Maurice Garcia, an 1820 settler of Jewish-Portuguese descent was civil commissioner of Riversdale and his most pressing goal was to a road through the mountains linking the town to the Klein Karoo interior.
Using convict labour, he constructed a bridle path through the gorge of the Goukou River, which, by 1868, was in general use by horseriders.
The inhabitants of the area began pushing for a proper road and in 1872 permission was granted by the public works department for Thomas Bain to construct Garcia's Pass as soon as he'd completed Tradouw Pass.
By the end of 1873, 107 convicts were transferred to Garcia's Pass and work on a 17,5 kilometre pass with a nine-kilometre approach road began. Progress was slow. A tenth of the convicts drafted were old or sick and the pass proved to be a demanding and difficult undertaking, requiring the full attention of Bain, who at the time, had his hands full with the Cogman's Kloof and Pakhuis Pass.
By 1875 only 10 kilometres had been completed. Funds were running low, so instead of building a short section of good road only, Bain built a long, narrow road of a lower quality. Clever scheming on Bain's part, as this forced the authorities to spend extra money to finish it.
The pass was completed by the end of 1877.