The Hurley Wilderness Road is a famous B.C. backroad between Gold Bridge and Pemberton – the Hurley Main. A “main” is a logging main, that is to say a major trunk road for a network of logging roads. The route of the Hurley Main uses a defile known as Railroad Pass near the head of that river to emerge high above the Lillooet River, to which a steep, switchbacking descent must be made.
The Hurley River is a major tributary of the Bridge River that was earlier known as the South Fork of that larger river. It was for a while known as “Hamilton’s River” after Danny Hamilton, an American who was among the first to settle in the goldfields region of the upper Bridge River. By the 1920s that name was changed to the Hurley River, commemorating one of the main pioneers of the Lillooet Country, Dan Hurley.
The Hurley River begins near Railroad Pass 1385 m (4544 ft), a cleft in the mountains between the basins of the Bridge and upper Lillooet Rivers, and flows through a marshy upper valley eastwards before turning north just west of the famous gold-mining town of Bralorne. From that point the river goes over semi-hidden Hurley Falls into the Hurley Canyon, which makes up ten of the last twelve miles of the river before its confluence with the Bridge River near Gold Bridge, just below Lajoie Dam. An operating placer mine at the outlet of the canyon goes by the name South Fork, alluding to the river’s older name.
Railroad Pass gets its name from its potential as a possible route for a railway through the Coast Mountains although no formal record of such a survey exists. The Canadian Pacific Survey went through this area, but records only exist of survey parties attempting Ring Pass, at the head of the Lillooet River, and the divide between Meager Creek and Toba Inlet, as well as the southerly route since used by the Pacific Great Eastern, now a part of the Canadian National Railway conglomerate.
Railroad Pass was investigated in the 1980s as a possible extension route for BC Highway 99 as a “back door” for the Whistler resort in case of geotechnical emergencies that would isolate the resort (a more southerly route used by Cayoosh Pass was chosen).
A group of peaks on the north side of the pass is called the Railroad Group and includes summit-names like Locomotive, Tender and Caboose.
Information from Wikipedia
Changes in the Hurley Road Responsibility April 2011
There have been some recent changes in who is responsible for the Hurley Road. It was descovered that 22km of the Hurley FSR was improperly tenured over the Hurley Public Road. Please read the letter below from the Ministry of Forests which explains the recent changes.