Hit the highway and experience the North Thompson Valley as a whole
Now that we’re able to explore BC again, why not discover (or re-discover) a land of endless adventure. Your road trip through the North Thompson will take you through quaint valleys, alongside wild running rivers, crescendoing with the crown jewel of the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson. Put your hiking boots through their paces as you explore vibrant alpine meadows, and an ancient waterfall park borne of volcanoes but sculpted by glaciers. Pitch a tent lakeside and unwind in front of a fire while recounting the journey that has been, and speculate on what tomorrow will hold. A road trip through the North Thompson Valley will leave you with remarkable stories to reflect on, and an uncanny yearning to return for more adventure.
The Lower North Thompson and Barriere are eager to greet you as you arrive in our region. Barriere as the gateway to the North Thompson is fitting, as it’s a laid back introduction to an area of the province that is both imposing and wild. Life is different in Barriere. Visitors will notice long stretches of ranch lands which is an indicator of the western roots that run deep here. While still boasting the prime access to nature and gorgeous vistas of the North Thompson, Barriere is known for its horseback trail riding, and legendary fishing adventures. Along with fishing resorts, camping and ranch stays are popular accommodations. When you’re relaxing in the countryside with nothing but the sound of nature to hear, you’ll truly appreciate Barriere.
Clearwater & Wells Gray
Head 40 minutes up the road to Clearwater and make sure you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! Clearwater is the largest town in the North Thompson and there’s tons of adventure to be had in the form of hikes, watersports and mountain biking. Clearwater also serves as the gateway to Wells Gray Provincial Park, also known as Canada’s Waterfall Park. Wells Gray has 5,250 square km (3,262 mi) of pure Canadian wilderness to explore and 41 named waterfalls to discover! Chief among these waterfalls is Helmcken Falls, which with a 141 meter cascade, registers as the fourth largest waterfall in Canada. Each waterfall is magnificent in its own way, taking form in all shapes and sizes. Some waterfalls are accessible just off of the main road, while others may require a bit of a hike to bask in their glory. It’s your road trip, so you should scope out which iconic waterfalls fit your exploration standards!
Stylized as the Jewel of the Yellowhead Highway, Blue River awaits you next on your journey through the North Thompson. Blue River is an outdoors playground where visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and searching for wildlife! Time spent outdoors in Blue River is time well spent. Vistas of both the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains will be accompanying you just about wherever your adventures take you here. The largest canoe-only lake in North America, Murtle Lake, provides azure blue waters and the serenades of nature as you revitalize your spirit with fresh mountain air. There are back-country canoe camping experiences aplenty on Murtle Lake too!
From Blue River you will head on up to Valemount, which shares the recreational opportunities of the other parts of our region but takes them to the extreme! Downhill mountain biking is taken seriously in these parts and Valemount even has its own fully equipped bike park. There’s also some pretty wicked whitewater rafting in the area for the adrenaline junkies who want to push the pace a little bit. Cranberry Marsh is a natural oasis and provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy birding & nature for those trying to slow things down.
One thing though, that you can’t miss about Valemount is that the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, looms over the town. Mount Robson Provincial Park is filled with old growth forests, ferocious waterfalls and lovely wildflower meadows. The Berg Lake Trail is the marquee hike which takes you directly to the highest peak but alongside the turquoise waters of Berg & Kinney lakes and past the crashing of Emperor Falls. Hikers can do a multi-day exploration of the Provincial Park or a half day heli-hike. There’s no place in British Columbia like Mount Robson Provincial Park, and you need to experience it for yourself.
The North Thompson Valley has been waiting patiently for travel restrictions to lift, and we know you have too. This summer, get out and explore beautiful British Columbia. There’s no better way to experience all the North Thompson has to offer than on a road trip!