The history of the Ashcroft area begins long before the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1860s. Indigenous people have been living in the area since time immemorial. The local nations include the Nlaka’pamux Nation, which includes the present day First Nations of Ashcroft Indian Band, Oregon Jack Creek Indian Band, and Cook’s Ferry; and the Secwepemc Nation which includes the Bonaparte Indian Band.
Around the mid-1800s, the Nlaka’pamux people became involved in the European fur trade. The first settlers of European descent arrived in 1859, naming Ashcroft for their home in England, Ashcroft Manor. The community served as a transportation hub in the 1800s. The area served as Mile 0 for the road to the Cariboo goldfields and the BC Express Company was based here. Ashcroft was also home to the iconic Ashcroft Manor, a roadhouse built by the Cornwall brothers.
Ashcroft was incorporated in 1952. It is known for its historic character and has been a popular site for filming movies and TV series. Striking features of the community include the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways which border the Thompson River, the river itself, and the sagebrush landscape surrounding the community.