Horsefly Falls is a very special and spectacular site, attracting lots of visitors almost all year round, being fascinated by the ever changing falls depending on the heights of the river and snow and ice in the winter. A must see for every Horsefly visitor.
Moffat Falls is another great place to visit. About 7 km east of Horsefly only a 3 min walk off the 108 Mile Rd. you will find this pristine waterfall.
One can climb (carefully!) down to the bottom of the fall, where you will find a stretch of sandy beach and can enjoy the cool mist on a hot summer day.
Horsefly Lake is 34 miles long and is known for its crystal clear water and gentle nature.
Located approximately an hour from Williams Lake, Horsefly Lake has an excellent Provincial Park on the north shore. The park is clearly marked as Horsefly Lake Provincial Park at every intersection, starting at 150 Mile House on Highway 97.
The water in Horsefly Lake is so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake at a depth of 20 feet (or more), making it an excellent swimming lake. It is a little cold but absolutely refreshing. Each summer in August there are Red Cross swimming lessons at the Horsefly Lake Provincial Park.
There is a great variety of scenery at Horsefly Lake and it is ideal to explore with any size of boat, or a canoe or kayak. It is narrow and forms a rough “S” shape so storms don’t have any large area to really build up and become dangerous. Always be prepared when out on the lake though, and prepare to take shelter at the shore if necessary.
Little Horsefly River is the outflow of Horsefly Lake and it is a very pretty paddle out of the lake, through the shallow river and under the bridge, on to Little Horsefly Lake and back into the river. You can easily go a few km further down the little river before you encounter a log jam. Extreme sport enthusiasts could journey out to the big Horsefly River and on to Quesnel Lake (10 or 12 miles). Birch Bay is another pretty area on Horsefly Lake that is easily accessible from the Horsefly Lake Provincial Park area and is home to the Cariboo Country Inn and Ranch. Only the lower ¼ of the lake is developed with roads, cottages and homes with the remainder being mostly wilderness Crown Land.
As you journey up Horsefly Lake you will pass through the “Narrows” where the peninsula at the False Arm forms a narrow passage that is the only access up the lake. Beyond there you will see Hansen Island with its resident Eagle Nests, then Spirit Island which is a very scenic private property. In this area there are many sandy points and lovely beaches. Further up the lake you will notice the lake become wider and see Horn Bluff on your left. You will be heading north-east past Goetjen Island and the Twin Islands. On the left is Suey Bay which is a little bit of Hawaii in the Cariboo. It is a ½ mile long, wonderful sandy beach that is shallow and warm. Across the lake, Archie Creek empties into the lake, and without too much trouble you will find Archie Creek waterfall which is a short hike through the forest. In this area you will be about ¾ of the way up the lake and see snow capped mountains or alpine meadows towering all around you.
Note the peaks of Big Slide Mountain, Ilahee, Dutchman, Watchman and Isosceles Mountains and Eagles Nest Peak. You are fairly close to the boundary of the Wells Gray Park and will see Caput Mountain, McCallum Peak, Mount Hutch, Mount Perseus, and Eureka Peak.
From Suey Bay on Horsefly Lake there is a walking trail to Slate Bay on Quesnel Lake. It is about 4 miles across and goes past Suey Lake.
Horsefly Lake is such an exceptional area to explore and enjoy that people come back year after year and recommend it to friends and family. It is rare to speak to a person who has not heard something about Horsefly Lake.
The Horsefly River is a pristine mountain river that winds from its headwaters in the Cariboo Mountains, through the village of Horsefly, and down to Horsefly Bay on Quesnel Lake. The scenery is wonderful and includes two waterfalls. Most of the river is navigable and fishermen from all over the world fly fish for rainbow trout. Fishing is catch and release only to help enhance and protect the fishery.
The Horsefly River is the second biggest salmon spawning river in the province of British Columbia. Every year the salmon make the journey from the mouth of the Fraser River in Delta, through the Fraser Valley, up the rough Fraser Canyon, on to the Cariboo as far as Quesnel, then they make the turn into the Quesnel River and fight some pretty challenging water up into Quesnel Lake. They swim up to Horsefly Bay and enter the Horsefly River system at that point. There are natural spawning beds all along the river banks. There is a healthy black bear population on the river and you should always be “bear aware” in the natural habitat along the banks of the Horsefly River.
