Goat River

British Columbia. River: Fraser River drainage
Flows NE into Fraser River near Rider
53.5333 N 120.5667 W — Map 93H/10 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1886 (Buchanan)
Name officially adopted in 1965
Official in BCCanada

“We followed a stream to the summit or divide, between Big [Issac] Lake and the upper Fraser, having to cut our way through a heavy growth of brush and fallen timber. After passing over the summit at a distance of about four miles we came to a stream, which we called Goat River.” So reads the report of Robert Buchanan’s 1886 prospecting expedition, which started from Barkerville.

In 1871 a Canadian Pacific Railway survey had cut a trail from Barkerville to Tête Jaune Cache through the Goat River valley, and the trail was used over the next year, but when the CPR abandoned the Yellowhead Pass route the trail fell into disuse. After Buchanan’s expedition the trail was occasionally used by miners, trappers, and lumbermen wanting to outfit out of Barkerville rather than Quesnel or Fort George.

In 1887 rumors of gold drew 40 Cariboo miners to the river, but after a week of fruitless panning they returned empty-handed.

The trail was used in the 1910s to deliver bootleg liquor to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway construction camps on the Fraser River , and in the 1930s when mining began at Wells. Mica from a mine on Mica Mountain near Tête Jaune Cache was transported over the trail.

When newlyweds Cliff and Ruth Kopas traveled through the Goat River valley in 1933, they described the trail as being so bad that “when you get part way in, you keep going because you wouldn’t have the guts to go back over the trail again.”

There are dangerous rapids in the Fraser River near the mouth of the Goat.


  • MacGregor, James Grierson. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974. Internet Archive
  • Kopas, Cliff. Packhorses to the Pacific. Sidney, B.C.: Gray’s, 1976
  • Wheeler, Marilyn [1932–2016]. The Robson Valley Story. McBride, B.C.: Robson Valley Story Group, 1979
  • Topping, William. A checklist of British Columbia post offices. Vancouver: published by the author, 7430 Angus Drive, 1983
  • Wright, Richard. “Tales of a trail [Goat River].” BC Outdoors, (1985)

One thought on “Goat River

  1. Pat White

    BC Deaths Archives have an Ida Elisabeth Kendall dying January 20, 1927 at Goat River, BC. Her husband, Milo Cecil Kendall was a prospector and reportedly drowned in the Goat River sometime in 1926. Does anyone have any informatin on either of these incidents?


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