From Badlands to Backcountry

The badlands of British Columbia’s Lower North Thompson Valley transform into lush ranchland, forests, and mountains as you make your way through the valley. The rounded slopes of the Monashee Mountains watch over fields of alfalfa as ranchers ride the range. Adams Lake cradles the land and all its history, while the Adams River patiently waits for the sockeye to return each year. Hundreds of lakes, filled with the famous fighting Kamloops Trout, dot the valley, most only a short drive off the main highway. Drop your line from any dock or boat and you’re bound to get a nibble no matter what the time of year.

Welcome to British Columbia’s Wilderness

Wild, rustic and irresistible is how visitors and locals describe the Lower North Thompson Valley. To some, Barriere is off the beaten track; however the locals here will tell you it’s not far from the best fishing in the world, just off what is know as BC’s fishing highway (Hwy 24). Highway 5 runs through the centre of the valley and as you travel it you’ll be captivated by stunning scenery, the wildlife, and the friendly people in and around the small towns and hamlets here.

With a population of fewer than 7,000 people in an area of 1550 sq. km (600 sq mi) there’s plenty to explore between the towns and hamlets of the area.

Canoeing, Fishing, Tenting

Meet the Folks

Easygoing people with down-home hospitality are hallmarks of the 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.

Barriere and the Lower North Thompson Valley are steeped in history and rich in aboriginal culture. There are several bands whose history reaches into the Lower North Thompson Valley including the Simpcw, meaning the people of the North Thompson River, and the Tk’emlupsemc, which means, people of the confluence. They have lived here as far back as recorded history.

The locals here are a hardy bunch who embody the word community. Back in 2003, a major forest fire, known as the McLure Fire, swept through the area and destroyed homes and businesses, including the Louis Creek sawmill. Over 3,000 people were forced to evacuate. That did not deter the people of the Lower North Thompson Valley. They rebuilt their community and erected a wildfire dragon monument to honour the tenacity and kind-heartedness of the people who fought the fire and those who helped rebuild the community.

The folks here love life. You can see it in their smiles and if you have a moment, they’ll be sure to strike up a conversation with you at the local coffee shop or Farmers’ Market. They love to share a good fish story too!

Something to Celebrate

There is no off-season for celebrations in this valley. The people of the Lower North Thompson valley love to acknowledge and share their sense of history and give thanks for all that is around them. Locals and visitors revisit their sense of belonging at events such as the Kamloopa Pow Wow and the Fall Fair and Rodeo.

The return of the Sockeye Salmon means it’s time to get together and celebrate at the Salute to the Sockeye.