Hurley Road History

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.[1][2] 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 May 2014

The Hurley goes back to being a FSR. Click to read more.

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.

7 Responses to Hurley Road History

  1. Lesleii

    Hi Christi.

    Did you get you status, yet? I am working on mine.

    My G Granma was Johanna Miller, sister to Marie Miller. We seem to be walking the same path according to your comment. Please DM me on my FB Page.

    Really looking forward to sharing our stories. I also know someone who is very familiar with our family.

    <3 Lesleii

  2. Cristi

    This is amazing!!! My grandfather is Daniel Mcurdy Matthews, son of Robert Matthews and Mabel Hurley, and Mabel’s parents were Daniel Hurley and Marie Miller… whose parents are John Miller and Julienne Kalhatkwa!!!
    I am trying to find information about our family in Lillooet and now that we have applied for our status, we are hoping to learn all about our ancestors and the history of the Lillooet tribe?! Is there any information or photos that you can share? My daughter Lylia is researching for her Aboriginal Education project, to identify the differences between the art and culture of our First Nations ancestors! Anything you can email me would be amazing!! We hope to make a trip to Lillooet one summer and try to track down and meet long lost family too!!

  3. Carissa G

    Hurley Jr., my great-great-great grandfather was Dan Hurley! We may be related ?
    My grandma has his marriage certificate to his wife, and lots of stories.

  4. Mike Cleven

    Bernadette, Lazack Lajoie did not build the dam named for him (my own Dad was contruction super), and I think died long before plans for it were drawn up. It was named for him because, I think, his cabin had been in the area; same reason Little Gun Lake is officially Lajoie Lake.

    There’s quite a bit on him in Lewis Green’s ‘The Great Years: Gold Mining in the Bridge River Valley’, including his dream of a city/townsite spanning the area of the Gun Lakes over to Gun Creek and the Ponds.

  5. bernadette lajoie

    I would like to know if their is any info on LaZarch who constructed the Lajoie Dam his biographie if any Thank you

  6. Hurley jr.

    This is wonderful!
    Dan Hurley is my Great Great Grandfather. I love hearing these stories from someone out of my family! great stuff!

  7. elspeth

    I really love your website, just discovered it & am so looking forward to reading the Hurley history. Keep the photos coming! Please & thanks!

    p.s. the layout/design of your website is very pleasing to the eye and easily navigable. 2 thumbs up!!

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