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Home / Thompson Okanagan / Gold Country / Cache Creek

Cache Creek

History

The name Cache Creek goes back to the fur trade era when the inhabitants of the BC Interior were the Indians and the occasional fur trader. It is thought that cache came from the storage or cache used by fur traders to store furs, fish and supplies. Such caches were commonly used by both Indians and white traders. 

Cache Creek was of little importance during the early years of the gold rush, however farmers and ranchers began to settle in the region. 

The building of the road brought about Cache Creek's first hotel or stopping house in 1863 or 1864. It was built by James Orr at Rattlesnake Hill about a mile below the bridge over the creek. In 1865, Semlin and Parke bought him out, moved the hotel to Cache Creek proper, and renamed it Bonaparte House.

Charles A. Semlin arrived in B.C. from Ontario in 1862, and in 1864 he was working for the Cornwall brothers. He ran the Bonaparte House from 1865 to 1968 with Philip Parke, who had also worked for the Cornwalls. At that time, Parke sold his interest to Sandford and started ranching near Hat Creek. The Parke family still operates this ranch today, which includes Donald McLeans' original ranch and roadhouse.

Charles Semlin gave up his part of the hotel in 1870 when he purchased James Campbell's Bonaparte Ranch just east of Cache Creek. The Semlin Ranch became a well-known establishment in B.C., especially after Charles Semlin turned to politics. First elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1872, he served the Yale riding continuously to 1900. In 1882, he became leader of the opposition and finally served as Premier of B.C. from 1898 to 1900. 

Cache Creek became an important station on the Cariboo Road because of a short-lived gold rush on the Big Bend of the Columbia River in 1866. To facilitate access into the region, a wagon road was built from Cache Creek to Savona's Ferry on Kamloops Lake. From there, miners could take a paddle wheeler to Seymour Arm of Shuswap Lake, then overland to the Columbia River. From then on, Cache Creek was the place that passengers and mail transferred to the stage for Kamloops and the Okanagan.

By the 1870's, the interior was beginning to fill up with settlers and the provincial government became concerned over education for the children. A report in 1871 recommended that a boarding school for the district be built at Kamloops. However, Charles Semlin's political influence secured this school for Cache Creek, his own home. As more schools opened in the interior, the enrollment dwindled until the school was finally closed in 1890. 

Cache Creek remained an important station on the Cariboo Road through the 1870's and most of the 1880's. In 1871, the survey party of the Canadian Pacific Railway passed through Cache Creek however, the railway was eventually to reduce the town to relative unimportance after Ashcroft was chosen as the railhead for the Cariboo Road in 1885. Cache Creek as a town had to wait for the era of mass automobile traffic after World War II.

Location

Cache Creek is located at the Junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Cariboo Highway 97 11 km (7 mi) north of Ashcroft, 83 km (52 mi) west of Kamloops and 115 km (71 mi) north of Merritt.

Places to See
  • Juniper Beach Provincial Park

Juniper Beach was established as a Provincial Park in 1989. The park protects a representative desert landscape which contains sagebrush, prickly pear cacti, and of course, juniper. Part of the landscape includes deep post-glacial deposits and large scale erosion features. It is a convenient overnight camping spot for travelers on Hwy #1 and provides access to the Thompson River. Both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian railway tracks run by the park and provide an attraction to train-buffs. This park is also a popular base camp for visitors enjoying boating, fishing, photography and touring historic Hat Creek Ranch and Ashcroft Manor, both nearby.

  • Bonaparte Bend Winery

Nestled on the Bonaparte River, this local winery prides itself in producing only 100% BC-grown fruit wines, purely natural. 

  • Historic Hat Creek Ranch

Historic Hat Creek Ranch offers a rare opportunity to explore the original buildings of a key location in the transportation history of the Cariboo. The site also presents the story of early use of the valley by people of the Shuswap Nation and Cache Creek - Historic Hat Creek Ranch - Wendy Coombertheir more recent contributions to the growth of the ranching industry. Here in the dry rainshadow climate, east of the Coast Range mountains, a unique blend of cultures has evolved in a landscape of sage, bunchgrass and Ponderosa pines. Come and experience one of the most distinctive heritage sites in British Columbia.

  • Horsting's Farm

Horsting's Farm is a family owned and operated, fully operational produce farm market spanning over 80 acres near Cache Creek. Visit the country market, filled with the aroma of fresh-baked bread, fruit pies, home-made baking and a delectable soup, sandwich and ice cream bar! Sit and enjoy lunch and watch as the fruits and vegetables are hauled in early in the morning for washing, ready for your dinner table that evening!

Things to Do
  • Fishing

Fishing is popular on the Thompson River. Among the best of the area lakes is Loon Lake, a long, narrow lake that contains rainbow, kokanee, and steelhead trout. Boat launch facilities are located at Barnes Lake, Loon Lake, and Pavillion Lake. There are few fishing runs as legendary - or as threatened - as the steelhead run on the Thompson River, and one of the main tributaries, the Nicola.

  • Hiking

There are lots of trails for visitors to explore Gold Country.

  • Fossil Hunting

Located just 13 km (8 mi) east of Cache Creek are the famous McAbee Fossil Beds. Dating back over 50 million years, the fossil beds contain over 80 plant species, innumerable insect species, feathers, crayfish, and fish samples. McAbee staff will provide the proper tooling and ensure a safe journey to the digging site.

  • Golfing

The Semlin Valley Golf Course is a scenic nine-hole course that sits atop the sage covered hills on the eastern corner of Cache Creek, displaying panoramic views of three different valleys.

Nearby Communities
Contact Information

Village of Cache Creek
Webpage: www.cachecreekvillage.com/

The Cache Creek Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 460
Cache Creek, B.C. V0K 1H0
Tel: (250) 457-9668
Fax (250) 457-9669
E-mail: jade@coppervalley.bc.ca

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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