Maiden Creek Hill ‘perfect view’ of Cariboo Wagon Road

A bare, switchback road climbs steeply on the right. This is the Maiden Creek Hill.

Travellers on Highway 97 are told they are on the famed Gold Rush Trail. The old trail is visible now and then when a cut bank can be seen across the small valley north of Hat Creek Ranch, or there are glimpses of well-worn ruts at the edge of a field along the San Jose River, north of Lake La Hache.

One of the most obvious and perfect views of the old Cariboo Wagon Road rises up almost directly in front of vehicles as they drive on Highway 97, about 38 kilometres south of Clinton, just before the Loon Lake turnoff. A bare, switchback road climbs steeply on the right. This is the Maiden Creek Hill.

Generally, homesteaders were heading north. When they arrived at Maiden Creek Hill they were faced with the same steep climb as can be seen on the north side. The following are first-hand experiences with one of the more difficult challenges on the Cariboo Wagon Road.

In March of 1914, Ed Higgins, his wife Irene and three children arrived in a wagon at the Maiden Creek Hill after spending the night at Hat Creek Ranch. They had left their town in Oregon to homestead near Bridge Lake.

READ MORE: Historic Cariboo Wagon Road Restoration Project receives first phase funding

Higgins realized it would take all of their strength to climb the hill. His daughter Velma was five years old at the time. She and her mother walked to lighten the load. Velma was told to walk ahead, pick up any rocks she could find and place them along the road where her father could grab them. He would shove them behind the wheels to act as brakes to keep the wagon from slipping, or whenever the struggling horses needed a rest. Velma’s sister Noveta said later that her mother would talk about how dreadful it was to get down the even steeper hill on the north side.

In April of 1925, Everett Greenlee and his family arrived at the Maiden Creek Hill in a covered wagon after several weeks on the road from Washington. They were heading to a homestead at Canim Lake. Vivian (Toody) was five years old.

“Although I was young, I remember so well something that happened. We were coming up on Maiden Creek Hill at the turn-off to Loon Lake. That hill was an awful hard climb for the horses. You can still see it today from the highway.

“The Doughertys lived there across from the bottom of the hill. They had three daughters, a bit older than my sisters. Those girls came flying out of the ranch house just as we were heading up the hill. We had a fairly heavy load and just the one team to pull it. Those girls grabbed on the back of our wagon and dragged their feet and I thought, ‘oh, our poor horses!’ It was such a sharp climb! I imagine father had to stop often to wind the horses as they’d be out of breath. And he’d have to put something behind the wheels to hold them.”

As you are travelling south from Clinton, watch for Maiden Creek Hill, where hundreds of homesteaders, teamsters and trade wagons, gold seekers and even camels for brief time, struggled to get up and over a true obstacle on the Gold Rush Trail.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erica Henderson the supervisor of early year services and programs at South Cariboo Early Years Centre and others were giving out Halloween Family Activity Kits the week leading up to Halloween. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Halloween activity kits offered to kids at home

South Cariboo Early Years Centre is finding ways to bring activities into children’s homes.

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerskson of the BC Liberal Party and his partner Shelley Wiese celebrate at his campaign office in downtown Williams Lake Oct. 24. Doerkson has been elected as the new MLA in Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Angie Mindus photo)
Updated: Lorne Doerkson elected in Cariboo Chilcotin in preliminary results

Outgoing MLA Donna Barnett said win is ‘exciting’ for region

Power outage at Bridge Lake.
Power outage south of Bridge Lake impacts 85 customers

The outage has been caused by a fallen tree

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

Most Read