Trip 133 - May 22, 2018 (Tuesday)

Quesnel Forks Historic Site Visit

Near Likely British Columbia Canada


Distance From Vancouver to Quesnel Forks:
(via Highways 1 East, 97 North, Likely Road, and Rosette Lake Road): approximately 630 kilometers.

Liked: Old cemetery, visitor centre with information stands about Quesnel Forks, Cariboo river views, quiet location, recreation site available nearby.

Of note: There is very little to see of historical value, as there are almost no artefacts inside restored cabins. The last two kilometers to the site is a fairly steep downhill ride.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook (2015 edition) Coordinates: Page 43 (Quesnel Forks) F5. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available for purchase at BackroadMapbooks.com.

Quesnel Forks is a ghost town near Likely BC, located and the confluence of Quesnel and Cariboo rivers. At its peak over a hundred of years ago, there were several hundred people living there, most of them seeking gold in the nearby area. As years went by, as gold fever passed, and as the river swallowed much of the real estate, Quesnel Forks was abandoned, and its buildings started to decay. In recent years, Quesnel Forks became a local historic site, with several well-restored (albeit mostly empty) buildings. The cemetery has some very old graves, as well as recent burials of folks from other places. After Fort St. James National Historic Site, which we visited in 2016, Quesnel Forks certainly felt very small, with little to see. That said, there are no admission fees, very few people around, a picturesque setting, and a sense that in this very place, a long time ago, hundreds of people lived and many died pursuing their golden dreams.

1. We are Northbound on BC Highway 97, in 150 Mile House, 10 km South of Williams Lake, 80 km North of 100 Mile House, and are getting ready to turn onto Likely Road.

2. Approaching right turn to Likely Road.

3. Now on Likely Road.

4. Get ready to turn left (to stay on Likely Road) 4.4 km after turning from Highway 97. Going straight/right would lead to Horsefly.

5. Likely Road after the split.

6. So, it goes like that for 79.7 km after the start of Likely Road at Highway 97, and then there is a Bullion Pit rest area on the left side. There is a canyon trail there, which we hiked the day before, and which is described in our next trip report.

7. For the time being, we are continuing to Quesnel Forks. At the 83.5 km mark from Highway 97, there is this bridge across Quesnel River, and Likely BC starts right after the bridge.

8. Five hundred meters after crossing the bridge (there is an eatery to the right of the bridge, if you are interested), get ready to turn left onto Rosette Lake Road. A sign indicates that Quesnel Forks is located in that direction.

9. Rosette Lake Road turns onto gravel 1.7 km later, but it's a smooth ride. There is a pretty steep downhill for about two kilometers right before Quesnel Forks, though. Would be quite a challenge climbing that hill in the winter, especially since its unclear whether the road to Quesnel Forks is regularly cleared from snow.

10. Rosette Lake Road leads to Quesnel Forks after 11.7 kilometers.

11. This sign shows you what's where around here.

12. The map of the place.

13. We took the road to the left of the sign, and right away there is a cemetery (behind the fence) and, a hundred meters later, a visitor centre on the right side.

14. The visitor centre.

15. It's a good idea to check out the visitor centre at the beginning of your visit, and read about the history of Quesnel Forks, well-presented on several large information boards inside this building.

16. The residents of Quesnel Forks.

17. A painting of Quesnel Forks in its glory days.

18. We then visited the cemetery.

19. There are about 50-60 graves at the cemetery, with a mix of very old and fairly recent burials. This is the grave of one of the most prominent residents of Quesnel Forks, Government Agent W. M. Stephenson, 1832-1946.

20. And this is the resting place of Alfred John Budden, who was killed in a mining accident in 1895, aged 26.

21. The road to the left of the welcome sign continues past the cemetery, and ends at Quesnel River (just past the trees).

22. Turning to the right in front of those trees leads to the entrance to the town site.

23. A neat river view shortly after the entrance.

24. Here is the featured attraction - several well-restored cabins, where Quesnel Forks residents used to live and work. This cabin belonged to a caretaker.

25. The cabins are mostly grouped together.

26. Shorty Lahaie's cabin.

27. Inside the cabin. Unclear, if these are the original items from the Quesnel Forks era. Most of the cabins have nothing but bare walls inside of them.

28. There is also a recreation site nearby, with 11 spaces, all unoccupied during our visit.

29. One of the spaces.

30. Quesnel Forks recreation site map.

If you are in the area, Quesnel Forks may be a good place to visit for its historical value, and the recreation site next to the river is a fine place to stay.


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