Portage Lake

British Columbia. Lake: Fraser River drainage
Expansion of Bad River (James Creek) (James Creek)
54.4 N 121.6333 W — Map 93I/5 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1959
Official in BCCanada

The portage was that of the party of Alexander Mackenzie [1764–1820], which crossed the Continental Divide on June 12, 1793:

We landed and unloaded, where we found a beaten path leading over a low ridge of land [the Continental Divide] of eight hundred and seventeen paces in length to another small lake [Portage Lake]. The distance between the two mountains at this place is about a quarter of a mile, rocky precipices presenting themselves on both sides. A few large spruce trees and liards were scattered over the carrying-place. There were also willows along the side of the water, with plenty of grass and weeds. The natives had left their old canoes here, with baskets hanging on the trees, which contained various articles. From the latter I took a net, some hooks, a goat’s horn, and a kind of wooden trap, in which, as our guide in formed me, the ground hog is taken. left, however, in exchange, a knife, some fire-steels, beads, awls &c. Here two streams tumble down the rocks from the right, and lose themselves in the lake which we had left [Arctic Lake]; while two others fall from the opposite heights, and glide into the lake which we were approaching [Portage Lake]; this being the highest point of land dividing these waters, and we are now going with the stream. This lake runs in the same course as the last, but is rather narrower, and not more than half the length. We were obliged to clear away some floating drift-wood to get to the carrying place, over which is beaten path of only an hundred and seventy-five paces long. The lake empties itself by a small river, which, if the channel were not interrupted by large trees that had fallen across it, would have admitted of our canoe with all its lading: the impediment, indeed, might have been removed by two axe-men in a few hours.


  • Mackenzie, Alexander [1764–1820]. Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans in the years 1789 and 1793. London: T. Cadell, Jun., and W. Davies, 1803. Internet Archive

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