Yale to Lytton City vs Douglas-Lillooet route

Yale to Lytton passenger service (Sept 12, 1861)

A rough mule train was built from Yale to Lytton by the gold miners themselves in 1858, at the height of the Fraser River gold rush.

Pack trains and passenger ‘trains’ such as Jersey & Blackhawk’s used the Yale to Lytton trail daily. (Lytton was referred to as ‘Lytton City’ and Lillooet was still called ‘Cayoosh’).

Despite the desire for a wagon road north of Yale, Governor Douglas gave preference to the Douglas-Lillooet route.

In 1860, Douglas gave orders to the Royal Engineers to deepen the channel of the Harrison River to enable steamboats to reach Port Douglas in all stages of high or low water levels. In addition, they were tasked with the responsibility of improving and widening the Douglas-Lillooet trail to accommodate wagons.  They built the road as far as Lillooet Lake. From there, Colquhoun and Company and Joseph Trutch were awarded a contract to build the road for a distance of 24 miles from Lillooet and Anderson Lakes.

The mile and a half between Anderson and Seton Lakes was serviced by a tramway. The four miles of road from Seton Lake to the town of Lillooet were built by Watson in 1860. Steamships such as Lady of the Lake and the Champion carried freight and passengers over Anderson and Seton Lakes.

Because of the time and inconvenience it took to offload freight and passengers from wagon to steamship to tramway and so on that it never became popular with gold seekers.

In June 1860, Douglas relented and awarded a road building contract to Frank Way and J.C. Beedy to build a trail from Yale to Spuzzum. At the same time, work on a trail from Spuzzum to Boston Bar was started by contractors Powers and McRoberts.

By the fall of 1860, news of the discovery of gold in the Cariboo reached the coast and gold seekers were determined to build trails north. From Boston Bar a trail was cut north to Anderson River and went past Yankee Flat, Fargo’s Bar and over Jackass Mountain to Lytton City.

Newspapers reported that the rate of packing from Yale to Lytton was considerably less than from Port Douglas to Cayoosh (Lillooet):

A comparison of the prices now prevailing at Lytton and Cayoosh, show that a saving of $4 or $5 per 100lbs can by made by purchasing at Lytton.
Lytton: flour – $24; Beans – $24; Bacon – 50cents; Sugar – 40cents
Cayoosh: flour – $28, Beans – $28; Bacon – 55 cents; Sugar – 40 cents