Prince George and Vancouver.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.