Cariboo Road Ranches

With the completion of the Cariboo Road to Barkerville in 1865, all other trails to the Cariboo goldfields fell into disuse, except for local traffic. All along the road, ranches were established to take advantage of the traffic from freighting and staging.

A photograph of 108 Mile House on the Cariboo Road. Click to enlarge,
image opens in a new window

108 Mile House on the Cariboo Road. E-02793 – Courtesy of Royal British Columbia Museum

These early "mile houses" were virtually self-sufficient, producing their own crops and livestock and providing accommodation to travellers. The individual ranches were strung like beads along a few roads and trails. Because of the transitory nature of the population and the vagaries of the gold rush economy, most of these ranches changed hands several times during the 1860s, but continued to play an important part in the local economy. Road and trail traffic dictated that ranches along the main routes had the most potential to survive, however, the pattern of settlement along the routes was not uniform. More typically, ranches were grouped around the best grazing and watering places.

A photograph of 126 Mile House on the Cariboo Road.Click to enlarge,
image opens in a new window

126 Mile House on the Cariboo Road - Courtesy of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin

Interested?

Click below to explore further

View O’Keefe Images Listen to cowboy poetry