From Wallula Gap on the Columbia River, the Caribou Trail followed existing Native American travel routes north through Eastern Washington into the mountains of British Columbia. Early fur trade brigades used the trail until 1847 when the Hudson's Bay Company withdrew from the Northwest. Gold strikes of the late 1850s drew an influx of miners streaming over the trail to the mining camps in British Columbia. Early day cattlemen followed, driving their stock north along the trail to supply the frontier gold camps with fresh beef.
One enterprising packer attempted to use camels as pack animals. However, the camels frightened the mule and horse pack trains also traveling the trail. Faced with claims for damages, the packer turned his camels loose to roam the valleys of southern British Columbia.