Deep in the northeastern interior of the province, far from large populations, past the grasslands and pine forests that thrive in the rain shadow of the coast range, another great wall of mountains rise. Giant cedar and hemlock thrive, vegetation grows close to lakes shores and wetlands fill the valleys. This is the inland rain forest, a rugged area blessed by rains and heavy snows. The mountains jagged peaks rise over tarn lakes, hanging valleys and glaciers, and form a majestic backdrop to alpine meadows that erupt with colour in summer. In the heart of this area is Caribou Mountains Provincial Park, a 113,469-hectare park whose wildness both draws and humbles adventure seekers.
Activities include canoeing on Ghost Lake, the most accessible area of the park. A small lakeside campsite, which is vehicle accessible, has lovely views of the surrounding mountains. Swimming is also a possibility, although the chilly water and thick lakeside growth make for a challenge. Fishing for sockeye, coho, chinook, kokanee, bull trout and rainbow are all productive in the park’s plentiful rivers and lakes. The area is ideal for wilderness hiking and camping. Limited hunting is available. There are no defined hiking trails in the park, so exploration is suited to the adventurer and the well-prepared. In wintertime, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing are excellent on the deep snow-packs.
The little-visited area has one of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears in the BC interior; is home to the rare mountain caribou, a species that is able to walk over the deep snow with its wide feet, and graze on lichens found only in old-growth forests; and other species including black bear, mountain goat, moose, wolf, cougar and wolverine.
Situated between Bowron and Wells Gray Provincial Parks, it is part of a continuous protected area in the Caribou wilderness that encompasses 760,000 hectares.
Location and access
The park can be reached via 3100 Forestry Road from Barkerville; via Quesnel Lake by boat; or 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. Travel in the area is on gravel logging roads, and visitors should be self-sufficient and experienced in wilderness travel. Disused horseback trails are over-grown, and are not suitable for travel.