Likely, California

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Location of Likely in Modoc County, California.
Location of Likely in Modoc County, California.
Likely is located in California
Location in California
Coordinates: 41°13′50″N 120°30′15″W / 41.23056°N 120.50417°W / 41.23056; -120.50417Coordinates: 41°13′50″N 120°30′15″W / 41.23056°N 120.50417°W / 41.23056; -120.50417
Country United States
State California
 • Total1.334 sq mi (3.454 km2)
 • Land1.329 sq mi (3.442 km2)
 • Water0.005 sq mi (0.012 km2)  0.34%
Elevation4,449 ft (1,356 m)
 • Total58
 • Density43/sq mi (17/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code530
FIPS code06-41390
GNIS feature IDs262452; 2583057
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Likely, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Likely, California

Likely (formerly, South Fork)[3] is a census-designated place[4] in Modoc County, California.[2] It is located near the South Fork of the Pit River, 18 miles (29 km) south of the county seat of Alturas,[3] at an elevation of 4,449 feet (1,356 m).[2] Its population is 53 as of the 2020 census, down from 63 at the time of the 2010 census. Located 6 miles (9.7 km) north-northwest of Likely Mountain, it is somewhat sheltered from prevailing southwesterly winds, and its microclimate is noticeably drier and less stormy than surrounding areas. The ZIP Code for the community is 96116.[5]


Likely lies on the south side of the South Fork of the Pit River, in the south end of South Fork Valley, in the northeastern corner of California at 41°13′50″N 120°30′15″W / 41.23056°N 120.50417°W / 41.23056; -120.50417.[2] Fragments of the southern edge of the Modoc Plateau surround Likely on most sides.[6]


Likely now occupies what was originally an Achumawi (Pit River) village known as Hamawe or Hammawi.[7]: 47  The town was initially known as South Fork, named after the South Fork of the Pit River, and was renamed at the insistence of the United States Post Office, which insisted at that time that Post Offices could only have short, unique names.[8][9] Residents were unable to agree what to name their town until a local rancher observed that they would most likely never agree upon a name, at which point someone nominated the name, "Likely", and the name was voted in.[7]: 93  The South Fork post office operated from 1878 to 1882.[3] The Likely post office opened in 1886.[3]

One of the last of the American Indian Wars was fought at Infernal Caverns, a short distance from Likely.

A 1913 book described Likely as having a population of 75, and situated along the main automobile route from Madeline to Bayley.[10]

The Likely Peat Moss Company, Radel Inc. operated in Likely until 1987 when the non-renewing supply of high quality hypnum peat moss in nearby Jess Valley was depleted. The peat moss was strip-mined from the floor of Jess Valley and trucked 13 miles to Likely on the winding canyon road paralleling South Fork Pit River between Likely and Ivy, California. The peat moss was processed and packaged and then shipped by both truck and by Southern Pacific Railroad until rail services to Likely were discontinued. The company, Radel, was dissolved in 1987 upon the owner's retirement.[7]: 139 [11]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 1.3 square miles (3.5 km2), with 99.66% land, and 0.34% water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

The 2010 United States Census[13] reported that Likely had a population of 63. The population density was 47.2 inhabitants per square mile (18.2/km2). The racial makeup of Likely was 57 (90.5%) White, 0 (0.0%) African American, 5 (7.9%) Native American, 0 (0.0%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 0 (0.0%) from other races, and 1 (1.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6 persons (9.5%).

The Census reported that 63 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 34 households, out of which 4 (11.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17 (50.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3 (8.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1 (2.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1 (2.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 0 (0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 11 households (32.4%) were made up of individuals, and 8 (23.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.85. There were 21 families (61.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.29.

The population was spread out, with 5 people (7.9%) under the age of 18, 2 people (3.2%) aged 18 to 24, 7 people (11.1%) aged 25 to 44, 24 people (38.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 25 people (39.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 59.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.

There were 46 housing units at an average density of 34.5 per square mile (13.3/km2), of which 29 (85.3%) were owner-occupied, and 5 (14.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0%; the rental vacancy rate was 37.5%. 55 people (87.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 8 people (12.7%) lived in rental housing units.


In the state legislature, Likely is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle,[14] and the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Megan Dahle.[15]

Federally, Likely is in California's 1st congressional district, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa.[16]


The primary industries of Likely and its surroundings are currently ranching and tourism. A long-running joke among residents is that the Gross National Product of this part of Modoc County is your choice of: rocks, junipers, or sagebrush.

Local, State, Federal, and Tribal governments are the largest employers in Modoc. Timber and peat moss industries collapsed in the 1980s due to increased costs and loss of railroad infrastructure.

The Likely Airport 9CL3, about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of town, is privately owned.

Internet access in Likely is limited to dial-up service, provided by High Desert Online and Frontier Communications.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Census Archived 2012-07-02 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Likely, California
  3. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 393. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Likely, California
  5. ^ United States Postal Service ZIP Code look up Archived 2010-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Likely, California". Wikimapia. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  7. ^ a b c Pease, Robert W. (1965). Modoc County : a geographic time continuum on the California volcanic tableland. University of California Publications in Geography. Vol. 17. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, USA: University of California Press. OCLC 220793307.
  8. ^ Gudde, Erwin Gustav; Bright, William (1998). California place names : the origin and etymology of current geographical names. University of California Press. pp. 177–178. ISBN 9780520266193. OCLC 697737793. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  9. ^ Historian (August 2008). "Earliest Instructions Regarding Names". What's in a (Post Office) Name? (PDF). United States Postal Service. p. 2. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  10. ^ Drury, Wells; Aubrey Drury (1913). California tourist guide and handbook: authentic description of routes of travel and points of interest in California. Western guidebook company. p. 248. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  11. ^ Milo Pepperdine, statements made at meetings of Likely Volunteer Fire Department, about 1987-1991.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  13. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Likely CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  15. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  16. ^ "California's 1st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 3, 2013.

External links[edit]