Getting away from it all has never been easier. While you may feel like you’re at the edge of civilization when you explore the Lower North Thompson Valley, our area is easily accessed from major hubs.
The North Thompson Valley is located in the north central region of Canada’s most western province, and is a gateway to British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan region. The valley corridor stretches 330 kilometres (205 miles) from its southern access near Kamloops to northern reaches before coming to Mount Robson and Jasper, Alberta.
Barriere is located 66 kilometres (41 mi) north from Kamloops along the Yellowhead Highway and is set at the intersection of the North Thompson and Barriere Rivers. Barriere and the Lower North Thompson also includes McLure, a rural settlement just south of Barriere, Little Fort at the intersection of the Yellowhead Highway (5) and Highway 24 (known as the fishing highway), some 93 kilometres (58 mi) north of Kamloops, as well as Heffley Creek, located on Hwy 5 just 26 km (16 mi) north of Kamloops and 40 km (25 mi) south of Barriere.
Local communities can be explored by driving the picturesque Yellowhead Highway (BC Highway 5), where the staging areas for many backcountry adventures can be found just beyond the highway.
Barriere and the Lower North Thompson Valley are at the mid-way point between Vancouver and Jasper. It is because of its location that it has become one of the favourite stops for RVers and a major stopping point for people taking the circle tour from Vancouver to Jasper, over to Calgary and/or Edmonton in Alberta, and down to the United States.
Barriere is a little over four hours from Vancouver, BC, via the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) and Hwy 5.
From Calgary, AB, it will take you eight and a half hours. Just follow the Trans Canada Highway to Kamloops and turn on Hwy 5N to Barriere.
From Jasper, AB, it’s a quick four hours and 45 minutes via the Yellowhead Highway S (AB Hwy 16) where you connect to Hwy 5S.
Coming from Alaska, takes a little longer. Just take the Alaska Hwy. to Dease Lake Highway until you reach British Columbia. From there continue to take Dease Lake Highway (BC Hwy 37) until you reach the Yellowhead Hwy, and after that it’s a sharp right onto Hwy 97S and you are there!
The Okanagan is about two hours away via Hwy 97C, 97N or Hwy 5.
The closest regional airport to the Lower North Thompson Valley is located in Kamloops, BC, with international airports in Kelowna, and Vancouver, BC. Airport access is also available through Calgary or Edmonton, Alberta.
The Lower North Thompson Valley is located four hours from the Vancouver International Airport, three hours from the Kelowna International Airport and one hour from the Kamloops airport.
Jasper and Columbia Icefields Parkway – A Canadian Icon
Veteran explorers and weekend warriors alike will rejoice when planning an RV route to Jasper. The scenic wilderness loop through the Lower 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.
What to Bring
The Lower North Thompson Valley is a true four seasons playground. Temperatures can range from 40°C (104°F) at the peak of the summer season to below -15°C (5°F) on very cold winter days. Make sure your gear is rated for these temperatures, especially in the winter months. In the winter months, be sure you have winter tires or chains on your vehicle.
By late spring and throughout the summer, light clothing, shorts and t-shirts are what everyone wears. They can take you from a day on the lake to a night at the lodge. However, the spring nights can get cool, and depending upon your elevation, you may need a sweater at night. Should your plans include horseback riding be sure to bring along a comfortable pair of jeans and a good pair of boots or hiking boots/shoes.
In the summer, most of the lakes here get very warm, and when you aren’t fishing in them, be sure to pack your bathing suit so you can dive in to cool off. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
Once the fall hits, temperatures drop and layers are your best bet. Come winter, you’ll need to bundle up with a down jacket or warm winter coat as well as warm winter boots, gloves, scarves and hats.
Boaters need to be alert to the boating restrictions in some lakes and a Pleasure Craft Operator Card boating license (PCOC) is required if you are operating a motorized boat in Canada. A PCOC proves that you have acquired the knowledge to operate a motorized boat on Canada’s waterways safely.
How Do Boaters Obtain Their Card?
The boaters can obtain their Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) by successfully passing a Transport Canada Accredited, multiple choice exam.
Rules of the Road
Seat belt use is mandatory for all drivers and passengers in Canada. The Distracted Driving Law is in effect in British Columbia, which prohibits drivers from talking, texting or emailing with hand-held communication devices, or using other electronic devices while behind the wheel.