Ashcroft and the 108 Mile Ranch

Ranch Views

We still had 5 1/2 hours or so to go from Ashcroft to Barkerville, but we were hungry and it was getting late. We decided to dine in one of the few establishments available. The food was not great, and the decor dated, though the owner had money to spend on a decorative motorcycle!

I have watched enough Gordon Ramsey to understand that a restaurant in a small town with a large menu is looking for trouble in the first place – hard to maintain fresh supplies with so much variety (and a lack of traffic). And no, the food was not fresh. Really not.

I don’t know much about Ashcroft, other than that it was one of the wagon starting points on the journey to Barkerville. We did drive around and do a tour of the town and neighbourhoods, which were quaintly situated around the river.

Our next time around we will be sure to stop at the museum.

Indoor Motorcycle

We ate (kinda), did our little Ashcroft tour and pulled over at a rest stop for a sleep just outside the next town, Cache Creek. Our truck has been modified for convenient, comfortable sleeping until we purchase our next vehicle – a VW Westfalia (of course!).

Obviously we have decided to give in and go with what we are – habitual runaways – compulsive travellers. We are compelled to do it anyway, so why not make it convenient and comfortable?

When we woke, we continued on our way to Barkerville and encountered the 108 Mile Ranch Heritage Site. See the update about the serial killing family that once owned the property – awful!

108 Mile Ranch

It is a fantastic stopover – if you like historic frontier/gold rush stuff. Well maintained, informative and mostly free – unless you decide to go into the museum pictured above (which we did not – time constraints!).

The 108 Mile Ranch is an interesting and welcome sight to behold, after a long drive through primarily uninhabited land.

In this case, it was easy for me to imagine the excitement gold rush travellers would have had coming upon the collective. It would have taken an eternity to get here, and I could see it feeling very much like an appreciated oasis.

Historic Log Church Historic Ranch

The site boasts quite a history with the first establishment, ‘108 Roadhouse’ (later to be known as the 108 Hotel), being built here in 1867. For a while (before motor cars) it was a popular stop on the long journey to gold.

A number of flourishing businesses operated here – a telegraph office, blacksmith, ice house, post office, stables and eventually a general store and bunk house.


There is even a tale of one of the earliest owners, Agnus McVee, burying gold on site. An owner years later, William Walker, went to great lengths (moved buildings!) in his efforts to (unsuccessfully) locate the treasure.

By the 1890’s, the Roadhouse had lost its popularity and most of the people migrated elsewhere. The property was purchased by a rancher and Clydesdale breeder (Geoffrey Lancelot Watson), and used privately.

Inside the General Store

The restoration is as close to historically accurate as possible, and there are photos to prove it! As it was once a popular stopping ground full of people with gold rush fever, many (considering the era) ‘pre-jackpot’ photos were taken, and a few survived the years.

Trappers Cabin 1933

There are a few places throughout that showcase (ok, is bristol/paper board a showcase?), the old photos and give you a good view of the ‘before and after’. I was impressed (in spite of the paper board ‘showcase’!).

And that’s just what we saw for free. Definitely worth a return visit and a paid visit to the 108 museum – on our way to somewhere else!

Additional photos in the slideshow.

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You can follow this trip by heading to the ‘Gold Rush Ghost Towns‘ section. Enjoy many more photos by heading to the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


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