Francois Lake ferry is located South of the village of Burns Lake (which
is 225 km West of Prince George via Highway 16), and
connects unincorporated communities of Francois Lake (on the North side
of the lake) and Southbank (on the South side). The ferry is called
Francois Forester, and takes all of 15 minutes to cross the lake. The
ride is free, and the boarding is on a first-come, first-served basis,
aside from giving priority to school buses and, one would imagine,
emergency vehicles. Since the ferry is very small, it can carry, at
most, a few dozen vehicles (as well as walk-ons, motorcyclists, and cyclists), but that
number is going to be reduced, if large vehicles would board the ferry. In our case, the arriving ferry carried a loaded logging truck and
a pickup towing a large horse trailer, and then an empty logging truck
and a converted school bus boarded the ferry on the way back.
The ferry starts its daily run in Southbank at 05:30 AM, and the last
ferry leaves Francois Lake on the North side at 11:00 PM. The interval
between sailings at each terminal is 50 minutes to one hour. There are
many rules applicable to this ferry ride, and they are posted on the
information boards by the terminal. The photographs of those information
boards are contained in this trip report.
The short ride allows to observe a fine-looking Francois Lake, with
distant mountains on the horizon. We also liked having a very cheerful
attendant on duty, who really seemed to enjoy his job.
0. In this photo of the map of British Columbia, located by Houston
Visitor Centre, we have pointed to Francois Lake with a yellow arrow.
Central British Columbia Map
1. To get to the Northern terminal of the Francois Lake ferry, get to the
of Burns Lake on Highway 16, and follow signs to Highway 35. Then, take
Highway 35 all the way to Francois Lake (22.8 km). Check out our
previous trip report for
photo directions on getting from Burns Lake to Francois Lake. Here we are
at the end of BC Highway 35, getting ready to turn right onto
Colleymount Road (turning left here onto Francois Lake East Road would
eventually lead to Uncha Mountain Red Hills Provincial Park, and to Red
Hills trail, which we hiked earlier in the day).
BC Highway 35 at Colleymount Road
2. Less than a kilometer later, approaching Francois Lake Ferry northern
Colleymount Road British Columbia
3. Here it is, with signs showing all the good places you can get to by
taking a ferry, or proceeding straight on Colleymount Road. It is
possible to do a circle tour, as seen on the map in photo #7.
Colleymount Road near Francois Lake Ferry Terminal
4. The terminal parking area. Coordinates:
N 54⁰03.082’ W 125⁰45.419’. Elevation: 718 meters.
Francois Lake Ferry Terminal Parking
5. The sign of times.
Francois Lake Ferry COVID-19 Restrictions
6. Information boards by the terminal building.
Francois Lake Ferry Terminal Building
7. Here is that circle tour map.
Francois Lake Loop Tour Map
8. Terminal rules and information posted by the docking area.
Francois Lake Ferry Terminal Information Boards
9. Francois Lake ferry schedule, boarding instructions, and safety regulations.
Francois Lake Ferry Schedule, Boarding Instructions and Safety
10. Francois Lake Northern terminal docking area.
Francois Lake Ferry Terminal Docking Area
11. Francois Lake ferry "Francois Forester" approaching Francois Lake
Francois Forester Ferry
Here is a video of the ferry approaching Francois Lake
12-13. And here is the side view of Francois Forester, which we observed
earlier in the day while hiking Red Hills trail.
Francois Forester Ferry on Francois Lake
14. Francois Lake ferry has arrived to its Northern terminal at Francois
Lake, and the vehicles started to disembark.
Francois Forester at Francois Lake Ferry Terminal
15. A very cheerful attendant was directing the traffic.
Francois Forester Attendant
16. The logging truck was the last to leave.
Disembarking Francois Lake Ferry
Here is a video of vehicles disembarking from Francois
17. The captain was checking out the action on the deck.
Francois Forester Bridge Area
18. It's now time to board the vessel.
Boarding Francois Forester
19-20. The cheerful attendant is directing us to the leftmost lane.
Boarding Francois Lake Ferry
Francois Lake Ferry Attendant Directing Boarding Traffic
21. We are the first vehicle in that lane, with good views in the front
and to the left.
On Board of Francois Forester Ferry
22. Looking left while leaving the Northern terminal.
Leaving Francois Lake on Board of Francois Forester Ferry
Here is a video of leaving Francois Lake (Northern)
23. About midway of the trip.
24. Approaching Southbank terminal.
Southbank Francois Lake Ferry Terminal
Here is a video of the ferry approaching Southbank
25. And we are there. According to our GPS, the trip took almost exactly
15 minutes, and covered the distance of 2.9 kilometers. The average
speed was 11.8 km/h, and the top speed was 14.3 km/h.
Francois Lake Ferry Docked at Southbank Terminal
26-27. Leaving Francois Forester ferry at the Southbank terminal.
Disembarking from Francois Ferry in Douthbank
Leaving Francois Forester Ferry in Southbank
28. Vehicles waiting to board the ferry on the Northbound trip.
Vehicles Waiting to Board Francois Lake Ferry in Southbank
29. We then proceeded to Houston via back roads, which were all in very
good shape. The views were ok, though nothing too spectacular. Except
this one - Nadina Mountain as seen from Morice Owen FSR about 30 km
South of Houston (Backroad Mapbook Page 21, C7).
Nadina Mountain near Houston BC
Francois Lake ferry is a short and pleasant ride, with good views and a cool