The location is one of Malaysia's few pristine forests, with a high level of biodiversity, first recognised by the botanist H. N. Ridley in 1897. The British army had not explored the Titiwangsa Range, so Fraser recruited guides and coolies for an expedition to the upper ridges, prospecting for gold or other valuable metals. At the top he found an ancient forest of moss-draped trees and ferns with a prehistoric appearance, kept constantly moist in the cloud layer.
tin deposits, and recruited Chinese workers to open a mine. A steep track was constructed for mules to transport the tin ore down to The Gap and on to Raub, the nearest town. Fraser operated a gambling and opium den at the workers' camp, through which he profited a second time from the wages paid to his coolies.
Fraser vanished without trace some 25 years later. In 1917 C. J. Ferguson-Davie, Bishop of Singapore, led a trek up from the Gap to look for his site, and did not find him, but reported that the place was perfect for a hill station–a retreat from the heat of the lowlands. In 1919, work started on the access road to the hill station from The Gap and by 1922, the hill station named Fraser's Hill was opened to visitors. The hill station covered 140 hectares of land and had over 50 km of jungle paths. The 1927 Handbook to British Malaya recorded that there were 9 bungalows for the use of government officials, 4 houses built with the help of the Red Cross for ex-servicemen and women, 3 private homes, a country club, a golf course, water supply and a post office.
The 1970s saw another burst of development with buildings and golf courses. Faced with growing evidence of the effects of environmental damage at the Malaysia's largest hill resort, Cameron Highlands, the Pahang state government in 2010 ruled out further development of virgin forest at Fraser's Hill.