Once a busy junction on the wagon road leading to the Cariboo and Barkerville gold fields, Clinton was originally known as The Junction, and Cut Off Valley, before being renamed in 1863, honouring the Colonial Secretary, Henry Pelham Clinton, the 5th Duke of Newcastle.
An historical cairn in Clinton marks the junction of two routes to the Cariboo gold mines; The original 1859 Cariboo Trail from Lillooet, and the Cariboo Road through the Fraser Canyon, built in 1863 by the Royal Engineers.
Situated halfway to these gold fields, Clinton was an ideal place for weary travellers suffering from gold fever to stop for a rest, food, entertainment, and even encouragement. Clinton grew with the demand for these services.
Staying true to its rawhide roots today, Clinton’s Main Street still exudes a Wild West flavour, with many of the buildings boasting their original storefronts, restored to retain the western atmosphere and character. The area surrounding Clinton is known as the Guest Ranch Capital of British Columbia. From historic Hat Creek Ranch to Kelly Lake, Big Bar Lake and Jesmond, many guest ranches offer the genuine trail-ridin’ cowboy experience.