Animals of the North Thompson Valley

In the heart of North America's inland temperate rainforest, a rich tapestry of wildlife thrives. From bears to birds, the North Thompson wilderness offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep a keen eye during your journey along the Yellowhead Highway, where bears, moose, deer and more, roam freely. Embark on hikes to discover hoofprints and pawprints etched in the pristine terrain, revealing the presence of local inhabitants. Delve into birding havens such as the Mount Robson provincial park and Cranberry Marsh in Valemount, where over 250 avian species find refuge amid diverse landscapes. Witness the mesmerizing spectacle of salmon leaping in their ancestral migration, a testament to the region's ecological vitality. Whether in spring or autumn, wildlife thrives, while winter invites exploration utilizing tracking skills in the gentle snowfall. Discover the symphony of nature's wonders in the North Thompson, capturing timeless moments with binoculars and camera in hand.

Remember, safety is paramount in wildlife encounters, ensuring harmony between humans and the natural world.

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Hatchery Tours
& Salmon Viewing

Throughout the year, the North Thompson Valley teems with fish, a testament to its vibrant aquatic ecosystem. From high atop the mountains, where ancient glaciers melt in spring, rivers surge, carrying life-giving waters all the way to the Pacific Ocean. With hundreds of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands dotting the landscape, visitors find endless opportunities for wildlife encounters, salmon viewing, fishing, and cultural experiences.

Fishing enthusiasts are drawn to the region's vast expanse of lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of Sockeye Salmon returning to their spawning grounds in September and October. At locations like Bailey’s Chute in Wells Gray Provincial Park, marvel as these resilient fish overcome formidable obstacles on their 4,000-kilometer journey from the ocean. Experience the excitement of a "dominant" salmon run occurring every fourth year, with millions of fish surging back to their native waters.

Explore the rich cultural heritage of the Simpcw First Nation, leaders in sustainable fish harvesting methods. Visit Dunn Creek Hatchery, managed by the Simpcw, where thousands of Coho salmon are raised annually to support local waterways. Join in the Raft River First Fish Ceremony, held annually in August, featuring traditional activities like pit cooking, storytelling, and salmon viewing.

Take a fascinating tour of the Clearwater Trout Hatchery, where over 3 million fish are raised to be released into lakes across British Columbia each year. Learn about the various strains of rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee salmon bred here, including the unique salmon exclusive to this hatchery. Enjoy a self-guided tour year-round, with staff on hand to answer questions and provide fishing gear for a memorable angling experience.

Join the Simpcw, Spruce City Wildlife Association and Tourism Valemount as they release up to 20,000 Chinook fry at the annual send off in May. View returning Chinook Salmon in late summer to early autumn at Swift Creek at the George Hicks Regional Park. This salmon species is endangered, but through the ongoing efforts of the Spruce City hatchery and Simpcw Nation their numbers are hoped to increase.

Places to Visit for Salmon Viewing
Rearguard Falls Provincial Park (Valemount)
George Hicks Regional Park (Valemount)
Raft River Viewing Park (Clearwater)
Bailey’s Chute in Wells Gray Provincial Park (Wells Gray Park)

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The North Thompson boasts a thriving bear population, making it a premier spot for bear sightings in British Columbia. In warmer months, bears are commonly spotted along roads and lakes, especially during May and June as they emerge from hibernation. Keep watch along lake shores and rivers, where you might catch a glimpse of a mother bear cooling off with her cubs. Black bears primarily dine on plants, enjoying a feast of greens, berries, and salmon during spawning season.

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Small Animals

Small furry creatures abound in the North Thompson, adding to the wildlife experience. Listen for the scurrying of pika and marmot on rocky terrain, while squirrels and chipmunks dart among the trees in search of food. Beavers and muskrats inhabit marshlands and slow-moving river sections, contributing to the ecosystem's vitality through their dam-building activities.

Hoofed Animals

Witness hoofed animals traversing the valley, including elk spotted around Mount Robson Provincial Park, Cranberry Marsh, and McBride. Majestic moose graze along shorelines, while mountain goats showcase their agility on rocky terrains. Caribou and mule deer cautiously navigate high basins and forested slopes, completing the diverse wildlife tapestry of the North Thompson.

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This website is the official travel website for the North Thompson Valley, British Columbia, Canada and is sponsored by the North Thompson Valley Marketing Committee; a partnership of Tourism Wells Gray, Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Tourism Valemount.