Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park is a true wilderness area, dominated by densely forested valleys and high serrated peaks and glaciers, featuring attractive lakes and lush wetlands. The Park is situated in the interior wet belt, between Bowron Lake and Wells Gray Provincial Parks. These three parks combined now create one continuous protected area in the Cariboo Mountains that is over 1.87 million acres (760,000 hectares) in size.
The 280,268-acre (113,469-hectare) Cariboo Mountain Park incorporates a diverse landscape ranging from mountain peaks and tarn lakes in hanging alpine valleys, to extensive meadows, large wetland complexes, and ancient red-cedar and hemlock forests.
The park also protects the complete Niagara Creek watershed, from its headwaters on the icefields of the Cariboo Mountains to the shores of Quesnel Lake. It also protects the majority of the Mitchell River watershed. Significant features are Niagara Falls on the shore of Quesnel Lake, and small tarns in hanging alpine valleys.
Vehicle access camping is available at Ghost Lake. The 5 small sites are open year round, when accessible. This small, remote site features views down the lake and up into the surrounding mountains, and is adjacent to the scenic Matthew River Falls. Camping reservations are not accepted at this park. All campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Wilderness and backcountry camping is allowed.
Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park offers extensive opportunities for backcountry adventures, but few facilities are provided. Anglers can fish for sockeye, coho, chinook, kokanee, bull trout or rainbow trout. Park visitors can cross-country ski or snowshoe in the park, but no trails are set. There are no defined or maintained hiking trails in the park. Horseback riding is permitted, but this is not horse country. It is very wet, and old routes are overgrown and impassable by horses. Visitors must be self-sufficient and experienced in wilderness travel. Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
The diverse habitat of the park supports an equally diverse array of wildlife species. Wildlife in the park includes grizzly bear (one of the largest populations of grizzlies in BC’s interior), black bear, mountain goat, moose, wolf, many small mammals, and the rare mountain caribou that depends on the arboreal lichens found in old-growth forests, which they reach by walking on top of the deep winter snowpack.
The lower Mitchell River and its tributaries provide critical spawning, rearing, and foraging habitats for salmonids, including sockeye, coho, chinook, kokanee, bull trout, and rainbow trout. The lower Mitchell River also provides a spring staging area for numerous species of waterfowl.
Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park is located northeast of Likely and east of Quesnel in the Cariboo region of BC. The Ghost Lake camping area can be accessed by travelling to Barkerville from Quesnel via Highway 26, and then taking the 3100 Forestry Road (gravel) from Barkerville. The park is located approximately 70 km (allow 1.5 hours) from Barkerville on the 3100 road. This is an active logging road: please drive cautiously with headlights on. Turn right onto a sign-posted 4-km access road, which leads to the camping area.
Another route to Ghost Lake is via Likely (about 90 km). The 8400 Road (Cariboo Lake Road) from Likely leads north past Cariboo Lake, and eventually connects up with the 3100 Road. Follow this to the Ghost Lake turnoff (signed), turn right and drive another 4 km to the campsite. The park can also be accessed from the McBride Valley via the Castle Creek Forest Service Road, which leads up Castle Creek and ends about 5 km from the park boundary.
Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park can also be accessed from Quesnel Lake by boat or along logging roads. No trails link Bowron Lake Provincial Park and Wells Gray Provincial Park to Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park.
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