Likely (formerly, South Fork) is an unincorporated community in Modoc County, California. It is located near the South Fork of the Pit River 18 miles (29 km) south of the county seat of Alturas, at an elevation of 4449 feet (1356 m).
The ZIP Code for the community is 96116.
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 . Fragments of the southern edge of the Modoc Plateau surround Likely on most sides.
Likely now occupies what was originally an Achumawi (Pit River) village known as Hamawe. 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 one-word names. The South Fork post office operated from 1878 to 1882. The Likely post office opened in 1886.
The Likely Peat Moss Company claimed that Likely was the Peat Moss capital of the United States until 1987, when Likely first lost the services of Southern Pacific Railroad, because shipping by rail was much less expensive than by truck. The company's largest clients insisted upon shipping by rail, and when they discovered that the reason why their train cars, loaded with Peat, never arrived was that they were still sitting on the siding in Likely, and that Southern Pacific had no intention of picking them up, they understandably took their business elsewhere.
In the state legislature Likely is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Likely is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican John Doolittle.
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, about 3 miles west of town, is privately owned.