Yellowhead Lake

Feature type: Lake
Province: British Columbia
Location: Expansion of Yellowhead Creek, near headwaters of Fraser River
Latitude: 52°52’00”
Longitude: 118°32’00”
NTS map: 83D/15
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

This lake near the Yellowhead Pass has been known by several names. In 1824, Hudson’s Bay Company governor George Simpson, heading for the Athabasca Pass, noted, “the track for Cranberry Lake takes a Northerly direction by Cow Dung River.” The Cow Dung River was the Miette River and Simpson’s Cranberry Lake may have been the current Yellowhead Lake. In 1862, when the Overlander gold seekers crossed Yellowhead Pass (which they called Leather Pass) they camped on Cow Dung Lake. A year later, the lake was known to Milton and Cheadle as Buffalo Dung Lake. In 1872 George Grant suggested its present name, recalling the namesake of the pass.

“It is a very charming litle sheet of water,” wrote Arthur Wheeler, “four miles long, with a greatest width of half a mile. There are several narrows, and the irregularities of its form are by no means the least part of its charm. For the most part it is surrounded by green forest and is distinctly one of the most beautiful lakes in the district. In colour the waters are a creamy sap green.”


  • MacGregor, James Grierson, 1905-1989. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974
  • Milton, William Fitzwilliam and Cheadle, Walter B. The North-West Passage by Land. Being the narrative of an expedition from the Atlantic to the Pacific, undertaken with the view of exploring a route across the continent to British Columbia through British territory, by one of the northern passes in the Rocky Mountains. London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin, 1865
  • Wheeler, Arthur Oliver 1860-1945 . “The mountains of the Yellowhead Pass.” Alpine Journal 26, no.198 (1912).

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