The Lower and North Thompson Valley

Wild, rustic and irresistible is how you’ll be describing your visit to the Lower North Thompson Valley. Adventure awaits along the roads less travelled. Explore the Lower North Thompson’s Fishing Highway (Hwy 24) or travel upon Highway 5 and be captivated by the friendly people and stunning scenery in and around the small towns and hamlets here. Explore the entire North Thompson Valley 330 kilometres (204 mi) along the Yellowhead Highway, along the Trans Canada Highway from the South Thompson River south of Sun Peaks to Valemount. You’ll find three mountain ranges, magnificent rivers, and the world’s only temperate inland rainforest all provide more pure get-away-from-it-all than most people can ever dream of.

Find yourself pulled in by the North Thompson’s natural wonders and panoramic beauty. It all slowly unfurls in ranchlands surrounding Barriere, at the rim of Helmcken or 38 other waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park, in the snowswept alpine of Sun Peaks, Blue River and Valemount, or by the banks of the South Thompson, North Thompson, Clearwater or Fraser rivers.

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Here the rounded slopes of the Monashee Mountains gently give way to waving meadows of alfalfa, and a landscape that inspires old western dreams of riding high in the saddle. Easygoing people with down-home hospitality are the hallmarks of Lower North Thompson Valley. The First Nations people who settled here long ago have a strong connection to the land and celebrate this connection with locals and visitors alike. Magnificent rivers, and the world’s only temperate inland rainforest, ranchlands and badlands plus over 100 lakes, provide more pure get-away-from-it-all than most people can ever dream of. It’s all here, waiting for you to discover.

Get Away From it All

You’ve just found the perfect get-away vacation for RVers, adventure seekers and those who just want to relax. Situated on several circle tour routes, the area is easily accessed from the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 1) and Highways 5, 24 and 97.

Veteran explorers and weekend warriors alike will rejoice when planning an RV route to Jasper. The scenic wilderness loop through the North Thompson Valley and Columbia Icefields Parkway is as Canadian as it gets. Stunning vistas, ever-changing landscapes and activities that range from the mild to the wild roll along the North Thompson route. Spend days uncovering the diverse ecology and glacier laden area of the Columbia Icefields. Venture off from Kamloops to Jasper (443 km, 275 mi) and on to Banff and Lake Louise, enjoying an experience that is quintessentially Canadian.

Where Beauty Fills You With Wonder

The natural wonders of the Lower North Thompson Valley are sure to fill you with wonder. Panoramic beauty unfolds before you in the ranchlands of Barriere and the Lower North Thompson Valley. Pristine lakes, mountain and valley views, calm and rejuvenate the spirit.

The Allure of the Lower North Thompson Valley

Many have gone before you as they traverse the Lower North Thompson Valley. The nomadic Interior Salish First Nations people followed the seasons and their bountiful food supplies – rosehips in spring, berries in summer, and nutrient rich salmon in fall. Pioneering Overlanders, sought their fortune in BC’s gold fields, and travelled by foot, on horseback and on primitive water rafts to seek their fortune. Railway barons followed, seeking an interior route to the coast. Many fell under the spell of the Lower North Thompson Valley and never went home. If you listen and look closely, you can still hear tales of their adventures to this day – on a guided white-water rafting trip, a scenic voyageur canoe ride, or hiking the back trails of the Lower North Thompson Valley.

Raw, Untamed Adventures Await

Pick a spot, any spot and look around you. Imagine Mother Nature creating this magnificent valley: tectonic plates shifting, landmasses colliding and volcanoes erupting. Look beyond the dashboard and you’ll see the magnificence of the Lower North Thompson Valley; and realize it’s all within your reach, right now.

Find a Trail Just Right for you

Trails are everywhere in the Lower North Thompson Valley. Find yourself on endless mountain, river and lakeside trails, hiking through interior rainforests, wildflower meadows, or windswept craggy trails high above the alpine, uncovering a timeless landscape that stays with you forever. The vast wilderness here is easy-to-access getting you off the flattop and traipsing through the wilderness in no time at all.

The charred remains of a once great forest are becoming green again, slowly regenerating after the McLure fire of 2003. Venture into that same forest – where you never thought you would. Hike numerous kilometres of trails that lead to views that can only be called inspired. Trek your way along the peaceful slopes of Sun Peaks where the blossoms paint the mountainside with a kaleidoscope of colour. Explore the backcountry near Jandana Ranch or take a relaxing meander by a marsh as you take in all the tranquility the area has to offer you.

Land of Lakes and Rivers

The Lower North Thompson Valley is a water lover’s paradise. Dip and glide your paddle through the waters of the area lakes or tame the rolling Adams River on a white water raft. Enjoy the tranquility as you fish for your supper, or relax on the shores listening to the sounds of nature. The entire North Thompson Valley is where immense water lives. Created from glaciers, rapidly flowing through the valley toward the coast, the South Thompson, North Thompson, Clearwater and Fraser Rivers feed the region.

The Wild Locals

It’s easy to catch a glimpse, and even the long lingering stares of the wildlife here in the Lower North Thompson Valley. California Big Horn sheep, deer, moose, coyotes, bears, and game birds and birds of prey all co-exist here. Don’t be surprised if you see them all on the many trails that weave in and out of the area.

Winter Chills

Marvel in the winter paradise that envelops you here, with exhilarating air filling your lungs and snowflakes dancing on your skin. Balance on two skis on the crest of a mountain, oceans of snow in your wake. Trek through a timberland forest of white, to frozen lakes shimmering in the sun under wide blue skies. Weave your way through a pristine winter playground, chasing snow-bound exploits all the way. Surround yourself with blankets of white untouched powder at Sun Peaks Resort, zig-zagging on any one of their 126 downhill runs. Experience the rumbling sensation of plotting a course, and steering your snowmobile through snow-filled open ranges and frost-dipped trees.

Celebrate in our Valley

Our communities know how to throw a great party, and we want you to join us. Giddy-up; tradition and community spirit is firmly rooted in the heart of Barriere, where the Fall Fair and Rodeo has been fuelling raw bucking power for over 65 years. Bring the entire family along to celebrate the best of rural Canadian lifestyle – livestock and rodeo competitions, fair food, community dances and more. Jump in on the western action and feel the palpable excitement from the top of your hat to the toes of your boots. Feel the rhythm of the beat in Sun Peaks during the Summer Concert Series that fill the Village Square with soul-busting tunes. Savour the flavour of the region and toast your family and friends with the Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival.

This is our region, and we hope you love it here as much as we do.