The Cariboo Mountains are the northernmost subrange of the Columbia Mountains, which run down into the Spokane area of the United States and include the Selkirks, Monashees and Purcells. The Cariboo Mountains are entirely within the province of British Columbia, Canada. The range is 3,000 square miles in area.

Unlike the other three major subranges of the Columbia Mountains, the Cariboo Mountains have almost no contact with the Columbia River or its tributaries, but are entirely bounded by the Fraser and its tributary, the North Thompson River (there is a small exception in the Canoe River, which runs into the Rocky Mountain Trench from the eastern end of the range. The Canoe River is on the north side of Albreda Pass, which is the divide between the North Thompson and the Rocky Mountain Trench.