Region & HistoryAmidst the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains lays a spectacular region full of natural beauty, history, culture and endless adventures. Discovered during the Gold Rush a century and a half ago, British Columbia's Cariboo region offers fortunate visitors a true Canadian 'Wild West' experience.
For the untamed cowboy, the avid angler and the outdoor adventurer, the Cariboo is a place to roam free.
It's a land born of dreams... dreams of discovery, yellow dust and instant riches. In 1862, Billy Barker found gold on Williams Creek, a discovery that started a rush of adventurers from around the world. Between 1862 and 1870, over 10,000 people traversed the Cariboo Wagon Road. From Lillooet to Barkerville, they travelled north and towns sprung in their wake.
The rush for gold soon waned, but not the trek of discovery into the Cariboo. People from all over the world still venture here following the footsteps of the expeditions that went before. It is still a land of golden dreams with summer images of green, rolling pastures where horses graze, natural hay meadows filled in spring with wildflowers, and autumn's lazy light upon the golden leaves of trembling aspen and willow brush.
A journey to the Cariboo and Siwash Lake Ranch follows routes hewn from rugged wilderness by those who went before. The ranch is located 32 km (20 miles) east of 70 Mile House, which is directly on the historic Gold Rush Trail. Lillooet is "mile 0" and there were many stage coach stops and road houses along the route up to the gold fields near Barkerville. 70 Mile House is literally 70 miles along the old trail from Lillooet. The original roadhouse has since burned down, and all that exists at 70 Mile House today is a general store, pub and small motel.
The word Siwash is pronounced "Sigh wash", and is a word derived from the Chinook Jargon, a bridge language that evolved between Native, English and French pioneers during the Gold Rush. The original settler homesteaded at Siwash Lake at the turn of the 19th century. All he constructed at the time was a small trapper's cabin, and from then until 1997, when the home ranch was carved out of the wilderness by modern day pioneers — its current owners, the Rogers-Grinder Family — the land remained untouched for wildlife and cattle to roam.
Their vision was to create an authentic, 'old west' ranch that would be in complete harmony with the wilderness surrounding it, and to share the wonders of it all with like-minded people from all around the world. Today, the place is a working ranch and exclusive hideaway that is surrounded by 80,000 acres of pristine wilderness, still home to an abundance of wildlife that thrives on its bounty of grasslands, forests, lakes, and rivers.
This page was written with assistance from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association www.landwithoutlimits.com