Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park provides a wilderness experience. Located in the undeveloped backcountry of British Columbia, it became a provincial park in 1995. The park has a diverse landscape from mountainous peaks to forested valleys to lakes and wetlands. The wet landscape makes the old growth red cedar and hemlock trees thrive.
Designated as a provincial park by the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Plan, the 230,388-acre (113,469 ha) park provides a habitat for many different types of wildlife. Moose, bears, waterfowl, and numerous other types of animals live in the park. The area also protects the undeveloped Niagara Creek and Mitchell River watersheds, along with several others.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities at the park. A short, rugged path leading down to Ghost Lake is the access point for boats. There is plenty of opportunity for fishing as well. Many different types of fish flourish in the lake’s waters including sockeye, rainbow trout, and coho. During the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed in the snow-covered park, though there aren’t any designated trails.
There are five campsites at Ghost Lake that are available on a first-come, first served basis. The campsites are small and don’t have any services. Campers are expected to pack out all trash and supplies as the park is user-maintained. Visitors are welcome to bring their leashed pets with them to the provincial park.
Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park is in a remote, backcountry location. The nearest town with supplies is Wells which is about 43 miles (70 km) from the park. Pack extra water and other supplies with you to avoid the long drive to town.
The campsites at Ghost Lake can be accessed by the 3100 Forestry Road. The road is an active logging road and is gravel. Ensure that your headlights are on while driving on the logging roads and use caution, especially in wet conditions. Snow and ice can cover the area in the winter.
Once in the park, you can access the different areas by walking, canoeing, or driving. If walking, note that there are no set hiking trails in the park.
For visitors looking to camp, there are five vehicle accessible campsites at Ghost Lake. From the campsites, you’ll have scenic views of the lake as well as the surrounding mountains. The campground is also adjacent to Matthew River Falls.
These campsites are small and do not have any services. There are no hookups or water in the provincial park. There is a pit toilet near the campsites. If more than one car is in your group, there is a nearby parking lot for excess vehicles. Leashed pets are permitted in the park. Pets can be a disturbance to the park’s wildlife, so be sure to keep your pet under control at all times.
The rustic Ghost Lake campsites are user-maintained. Pack out any trash with you when you leave. Campfires are permitted, but firewood is not provided. If you plan or need to have a campfire, bring your own wood.
Canoes and kayaks are welcome on Ghost Lake. The lake’s access point for canoes and kayaks is a short path leading down to the lake. There is no formal boat launch. Plan to fish or simply enjoy exploring the lake and taking in the park’s landscape and wildlife. Keep in mind the lake's remote location and take safety precautions. Wear a life jacket and keep an eye on weather conditions.
There is ample opportunity for fishing at the provincial park. Fish from land or boat, but note that a fishing license is required to do so. Be sure to pick one up before your visit. There is a variety of fish that anglers may expect to reel in. Sockeye, coho, rainbow trout, chinook, and kokanee all thrive in the park’s waters.
Horses were once common in the park and were primarily used for hunting. Though the area is not considered horse country, horseback riding is still permitted. Take caution while out riding. Some of the routes have become overgrown and many of the routes may be wet. Keep a safe distance from wildlife while out exploring the valleys and forests.
Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park is a great hunting destination. There is an abundance of wildlife including deer, moose, bears, and waterfowl. If planning a hunting trip, check the hunting restrictions and regulations, including season dates. Ensure you have the necessary licensing before your trip.
The undeveloped, backcountry wilderness of Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park is home and protects the habitat of many different types of wildlife. Visitors may encounter moose, black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves. Lucky guests may even catch sight of the rare mountain caribou. In the spring, numerous types of waterfowl visit the lower Mitchell River. If you come into contact with wildlife, remember to keep your distance. Put away food and trash to avoid attracting bears.
If visiting in the winter, bring along your cross-country skis or snowshoes. During the snowy, winter months cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted throughout the park, however, there are no set trails. Plan to make your own path as you explore the park under a forest of hemlocks and red cedar. Enjoy views of snowcapped peaks and glaciers and see what animal tracks you may find.