Overlander Falls

British Columbia. Falls: Fraser River drainage
Fraser River E of junction with Robson River
53.0333 N 119.2 W — Map 83E/3 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1968
Official in BCCanada

The “Overlanders” were an ad-hoc group of gold-seekers on their way from eastern Canada to join the Cariboo gold rush in British Columbia. In 1862 they travelled through the Yellowhead Pass and would have gone by this falls on the Fraser River near Mount Robson. There is no mention of “Overlander Falls” in surviving records, or any record of the use of the name prior to its official adoption by the BC Geographical Names Office in 1986, it as proposed by the BC Parks Branch.

The Overlanders travelled in loosely organized groups totalling about two hundred. At Edmonton, the lead group hired André Cardinal, a native of Jasper, to guide them to Tête Jaune Cache. At the Cache they met a camp of the native Secwépemc (Shushwap) people who were salmon fishing. The Shuswap were not familiar with the route down the Fraser River, and only familiar with the route toward the North Thompson River for a few days’ travel.

At Tête Jaune Cache the party split. All but 36 went down the Fraser, in rafts and dugout canoes. As the first group left on September 1 the Shuswaps are reported to have said, “Poor white men. No more.” Three of the men drowned in the Fraser. The rest eventually made it to Quesnel. Two of the 36 that headed for the North Thompson and Kamloops also drowned. Both groups met discouragement when they neared the goldfields, where hundreds of disillusioned miners were on their way out. All but a few of the overlanders headed for the coast without even going to the goldfields at Barkerville.


  • McNaughton, Margaret [1856–1915]. Overland to Cariboo: An eventful journey of Canadian Pioneers to the gold fields of British Columbia in 1862. Toronto: Willliam Briggs, 1896. Internet Archive
  • Morice, Adrien-Gabriel [1859–1939]. The history of the Northern Interior of British Columbia (formerly New Caledonia). Toronto: William Briggs, 1904, p. 35. Internet Archive
  • MacGregor, James Grierson [1905–1989]. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974. Internet Archive
  • Wright, Richard. Overlanders. Williams Lake, B.C.: 2000

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