History at The Flying U Ranch
The Flying U ranch, located in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, was established in 1849 by an initial Crown grant made by the Queen of England. It has been in operation ever since for 167 years! We believe this makes the Flying U Canada's oldest continually running ranch. The property was first used as a stopover for trappers and fur traders on their way along the Alaska Trail going to and from the Yukon Territory and Alaska. A major trail used by the Cariboo Fur Brigade is the same trail our guests use to ride out of the corral today.
Around the time of the original Crown grant, several of the original log buildings buildings that remain on the property were constructed and used as roadhouse facilities. Later, vegetable and crop production commenced and continued until the turn of the century. In the late 1800's the ranch slowly evolved into a working cattle ranch.
“It’s healthy, homespun, and fun, carrying the romance of Canada’s Old West.”
- Anne Mayhew,
The Western Horseman
In the early 1900's a legendary and colourful character, Jack Boyd, took over operations at the Ranch. He was to change the course of the ranch forever. Jack Boyd was a member of the family that founded the Flying U Ranch, and he developed a reputation as a maverick that spread from Western Canada to points all over the world. Jack was a champion rodeo cowboy, who loved to entertain people and tell tall tales of his card playing, dangerous exploits and other adventures. His good friend was Tom Mix the cowboy Hollywood star. With the financial backing and ideas of Tom Mix combined with Jack's larger than life personality the Flying U Guest Ranch was born. It became the first guest ranch in Canada.
Development of the guest business took place gradually from 1917 to 1930, and visitors included people of Europe. Most people came to learn the rancher’s way in the open and wild country of the Cariboo with its moderate summer weather and mild winters. Some came just for a chance to see Jack Boyd and his sidekicks, who to them, represented a living example of the Wild West. The ranch and its traditions are a mainstay of the ranch and little has changed in over a century. Our guests today sleep in the same cabins: now 100 years old , answer to the same meal bell, relax in the saloon and ride on the same trails. On a quiet summers afternoon as you ride through the trail you might still imagine the spirit of Jack Boyd riding beside you.