Historically, this area was inhabited by the Secwépemc. In the 1800s, migrant settlements grew with the development of the Cariboo Wagon Road and discovery of gold.
The Cariboo Wagon Road followed the original Hudson’s Bay Harrison Trail, reaching north from Lillooet (Mile 0) to the Cariboo Gold Fields. Beginning at Lillooet, the road travelled 47 miles, over Pavilion Mountain, past Kelly Lake, to Cut-Off Valley, where it converged with the Yale-Cariboo Road. The community formed at the confluence of the two roads became known as 47 Mile House. In 1863 the town site was officially renamed “Clinton” by Queen Victoria in honour of Lord Henry Pelham Clinton.
During the Cariboo Gold Rush, the location of the settlement made it a busy junction and an ideal resting place for weary travellers and miners travelling to and from the gold fields of Barkerville. Once “Gold Fever” subsided, the ranching industry developed. Some of the original ranches such as Maiden Creek Ranch, Mound Ranch and Pollard Ranch are still operational today.
In the early 1950’s forestry became the mainstay of the economy. At one time, over 20 bush mills and saw mills operated in the area. Consolidation in the 1970’s led to only one operation surviving. This mill, known as Chasm Sawmills, a division of West Fraser Mills, closed in 2019.
Since the mid-1970’s, the population of Clinton has slowly increased. Today Clinton and area boast many facilities and landscaped parks, while still retaining the flavour and appearance of a frontier town. On Main Street, you will find quaint shops, hotel/motels, pubs, coffee shops, restaurants and gas stations, where one can find hidden treasures, grab a great meal or refresh and refuel.