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Our Story

The North Thompson Valley, Wilderness Just a Step Away

Accessibly wild and wildly accessible. Adventure unfolds in the North Thompson Valley of British Columbia, Canada. While you’re here, take the road less travelled and explore 330 kilometres (204 mi) along the Yellowhead Highway. Follow the South Thompson River to Barriere, Clearwater, Wells Gray Provincial Park, Blue River, Valemount, and Mount Robson Provincial Park, with small towns and hamlets in between. You’ll find three mountain ranges, magnificent rivers, and the world’s only temperate inland rainforest. There’s more pure get-away-from-it-all than most people can imagine.

It’s here where our story becomes your story.

Our Story—Where Beauty Fills you with Wonder

Let the natural wonders and panoramic beauty of the North Thompson pull you in. It all slowly unfurls in ranch lands surrounding Barriere, at the rim of Helmcken Falls and over 40 more waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park. You’ll find beauty in the snow-swept alpine of Blue River, and Valemount, or by the banks of the South Thompson, North Thompson, Clearwater, or Fraser rivers.

The Allure of the North Thompson Valley

Travellers have long journeyed through the North Thompson Valley. Indigenous, nomadic Interior Salish First Nations people followed the seasons. They foraged for rosehips in spring, berries in summer, and caught nutrient-rich salmon in fall.

Pioneering Overlanders, seeking their fortune in BC’s gold fields, traversed the North Thompson Valley. They came by foot and on primitive white-water rafts that hauled their worldly possessions. Railway barons followed, seeking an interior route to the coast. Captured by the beauty of this place, many settled here. If you listen and look closely, you can still hear tales of their adventures to this day. Take a guided white-water rafting trip, a scenic voyageur canoe ride, or hike the historic homesteads of Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Our Story—Where Raw, Untamed Adventures Await

This place was crafted by nature, born of shifting tectonic plates, colliding land masses, and fiery, erupting volcanoes. The magnificence of Mother Nature is on display here. The Cariboo, Monashee, and Rocky Mountain ranges frame this picturesque corridor. Outdoor adventures are within your grasp.

Find a Trail Just Right for You

Hike through interior rain forests, wildflower meadows, or windswept craggy trails high above the alpine. You’ll be hiking through a timeless landscape that stays with you forever. The vast, wilderness of the North Thompson Valley combined with exceptionally easy-to-access trail systems means you can be off the flattop and traipsing through the wilderness in no time.

Trek along the peaceful slopes of Sun Peaks where the blossoms paint the mountainside with a kaleidoscope of colour.

Allow time to hike the legendary Berg Lake Trail at Mount Robson Provincial Park near Valemount. There’s a 22 km (14 mi) hike that takes you to the shoreline of turquoise Berg Lake at the toe of the Berg Glacier.

Try hut to hut hiking through Wells Gray Provincial Park on a definitive out-of-bounds outdoor adventure. Trek through cedar and hemlock forests, over the unyielding ridge of the Trophy Mountains, and bed down for the night in cozy, backcountry cabins.

Explore the trails on your companion horse at Jandana Ranch, then reminisce about the day’s adventures around the campfire. Bring your family and explore Cranberry Marsh. It’s an easy meander through a tranquil bird sanctuary. This is serenity at its best.

Roaming Waterways

The 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 thundering drum-beat of numerous waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park calls to you. Explore where cascading waters tumble over hardened lava beds and basalt cliffs.

Dip and glide your paddle through the tranquil waters of Murtle Lake. Get to where you want to go under your own steam in this no-motors lake. Try to tame our rolling rivers as you raft the Fraser and Adams Rivers. Slip into the Clearwater River with waterfalls as your companions.

Meet the Locals

The North Thompson Valley is Canada’s wild kingdom. Spotting wild game is expected here. Venture into the wilds of Wells Gray Provincial Park and keep an eye out. This is where the wild things are. Grizzly and black bears, moose, eagles, mule deer, salmon, and more. Keep a watchful eye.

If you prefer your wild encounters to be those of the winged kind, then stroll, bike, or canoe Valemount’s Cranberry Marsh. This wetland wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 140 species of birds.

Our Story Might Give You Chills

Breathe deep as the crisp air fills your lungs and snowflakes dance on your skin. Balance on two skis on the crest of a mountain with oceans of snow in your wake. Trek through a timberland forest of white, to frozen lakes shimmering in the sun under wide blue skies.

Fuel your adrenaline on a ski trip of a lifetime. Mike Wiegele’s Helicopter Skiing equals a day on the slopes like no other. Surround yourself with blankets of white untouched powder at Sun Peaks Resort. Head to the hamlets of Valemount, Blue River, and Barriere where you’ll find great places for you to steer your snowmobile through snow-filled open ranges and frost-dipped trees.

Our Story is One of Celebration

Our communities know how to throw a great party and we want you to join us. Tradition and community spirit is firmly rooted in the heart of the Lower North Thompson and Barriere. It’s where the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo has been fuelling raw bucking power for over 70 years. Jump in on the western action and feel the palpable excitement from the top of your hat to the toes of your boots.

Many of our communities celebrate the seasons year round. Check with the Visitor Centres to find out exact dates and times.

Essential Experiences of the North Thompson Valley

  1. Encounter the heart-racing adrenaline of Mike Wiegele’s Helicopter Skiing in Blue River — where epic snow meets complete luxury
  2. Ski Canada’s second-largest ski resort, and Canada’s alpine village at Sun Peaks Resort where 4,270 acres of terrain, over 30 kilometers (19 miles) of cross-country ski trails means there’s a run for everyone
  3. Feel the exhilarating freedom of flying through our backcountry oasis astride a Snowmobile bound for big alpine bowls of steep and deep powder
  4. Watch for wildlife such as birds, bears, and other woodland creatures
  5. Play eye spy to see how many winged beasts you can count at Cranberry Marsh in Valemount
  6. Pack your camera and fill your memory card trying to capture the undeniably beautiful liquid dance of our waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park
  7. Ride the watery bucking bronco of our rivers rafting the rapids, or float along at a leisurely pace, taking in every sight you can
  8. Become blissfully aware of the tranquil stillness of Murtle Lake, where only paddles roam
  9. Exult in the peaceful rhythm of paddling a Voyageur Canoe, just like our First Nations community once did in Blue River
  10. Discover ranch life in the most unique way as you learn the psychology of horses at Jandana Ranch.
  11. Discover just how long eight seconds really is at the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo in Barriere
  12. Hike or take a helicopter to the top of the world where jagged mountain peaks stand sentry over a turquoise glacial Berg Lake near Valemount
  13. Hike hut to hut on three, five or seven-day guided excursions through the backcountry wilderness of Wells Gray Provincial Park