Footprints in Stone
Carrier Culture

Grease Trail

The Alexander Grease Trail was used by the First Nations people 6000 years before Alexander Mackenzie discovered it in 1793. This trail was designated as a heritage trail in 1987. It is made up of highway, forest roads, wagon roads, river, gravel forest roads, horse trails. It tells the story of the aboriginal people. Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to make the trek across the North American continent. The local First Nations people advised and guided Alexander Mackenzie and his group of nine men to the Pacific Ocean. Instead of following the river they went overland. This journey started above the mouth of the Blackwater River (west of Quesnel) to Upper Blackwater, through Tweedsmuir Park and onto Bella Coola Valley and down to Bella Coola River.

There are 120 archaeological sites near the trail. 260 of them are within a mile or two. The trail is approximately 450 km (279 miles) long and it takes about one week on horseback. For those who like hiking and love a challenge, it will take you three weeks. It is an arduous trail and meant for those who are well prepared and self reliant.

Grease Trail Map

Following as told by Doreen Patrick

I recently got a photograph of one of the guides who guided Alexander McKenzie to Bella Coola. Her name is Kama and she is the great grandmother to Matilda Boyd (Alec) and Lashaway Alec from Trout Lake, Nazko. Our Carrier people still use it as an adventure trail, where they ride horses, team and wagon to Anahim Lake for gatherings and for the annual rodeo. At one point many years ago our youths and Carrier guides took Alexander’s foot steps and went down into Bella Coola through the Canyons. I remember my son who was only 13 at the time went on the trail and he told me about the trek down through the mountains. He said it was a very narrow ledge just enough room for the horse he was riding. Going down the Bella Coola hill in a vehicle is an adventure itself, but going down on horse back on a narrow ledge is probably more of an adventure. Our Carrier people used the trail for trading dried moose meat, berries (soap berries called luwus) for ooligan grease. The grease was from a small fish that was dried or rendered into fat. Our people used ooligan grease for medicine, tanning hide and other uses.

Carrier History
Kama Carrier History