Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout – Lillooet

Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout – Lillooet

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.

Fabulous cliffs

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.

Changeable Weather

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.

47 thoughts on “Camelshoof Peak and Fire Lookout – Lillooet

    1. It’s because of the history of the area – a man brought 23 camels to Lillooet help carry goods during the gold rush, but then (after they were grumpy ladies) he released them into the wild.

  1. This is so awesome! Those views are incredible. I laughed reading about camels being grumpy – that does NOT surprise me! How cool to visit an old fire lookout.

  2. Wow, what an amazing hike! All your photos are beautiful, especially the panoramas. The story about the camels being released after being too grumpy was interesting. I’m clicking on your story to Read More about the Camels next.

    1. It’s a [pretty cool bit of history isn’t it!? I feel bad for the camels though. They were not really suited to this part of Canada!

    1. Me too! Fire lookouts seem to always have the best views so they can keep an eye on the surrounding mountains. <3

  3. The views are gorgeous, especially views of the Fraser River and whoever had the brilliant idea of putting that bench there should be thanks a thousands time. Did you sit to take in the views?

    I love seeing your jumping shots, you always look so happy!

    1. Thanks Mayi! Yeah, we sat there for a while on the way down – I mean it would be rude not to stop and sit somewhere that beautiful!

  4. This hike looks beautiful! Thanks for the tips on the bears, can definitely make some noise as I go along

  5. This looks like such an amazing hike with some gorgeous views! I’d love to hike up to that fire lookout and just gaze out over the valley.

    1. It’s pretty good for views isn’t it!? You can’t really tell from my photos, but the river cut out a valley in a giant U shape all the way around the mountain. That is why it is so open.

    1. It’s super clear to the first viewpoint (where those benches are…) after that it was slightly less clear, but easy enough to work out.

  6. Omg love this guide and these pictures are so beautiful – the views look like paintings. I’m glad you didn’t see bears but I have to admit, as a British person whose homeland’s most deadly animal is a BADGER haha I was worried when you said ‘bring bear spray’.

    1. Don’t worry, I totally understand! I’m from the UK originally, so the idea of bears on hikes used to scare the bejeezus out of me! We have seen a few on the trails, but normally if you make lots of noise, you won’t see them.

    1. Thaaaank you! Yeah we got so lucky (it was raining the entire time back in Vancouver!) The area near Lillooet is a bit drier than the Coastal mountains, but still changeable.

  7. Another beautiful hike! You find the prettiest views. I would love to explore and hike up to the fire lookout on Camelshoof Peak.

  8. Oh that looks like a ton of fun! We have the Canyon to Alpine guidebook and really need to make more use of it. All your Lillooet posts are definitely making me want to go explore the area some more.

    1. We bought that book too (it was for sale in the winery!!) Lots of the trails sound like they need 4×4, but now I’ve seen how gorgeous the area is, we’ll have to spend more time there.

      It is such a great area in the autumn when it’s not *too* hot!

  9. This hike looks incredible! The fire lookout is awesome, but so was that bench perched on the edge of the cliff. Incredible views that I could look at for hours!

    1. That bench really is in a great spot! It made me wonder if this is a popular trail normally (we didn’t see a single person when we visited…)

  10. Fabulous views on this one. I like the story of the camels. Sometimes I’d like a camel to haul my gear up with me. But you probably can’t find any around there anymore. Love the land acknowledgment, thanks.

    1. I liked the sound of a camel hauling up our gear until I heard they bite, spit and terrorize everyone. 😀

  11. I love that you included a land acknowledgement! The view from inside the fire lookout is absolutely incredible.

    1. Thanks Susan,
      It made sense to include it – we saw signs about each community as we drove through, so I wanted to learn more.

  12. We have not yet made it to Lillooet in BC. But for when we finally get it on our travel plans it is great to read about the hike to Camelshoof Peak. I would love to do the more technical hike for that great view. But I would be happy with the easier hike – to start! Something to plan for sure.

    1. True – the easy hike would work well if you want a shorter hike as part of a road trip. That view was still gorgeous. 🙂

      I hope you guys like it when you make it to Lillooet!

  13. Those views are incredible – I can see why you love the area. Also, the fact that you didn’t see any other hikers is pretty incredible. That rarely happens where I live unless I go off trail. Beautiful photos too!

    1. It’s the same closer to Vancouver – that is why we were so surprised to have an empty trail! It’s mad that you can reach such good views for a relatively easy hike.

  14. What awesome views! 4 hours is normally a longer hike than I would embark on, but the views from Fire Lookout on Camelshoof Peak are so stunning that I think I would definitely do it!

  15. Another great hike! We are looking for somewhere to hike on our 5th anniversary end of May, this might be a top contender. I love the views and the option for the shorter easier hike, or the more intense one for the views!

    1. Oooh nice! I have a feeling there will be snow at that height still in May, but it would be gorgeous if you are okay hiking on snow/with spikes.

      I can help you brain storm if you need something closer to the city…

  16. Ooo, I’m loving those 360° views for sure! I’m all for tranquil/peaceful hikes but deeffffffinitely a good tip to make a whole lot of noise in this (and other bear-filled cases)! That bench is definitely perfectly situated — I ilke that you had it to yourselves (my favorite type of hike! 😛 )!

    1. Oooh interesting! I imagine the mountains in Peru are much higher…so it is pretty cool to think of these as mini versions of Peruvian scenes!

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