You can hike up to a Fire Lookout on Camelshoof Peak, just north of Lillooet in BC, Canada. This peak is the southernmost summit of Camelsfoot Mountain range, so you get to see the Fraser river as it snakes around both sides of the mountain.
There are two possible viewpoints you can hike to. The first has a memorial bench at the top of a forest service spur road after an easy hour-long hike. However if you have enough energy, keep going! The second half of the hike is steeper and more technical, but you’ll be rewarded with fabulous 360° views by an old fire lookout on Camelshoof Peak. This was the best hike we did near Lillooet.
Camelshoof Lookout trail map
If you follow the main map on alltrails it will take you half way up this route. I recorded our visit so I could share the route for the rest of the way up Camelshoof Peak.
Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout – the basics
Distance: 6 km to the first viewpoint, or 11.5 km to Camelsfoot Lookout
Elevation gain: 320m to the first viewpoint, or 820m to Camelsfoot Lookout
Highest Point: 1112m to the first viewpoint, or 1540m for the summit
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours to the first viewpoint, or 3.5 – 4 hours to the fire lookout and the summit
What to bring:
Bring the 10 essentials plus bear spray. The weather can change very quickly at this elevation, so it is best to be prepared.
Facilities: No facilities.
Dogs: Yes. Although there are cliffs, so it’s safest to keep dogs on a leash.
How hard is it?
Easy to the first viewpoint. Moderate to the Camelsfoot Lookout and Camelshoof Peak.
Extra notes: This is a wild, bear-filled area. Be sure to make lots of noise as you hike.
Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout – getting started
The trailhead is 11km down West Pavilion Road, which is unpaved, but in pretty good condition and suitable for 2WD. Cross a cattle grid (by a yellow road marker that says 21). There is space to park on the side of the road facing downhill.
Easy Spur road
The first 3km of the trail (on AllTrails it is called the Camelfoot Mountain trail) is along a decommissioned road. It may not be good enough to drive along, but it is well graded and super easy to hike up. There are trees along the edge, but you can peek through to get glimpses of the surrounding countryside.
Fabulous first viewpoint
At the top of the road, there is a memorial bench where you can stop and take in the views.
Look to the left to see the switchbacks of West Pavilion Road (that you just drove up) On the opposite side of the valley is Fountain Peak. We could see that ridge from the Red Rock trail, so it was cool to see the other side of the mountain.
On to the Fire Lookout…
Once you have made it past the first viewpoint, you’ll be able to see the trail beyond to Camelshoof Peak. There is a bit of a dip, then you’ll be climbing up the steep trail. There are two more super-steep dips in the trail where you lose elevation, just to hike back up again.
Most of the trail goes through pretty ponderosa forest. But now you are hiking along the ridge, quite often you can peek between the trees for fantastic views down into the valley. The road that hugs the mountains down below is Highway 99.
The northeastern side of Camelshoof Peak is has sheer drop-offs down to the Fraser River valley below. The path is quite close to the edge at some points, so this is not an ideal hike if you hate heights.
Final push to Camelshoof Peak
The last section up to the summit and fire lookout is loose, slippery and steep. Still there is an obvious trail with plenty of switch backs. If you take it slowly and tread carefully you should be able to make it up.
Camelsfoot Fire Lookout
If you haven’t been following my recent posts about Lillooet, you may be wondering why the fire lookout and peak have camel related-names! Basically, during the Cariboo Gold Rush, a man called John Calbreath thought camels would be great for hauling gear around this desert-like area. He brought 23 camels to Lillooet, but the animals were so grumpy and ungovernable that miners voted to have them banned from the trails. In the end the poor camels were released into the wild. The Camelsfoot Mountain range (and this fire lookout) were named after those famous roaming camels. (Read more about the camels here.)
The firelookout itself is in pretty good nick. It doesn’t have any windows left, but it doesn’t look too dilapidated.
Xaxli’p Land acknowledgement
Looking South from the summit, you can see the curve of the highway on the opposite side of the Fraser River as well as the First Nations community of Xaxli’p or Fountain. The name Xaxli’p (pronounced haa-clip) means ‘the brow of the hill’ referring to the location of the Nation’s main village. The English name, Fountain, describes the churning white water rapids from that huge bend Fraser Canyon. From the Xaxli’p website:
For Xaxli’p, the land is part of who we are; the people and the land cannot be separated. The land, animals, fish, trees, water, air and people are all Xaxli’p.
The St’át’imc Nation is made up of 11 self-governing communities, including Xaxli’p. Please tread lightly and make sure you leave no trace when you visit their land.
Camelshoof Peak Views
We LOVED this area with its incredible 360° views. We did not see any other hikers…and I guess the bears were all busy with the salmon run as we didn’t see them either. It was so nice to have such spectacular scenery to ourselves.
There is a flat area on the summit where you can explore and peek out to the surrounding mountains.
All in all, it is a great location to take jumping photos, then relax with a cup of tea.
Just be ready for the weather to change in an instant! We enjoyed sunshine for most of our time on the trail, but it was very chilly at the summit…and a storm blew in while we sat taking in the views. Be ready with warm and waterproof layers if you hike here.
Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout panoramas
I’ll finish with a few panoramas to show you how incredible the views are up here!
If you are looking for a moderately challenging hike near Lillooet with really good views, Camelshoof Peak and fire lookout is such a good option! If you like the sound of this, but can’t make it the whole way up, the easy walk up to the first viewpoint is still a great mini adventure. Click on the pins below to save this hike for later.