Mount Begbie Fire Lookout

Mount Begbie Fire Lookout

Sometimes you don’t actually need to climb a mountain to make it up a mountain! Mount Begbie Fire Lookout is a knob right next to the Cariboo Highway south of 100 Mile House. This lookout is 1276m up, but it is only about 50m higher than the car park. It only takes a 5 minute walk to make it up to fabulous Cariboo Views! It’s a great stop off when driving North in BC, Canada.

Mount Begbie Fire Lookout map

Mount Begbie Lookout – the basics

Distance: 0.8 km 
Elevation gain
: About 50m
Time: 5-10 mins to the top
What to bring:
You don’t really need anything. It is so short!
Facilities: There are toilets and picnic benches.
Dogs: Great for doggos.
How hard is it? Super easy

There are two ways up to the fire lookout. You can follow the steep rocky trail that wiggles right up the knob if you feel like being slightly epic. Or, there is an easier service road right to the base of the Fire Lookout building.

The Fire Lookout

I loved seeing the Mount Begbie Fire Lookout building from below. It makes it look like you’re on an epic, cliff-hanging type trail!

History of Mount Begbie Fire Lookout

There has been a fire lookout here since 1923. The current tower was built in the 1970s. When the tower was in use, it was staffed with an observer during the fire season. It was named after the famous Judge, Sir Matthew Begbie. He was the first judge in BC (arrived in 1858) and was famous for hanging lots of lawbreakers during the Cariboo Gold Rush here in BC.

I really loved that the building has been decorated with the local flora and fauna. We could see bald eagles swooshing above us, and one is painted on the side of the building.

There is a veranda all around the lookout. You can see why this was such a great spot for spotting fires. You can see the entire Cariboo region.

Or, if it is windy, you can relax inside to see all the views.

This is one of 11 other towers in the area. In the early days people built steps up trees or wooden towers. They then started to set up canvas tents and slowly created more impressive shelters.

Are Fire Lookouts still in use?

Nowadays BC uses aerial patrols and cameras so these fabulous locations are no longer manned. However lots of them have been restored. This lookout officially became a recreation site in 2011.

Anyway, Mount Begbie Fire Lookout is a fantastic place to stop as you drive along the Cariboo Highway (BC 97.) It won’t take you long to hike up and the incredible views are way better than you’d expect for such an easy stop-off.

Other BC Fire Lookouts

You may not find another Fire Lookout that is quite this easy to reach, but there are plenty of others you can hike to in BC. Here are 4 that I’ve written about:

Have you ever hiked up to a Fire Lookout? Or do you know any other good ones I should hike to in BC? They do tend to have the very best views in each region…

23 thoughts on “Mount Begbie Fire Lookout

  1. No, I haven’t, but I would like to do that. It looks like a fun thing to do. And I love how peaceful it is around there 😍

  2. The view from the Mount Begbie lookout looks lovely especially in the snow, and stretching your legs on a short walk is always good!

  3. So neat that you were able to go inside the firewatch tower! I’ve only ever seen one fire lookout, but I am sure they typically have some of the best views!

    1. Right? I always love it when you can go inside. The coolest one is in Manning Park (Windy Joes) There still have all the cool equipment in there!

  4. I love gems like this – little effort for incredible views! It’s nice that there’s a service road to make it a bit more accessible. Can people camp in this fire lookout? Is that allowed? I bet the sunrise and sunsets would be incredible!

    1. I don’t think you are meant to (it’s a recreation site, but not a campsite) but I would not be surprised if people tried!

      It’s so close to the highway that I don’t think I would. I’m not a fan of vehicle noise when we look for campsites.

  5. I’m such a fan of these old fire towers. It’s even better when you can climb up to see the views of the surrounding area. This looks like a low effort hike for an awesome view.

    1. Are there lots of fire towers over on your side of Canada too? We don’t have them in the UK, so I didn’t know they were a thing until after we moved here!

      1. We have quite a few old fire towers in Ontario. One of my favourites is the Temagami Fire Tower up in Northern Ontario. It’s quite the climb to the top, but the views are outstanding.

        1. Oooh I just googled it- what a cool tower! You must be able to see for miles!! I guess here they cheat and just located them on the top of hills/mountains!!

  6. We should definitely plan to visit the Mount Begbie Fire Lookout. The fabulous views from the veranda would be worth a walk up for the view across the Cariboo region. Good to know there are two ways to go up and down to the lookout.

  7. I always thought it would be so cool to work at a fire lookout. I know the one at Desolation Peak in Washington is still manned, and I follow a guy on Instagram called mountainmansion who works at one in Canada. He’s a musician and he records his albums from the fire lookout! Pretty cool idea. To be able to not only live in the wilderness but also get paid to do it is a dream. I’m not sure if I’d want to be at one that has a lot of visitors, or if I’d want to be at one where I don’t see another soul for months at a time. Both would have their pros and cons. Maybe something in the middle. At Desolation Peak I bet that guy can go for stretches without seeing people, but then the people he does see are cool hiker types, and he can come out and share his stories about the area to an interested crowd.

  8. That does sound like a great opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy the views! I have hiked to couple fire lookouts, but none in Canada! I would love to visit BC sometime soon!

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