Cariboo Hwy, Gold Rush Trail, Clinton, Photo Destination BC Michael Bednar
Clinton is the gateway to the Cariboo. The town’s Main Street showcases the days of the Wild West. Many of the original storefronts remain, which help to convey the sense of western atmosphere and character that Clinton is famous for. It is also known for horseback riding and rodeos. Visitors can enjoy the wide-open rangelands and mountain meadows of the Cariboo Cattle Country. Hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities are also popular here. Chasm Provincial Park just north of Clinton has an amazing 8-km long, 600-metre wide, and 300-metre deep bedrock box-canyon created at the end of the ice age when waters from the melting glaciers carried so much silt that it carved the 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.
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.
Clinton emerged during the gold rush in the 1860s 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 sawmills 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.