The Department of Fisheries & Oceans has built a spawning channel in the village of Horsefly which has helped dramatically to increase the population in the river. In the natural river the survival rate of the eggs is l0% and in the channels it is 90% because it is a controlled environment. There is an easy walking trail along the channels and a good portion of it is wheelchair accessible. The headwaters of the Horsefly River is fed by mountain streams from Eureka Peak, McCallum Peak, Caput, Isosceles, Dutchman, Ilahee, Watchman, and Big Slide Mountains on the north and east sides, and to the south from Boss Mountain and Mount Beisig. Crooked Lake and McKusky river flow into the upper Horsefly River. It is on this section of River that you will find the upper Horsefly River Waterfall, approximately a half hour from Horsefly village. The waterfall is an impressive site, but use great care when walking down the trail to get there. The rocks can be slippery.
Further to the south the interesting chain of Bosk, Cruiser, Elbow, Boscar, and McKinley Lakes become the McKinley Creek and feed into the Horsefly River. After this point the river meanders through the Black Creek Valley. A good portion of the river, in this area, is under the stewardship of The Land Conservancy where some habitat restoration work has taken place. The river flows through a canyon toward Horsefly and there is a small waterfall near the village.
After the Horsefly River winds through Horsefly village, it is joined by Little Horsefly River which is the outflow of Horsefly Lake. There is some lovely scenery in this stretch of the river and many people enjoy it on tubes, canoes, kayaks, etc. Rocky bar is a nice gravelly point to disembark or there is a nice recreation site at Squaw Flats. Find a detailed map of this area because there is some rough water at the “steps” and in the canyon. Then the river makes its way into Horsefly Bay where there is a beautiful estuary with many types of wildlife, and a small campsite. You could spend an hour or a week on the Horsefly River and there are experienced guides available in Horsefly to help plan your trip. Contact Linda Bartsch 250-620-3350
Quesnel Lake is reported to be the deepest fiord lake in the world. At junction of the North and East Arms Quesnel Lake is approximately 4 miles across. The North Arm is 25 miles long, the East Arm is 34 miles long and the Main Lake is approximately 50 miles to the outflow of Quesnel River located at Likely, B.C.
Quesnel Lake boasts a trophy fishing population of rainbow trout, lake trout, dolly varden, and ling cod. Be sure to study the fishing regulations for Quesnel Lake before you venture out.
Quesnel Lake has several major tributaries: Horsefly River, Niagara River, Roaring River, Penfold River, Mitchell River, Grain Creek plus many smaller creeks. Quesnel Lake rears a major population of Sockeye Salmon that spawn in the above mentioned rivers, then journey down the Quesnel River, to the Fraser River, and on to the Pacific Ocean. After 2 years in the ocean they return to spawn where they were born.
There is scenery around Quesnel Lake that is second to none. The end of the North and East Arms are right in the Cariboo Mountains with peaks in excess of 7000 feet that are snow capped a good part of the year, and in the summer have beautiful alpine meadows. There are many interesting names that all have stories attached to them: Mount Watt, Mount Brew, Niagara Peak, Mount Wotzke, Roaring Peaks, Mount Mitchell, Mount Mathew, Mount Youngren, Mount Spranger, Miller Peaks, Roberts Peak, Three Ladies Mountain, Welcome Mountain, Mount Stevenson, and Spanish Mountain – just to name a few! There are fabulous sandy beaches at numerous locations around Quesnel Lake, many accessible by boat only.
Quesnel Lake Other geographic locations of interest are Hurricane Point (appropriately named), Lynx Peninsula and Hobson Arm, Cariboo Island, Plato Island, Horsefly Bay, Peninsula Bay, Shoals Bay and Slate Bay. You could spend a lifetime exploring Quesnel Lake and not run out of new places to stay. There is Bowling Point, Goose Point, Deception Point, Bean Point and Rocker Point and more. Of great interest is our own Niagara Falls located on the East Arm of Quesnel Lake, where the Niagara River spills into the lake creating a great natural show every day. Niagara river has a lot of natural silt which forms a white cloud in the water around the falls.
The village of Likely is an interesting village located at the outflow of Quesnel Lake where the history goes back to the 1870’s gold rush days. There is still an active mining economy combined with forestry and tourism. Likely has a fish hatchery, museum, information centre and many historical sites to visit.
There are two other ways to access Quesnel Lake, through the village of Horsefly. Go out toward Horsefly Lake, then on to the junction area where the North Arm, East Arm and Main Lake meet to form a giant “Y”. Or go out toward Mitchell Bay and Horsefly Bay on the Horsefly-Quesnel Lake Road (locally known as the Ditch Road, which will take the adventurous traveler right over to Likely.)
A word of caution, not to discourage, but to inform, is that Quesnel Lake can become very stormy, very fast and you will want to be prepared to get off the lake if necessary, and stay there until the storm blows over.
Quesnel Lake is pristine wilderness at it’s’ best and is a treasure that should be protected for all time. You will not forget this lake once you have seen and experienced it. It has been known to change peoples’ lives forever.