Clinton emerged during the gold rush in the 1860's and served as a roadhouse on the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail for weary gold seekers to stop and rest. After the discovery of gold in the Cariboo Region, Royal Engineers were commissioned to construct a road through the Fraser Canyon to the Cariboo to join the already existing wagon road from Lillooet to 47 Mile. The junction was 47 miles from Lillooet and thus 47 Mile was the name used. In 1863, 47 Mile was officially renamed Clinton by Queen Victoria in honor of Lord Henry Pelham Clinton, the Colonial Secretary of the day.
When the gold rush was over, ranching took over as the dominant industry and helped fuel the growth of Clinton. Initially the railway served the ranching industry but in the 1930s and 1940s, it served the soda works operating on local lakes and limestone operations in the area.
During the 1950s the forestry industry become the basis for the economy. Throughout this period there were over twenty bush and saw mills operating in Clinton and the surrounding area. Major consolidation in the 1970s has left only one in operation today.
The population of Clinton has remained stable and has slowly increased since the mid 1970s. The community is a major retail and service centre for the surrounding ranches and accommodation enterprises, as well as a popular tourist stop for traffic along the Cariboo Highway.
Clinton is located 40 km (25 mi) north of the Trans Canada Hwy 1 and Cariboo Hwy 97 junction, 33 km (20 mi) northwest of Cache Creek, 119 km (72 mi) northwest of Kamloops and 231 km (140 mi) north of Hope. It is the midway point between Vancouver and Prince George.
The Clinton Museum is an excellent way to learn more about the town's rich history. The building that houses the museum dates back to 1892 and was originally the village school. The museum boasts a vast collection of antiques, photos and historical photos that will take the visitor back to days past. In 1999 the museum acquired the original 1911 Government Stables building. This old structure houses several vintage buggies, wagons and machinery that visitors can experience.
Reg Conn Centennial Park is situated in the Village of Clinton and is an especially good place for families to stop so the kids can enjoy the playground equipment. There are picnic tables and washrooms available for visitors situated on 5 acres of lawn and trees.
Chasm Provincial Park is located between Clinton and 70 Mile House, off Hwy 97. At the end of the ice age, water from the melting glaciers carried so much silt that it carved the 8-km long, 600-metre wide, and 300-metre deep bedrock box-canyon. Layers of volcanic lava can be distinguished in the steep canyon walls. The rich ecosystem supports plentiful wildlife; moose, black bear, aquatic mammals and water birds are all frequently viewed. This is a great place to spend an afternoon sightseeing and hiking.
Situated in close proximity to Clinton is Lime Mountain. The hang-gliding conditions here are said to be amongst the best in North America. Hang-Glider clubs throughout British Columbia meet regularly in Clinton to take advantage of these excellent conditions during the spring and summer months.
Situated only 3 km (2 mi) West of Clinton is the Limestone Quarry. Fossils of ancient plant life are easily found here and rock enthusiasts flock to this spot. This is a great place to spend an afternoon hunting for prehistoric trinkets!
The Marble Range Mountains are located northwest of Clinton. This vast range presents a welcome challenge for mountain climbing enthusiasts. The mountains feature caves, cliffs and disappearing streams. Many of the trails are popular with hikers, hunters and horseback riders.
Stroll down Clinton's Main Street and go back in time to the days of the Wild West! Many of the original store fronts remain, which help to convey the sense of western atmosphere and character that Clinton is famous for.
Clinton is known as the Guest Ranch capital of BC. The surrounding area is home to eight guest ranches that visitors can discover. Each of these ranches offers guests the opportunity to experience working on a ranch or engage in activities such as horseback riding. Enjoy the wide-open rangelands and mountain meadows of the Cariboo Cattle Country.
The many lakes surrounding Clinton offer fabulous fishing and beautiful scenery. The numerous lakes are home to various species of trout including Kokanne, Rainbow and Eatern Brook.
Clinton is home to an abundance of wildlife including, big horn sheep, moose, mule deer, bears and cougars. For wildlife enthusiasts Clinton is an excellent place to come and view such magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
Held during the Victoria long weekend in May, Clinton goes western and celebrates its gold rush past, beginning with a fancy dress Clinton Ball (held annually since 1868), and continuing with a parade, the May Ball Rodeo, Dinner & Dance, and the Old Timers' Tea Party. The Clinton Museum has an open house inviting visitors to peruse its extensive archive and photograph collection.
Village of Clinton
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia