Hiking the Mount Begbie Lookout Trail

One of the challenges of writing this blog while I’m travelling is deciding how to divide it. Sometimes one day makes for a good post length, sometimes a couple of days. But there are times when a day has so much going on that a specific event or site needs its own post. Day 5 of the current adventure started off with a hike on the Mount Begbie Lookout Trail that, while not long, still deserves its own page.

The trail isn’t marked, and like many such sites, is pretty much only known to locals. But, on Highway 97 south of 100 Mile House, a small sign notes that you have reached Begbie Summit at 1,232 meters elevation.

Begbie Summit on BC Highway 97, 1,232 meters elevation
About 50 meters/yards south of the summit, another small sign points east to a Stop of Interest. In 50 years of driving past that sign, I had never made that turn before.

Stop of Interest sign at Begbie Summit on BC Highway 97
What I found was the Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site, and it turned out to be the perfect camping spot for our fourth night on the road (April 29th). The area had gotten a couple of inches of snow that afternoon, and the weather forecast said that more could fall that night.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
The information panel said that the hike to a forestry lookout tower only takes 5-10 minutes, so that was the plan for the next morning if the weather was suitable (there’s not much point in going to forestry lookout if there’s zero visibility).

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
Just after 08:00, with high clouds and some clear patches, I got my SPOT and bear spray out, and headed out.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
Cattle guards (“Texas gates”) not only stop cattle from crossing, they stop other animals including dogs.

Cattle guard on the Mount Begbie Lookout trail
There is another dog-friendly access to the trail/road, though.

Gate on the Mount Begbie Lookout trail
The grade is easy, the forest really pleasant even at +2°C.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
The first view of the lookout tower.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
Some impressive rock work got the road up to the top of the rocky knoll.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
Just below the forestry lookout is a communications facility.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
The forestry lookout, a sturdy and spotlessly clean setup for its assigned duty. The Mount Begbie Lookout is one of 11 fire towers in the region. It’s manned whenever the area is susceptible to wildfires.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
How’s this for an office view? The information panel at the parking area says that from this vantage point (at 1,276 meters) on a clear day, you can see almost all of the Cariboo region – almost 9 million hectares.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
The view to the south, looking down Highway 97 towards Clinton.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
A telephoto view to the south-southwest.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
The tower is a pretty awesome weather-spotting vantage point, too!

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
All four sides of the base of the building have been beautifully decorated.

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site
Signed “M. Carter ’97” – one of the fire-watchers?

Mount Begbie Lookout BC Forest Service Recreation Site

The entire exploration took under 30 minutes, but what a fine way to start the day off. At 09:50, we were back on the highway, headed towards the Thompson River somewhere – the Spences Bridge area, perhaps.



Comments

Hiking the Mount Begbie Lookout Trail — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Murray,
    I’m completely shocked to find that Judy and I “found” and went to the top of Mt. Begbie summit, almost 13 years ago!! (with pics to prove it)
    Given where you have been in B.C. and the world, it is hard to believe that
    “poor little ‘ol us” saw the view before you did !
    It looks as if you had a much clearer day than we had for picture taking.

    Enjoy your trip and be safe !

    Dave & Judy Leland

    • I haven’t been everywhere, though it’s on my list 🙂 That’s actually not an area that I’ve spent much time in – always just passed through.

  2. Neat little adventure and what views!

    Great that you have plenty of time to noodle around.