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Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones

Douglas Lake

Douglas Lake Ranch is located just east of Merritt in the Thompson Okanagan‘s Gold Country. The ranch is Canada’s largest working cattle ranch and has two of North America’s top lakes for producing rainbow trout. The lakes are rich with fighting Kamloops Rainbow Trout weighing up to ten pounds. Established in 1884, Douglas Lake Ranch provides a well-established tour program for both independent travelers and organized bus excursion groups. Douglas Lake Ranch is rich in history and tradition, and the tours are designed for guests who wish to explore the operation and share a view of the lifestyle and heritage. All of the tours begin at the Home Ranch and feature the company town, general store, calving barn, quarter horse barn, feedlot, and silage storing area.

Location

Douglas Lake Ranch is located 51 km (32 mi) east of Merritt and 93 km (58 mi) south of Kamloops via Highways 5, 5A and Douglas Lake Road.

A Step Back in Time

The history of Douglas Lake Ranch spans a period of some 120 years, dating back to the mid-1880s. In fact, Douglas Lake Ranch itself traces its name back to 1872 when John Douglas Sr. homesteaded his first 320 acres (130 hectares) along its shore.

In 1884, John Douglas Sr. sold this property to Charles Beak, who, along with Joseph Greaves, Charles Thomson, and William Ward, founded Douglas Lake Cattle Company on June 30, 1886; a date which coincided with the first transcontinental train trip of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Charles Beak was a cattle rancher who had already amassed some 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) in the Nicola Valley, whereas Greaves, Thomson, and Ward were members of a cattle syndicate that purchased cattle with a view to obtaining the Canadian Pacific Railway beef contract. In 1892 Charles Beak sold his interest to the remaining shareholders. Greaves and Thomson both remained until 1910, when Ward purchased their interest. By this time, the Ranch had grown to over 110,000 deeded acres (44,000 hectares), establishing it as the pre-eminent ranch in Canada.

The Ranch remained under the ownership and management of successive members of the Ward family until the family sold to Colonel Victor Spencer and William Studdert in 1950. However, during the period to April 1951, Frank Ross (later to become Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia) joined Spencer and Studdert as a third owner. Studdert subsequently sold to Spencer and Ross. By then, the deeded acres had increased to over 145,000 acres (58,000 hectares). In 1959, Spencer and Ross sold Douglas Lake Ranch to Charles (Chunky) Woodward and John West. West’s ownership continued until his death in 1968 at which time Woodward became the sole owner.

In July of 1998 the Woodward family sold to Bernard J. Ebbers, a Canadian born resident of Jackson, Mississippi, who then sold the ranch in 2003.

The present owner, Stan Kroenke, is a Missouri and Colorado based businessman with a commercial real estate and sports based business. He also has other ranches in Montana and Wyoming.

Life at the Ranch fosters teamwork between management and some 75 full and part time employees. This has created a strong culture and considerable employee loyalty. The employees value their way of life far more than the financial rewards. In fact, Douglas Lake has a history of employees who have spent their entire working careers at the Ranch and seldom found the need to leave its boundaries.

Contact Information

Douglas Lake Ranch

Douglas Lake & Nearby Accommodations

14 Listings

The Douglas Lake Ranch / Salmon Lake Resort / Stoney Lake Lodge & Quilchena Golf Course RV Park

The Douglas Lake Ranch / Salmon Lake Resort / Stoney Lake Lodge & Quilchena Golf Course RV Park

Douglas Lake

Resting on the beautiful shores of Salmon Lake, our resort is the perfect family getaway. Enjoy fantastic fishing for Rainbow Trout, swim in our outdoor heated pool or hike along the scenic trails nearby. With various accommodations to choose from, including lakefront cottages, campground and RV Par ... Read more
Quilchena on the Lake Golf & RV Park

Quilchena on the Lake Golf & RV Park

Quilchena

Visit Quilchena on the Lake Golf and RV Park for a relaxed golfing and recreational camping experience. The well-tended greens of the golf course and RV park feature nine holes and full facilities. ... Read more
Wildlings Resort

Wildlings Resort

Logan Lake

Come enjoy lakefront views in our cozy, rustic cabins at Surrey Lake! Experience off-grid living while enjoying everything nature has to offer. Bring your snowmobiles and bikes, hike on endless trails, swim or fish on the lake and hunt the land. Get outside let your inner Wildling out! ... Read more
Moon Shadows RV Park & Campground

Moon Shadows RV Park & Campground

Merritt

Moon Shadows is located south of Merritt along the spectacular Coldwater River. Enjoy this year round, brand new campground hosting a variety of secure and immaculate campsites and facilities. Moon Shadows has everything....natural beauty, sun and shade, relaxation and friends. Come and visit us. ... Read more
Claybanks RV Park & Campground

Claybanks RV Park & Campground

Merritt

Large grassy sites, flowers galore, along Coldwater River. Gift shop with local art, crafts and snacks. Clean heated washrooms, free showers. Easy walk to downtown core with many amenities; shopping, restaurants, aquatic center, playgrounds, water park, museum, 9-hole golf course. We have golf disco ... Read more
Mile High Resort

Mile High Resort

Logan Lake

Enjoy a piece of paradise at Mile High Resort! Surrounded by pristine forests with breathtaking lake views, our resort is a tranquil oasis for guests to escape their busy lives. We have 14 cabins, eight are deluxe and six are heritage styles. Our cabins offer guests privacy and comfortable beds for ... Read more
Logan Lake Municipal Campground

Logan Lake Municipal Campground

Logan Lake

In alignment with the BC provincial restart plan, at this time we are unable to host campers who reside outside of the province of BC. Any reservations found to be made by non-BC residents may be subject to immediate cancellation without refund. Additionally, you may be refused service upon arrival ... Read more
Tunkwa Lake Resort

Tunkwa Lake Resort

Logan Lake

Tunkwa Lake Resort is a premier family vacation destination that has fantastic fishing and hunting for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated on the shores of Tunkwa Lake, our resort is in the southern interior Thompson Nicola region, which is a short drive from Kamloops and Logan Lake, and a three and half ... Read more
Coquihalla Lakes Lodge

Coquihalla Lakes Lodge

Merritt

Welcome to an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise! Nestled in the Cascade Mountains on eight acres of lush forest, Coquihalla Lakes Lodge offers self-contained lakeside cabins with spectacular views of Coquihalla Lakes. Bring your ATV, UTV or dirt bike and explore the pristine lands of Coquihalla Summit ... Read more
Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins

Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins

Spences Bridge

Located in the historic community of Spences Bridge, Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins is situated on a lush setting overlooking the famous Thompson River. Our well-appointed duplex and triplex cabins are self-contained with air conditioning, fully-equipped kitchens, two or three beds, and picnic tables ... Read more
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Travel Spotlight
Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989