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The North Thompson Valley

Journey from the badlands and rolling ranch lands up to Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. This is the North Thompson Valley and it stretches over 330 kilometres (205 miles) through the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. The Yellowhead Highway connects BC’s Lower Mainland and the city of Vancouver with the Canadian Rockies and Jasper, Alberta. Explore the vast, rugged Canadian wilderness, dotted with rural small towns. Visit us in the communities and hamlets of Sun Peaks, Heffley Creek, Barriere, McLure, Louis Creek, Darfield, Little Fort, Blackpool, Clearwater / Wells Gray, Birch Island, Vavenby, Avola, Blue River, and Valemount.

Lower North Thompson and Barriere and Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks and Heffley Creek

You’ll find Sun Peaks in the heart of Monashees and nestled between three mountains. Its unique climate produces abundant fine, dry powder snow in the winter. In the summer you can enjoy countless days of blue sky and wide open spaces. Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest ski resort with 137 runs including 17 gladed areas and 37.8 km of groomed and track cross-country trails and 17 km of backcountry trails. Come summer those same slopes burst with brilliant blossoms. Make a plan to come and hike some of the most easily accessed wildflower meadows in all of British Columbia.

Sun Peaks Resort has easy to access from the Lower Mainland via Highway 5, or by flying into the Kamloops airport, located only 45 minutes south of the village, turning off at the hamlet of Heffley Creek.

Family friendly all year round, in winter enjoy New Year’s Eve celebrations, a winter of wine, and countless ski races. Visit in summer and take in a concert.

Accommodations in winter and in summer at Sun Peaks range from cozy bed and breakfasts to mountainside ski chalet rentals, from luxurious hotels and comfortable lodges, to condos, camping and an RV park.

Medical needs can be met at the Sun Peaks Health Centre. Sun Peaks is also equipped with a multitude of services from grocery delivery to currency exchange. Visit the service directory for a complete list of businesses in the Sun Peaks area.

The Sun Peaks and area map can be accessed here.

Barriere, McLure, and Little Fort

The area between Barriere, McLure, and Little Fort features a variety of recreational activities. Ranch lands, rivers, meadows and lakes, are provide hours of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking fun. Try your hand at western life with the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo. Visit Jandana Ranch, where horses roam free. Test your swing at Chinook Cove Golf a 9-hole, championship golf course. Embark on a legendary fishing adventure angling for Kamloops trout at fly-in fishing camps. Perhaps you’d prefer to explore Johnson Lake Resort, or hundreds of other lakes and rivers in the area.

Stay for the night in Barriere and area at locally owned and operated motels and inns, charming bed and breakfasts, RV parks, and fishing resorts.

The gateway to the North Thompson consists of the District of Barriere and Electoral Area O (Lower North Thompson — population 2,978) and Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks population 4,081).

Barriere is 66 kilometres (41 mi) north from Kamloops along the Yellowhead Highway. It 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 and Highway 24, and Heffley Creek, located on Hwy 5.

There’s a medical clinic in town and a nearby fire department.

Clearwater / Wells Gray

Clearwater / Wells Gray Provincial Park, and Vavenby

This thriving community is the gateway to countless recreational activities both in town, and nearby in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Fuel up and stock up on groceries in Clearwater if you plan on spending time exploring Wells Gray Provincial Park. There are no such provisions once you’re out in the wild.

Clearwater, (population 2,400) is the largest town in the North Thompson Valley. It is at the confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers some 126 km (78 mi) north of Kamloops.

If you choose to stay in Clearwater overnight, you’ll find an assortment of accommodations here including modest hotels, motels, RV resorts and family-run bed and breakfasts.

Medical facilities are available and include a hospital, medical clinic and dental practice for the area. Emergency services include a fire department, police detachment and search and rescue operation.

Wells Gray Provincial Park

Explore the stunning waterfalls, including Helmcken, fourth tallest in Canada. Whitewater raft through rapids, or float the Clearwater River, searching the shores for signs of wildlife. Canoe or kayak Murtle Lake, North America’s largest paddle only lake. Hiking, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and many more recreational activities abound in Wells Gray.

Wells Gray Park is pure Canadian wilderness with 5,250 square kilometres (3,262 mi) of land to play in. Created from volcanoes and carved by glaciers, this is where you can enjoy both front country and backcountry recreation.

Blue River and Valemount

Blue River and Avola

The midway point between Vancouver, BC and Edmonton, AB, the hamlet of Blue River (population: 260) has long been known as the Jewel of the Yellowhead Highway. You’ll find Blue River at the confluence of the Blue River and North Thompson River in the North Thompson Valley. It is 229 km (139 mi) north of Kamloops, in the shadow of the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains.

Explore Blue River’s greatest assets, its unrivalled recreational activities including some of BC’s finest deep powder skiing at Mike Wiegele’s Heli-skiing. Come summer, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, searching for wildlife, or paddling Murtle Lake, the largest canoe-only lake in North America.

Rest for the night in Blue River, with a choice of hotels, motels, RV resorts, locally owned B&Bs and rugged backcountry campsites well off the beaten path.

A hospital services the surrounding area. There is also emergency services include a fire department and search and rescue operation.


Valemount (population:1,020) sits at the northern reach of the Rocky Mountain Trench, 322 km (200 mi) north of Kamloops and just 120 km (75 mi) from the entrance of Jasper National Park. Mount Robson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, looms over Valemount where outdoor recreation is king. Hike in or helicopter up to Berg Lake (Alpine/Berg Lake) area. Explore waterfalls, ice-capped lakes, and camp overnight. Walk, bike, canoe, or cross-country ski through Cranberry Marsh, where three mountain ranges converge and 140 species of bird can be found. Raft big water on the Fraser River in summer, or explore the area via snowmobile or dogsled once winter makes its mark.

Emergency services are available including a Medical Clinic, fire, RCMP, and search and rescue.