The North Thompson River was once the busy highway of the First Nations people and, later, the fur traders, gold prospectors, ranchers, and settlers. The stunning scenery and surroundings beckon travellers to explore the area using a range of transportation, from horseback riding and helicopters, to ATVs, snowmobiles and white water rafting.
The Gateway to the North Thompson Valley was originally the gathering site for the Shuswap people, and their history is honoured in the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park.
Little Fort, also known as the 'Hub of the North Thompson', is situated at the junction where Hwy 24 and the Yellowhead Hwy 5 meet, 31 km (19 mi) south of Clearwater and 31 km (19 mi) north of Barriere.
Located 63 km (39 mi) north of Kamloops and 37 km (23 mi) south of Little Fort, west of the Yellowhead Highway at 343 Lilley Road, the North Thompson Museum is housed in a former B.C. Forest Service Ranger Station. The first Forestry Office in 1920 was located on the same property. At that time, it was considered the centre of the town. Artifacts and archival material depicting the history from McLure to Little Fort (Mount Olie) and surrounding areas can be found at the museum.
The Clearwater Ski Hill is located in the interior of British Columbia in the community of Clearwater. With several difficult runs, plus a "bunny hill" for the beginners, the Clearwater Ski Hill has something for everyone. The comfortable new lodge offers reprieve during a busy day of skiing. If you are hungry or just need a hot drink to warm up, there is a cafeteria within the lodge. The on-site equipment rental, located in the lodge, is convenient for those who do not bring their own.
Golfers can head to Chinook Cove Golf, a championship length 9-hole, par-36 golf course set 3 km (2 mi) north of Barriere. The first four holes are links style, with water coming into play, and the last five holes are carved through the natural forest, with each fairway holding a unique challenging feature. The awesome undulating Providence bentgrass greens are second to none.
Set on the Bonaparte Plateau, a large mid-elevation plateau lake setting has no roads. The area has wild fish stocks and high wilderness recreation values for hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, hunting, and adventure tourism. There are unique geological features including the volcanic plug of Skoatl Point and Stockton Hill south of Bare Lake. Only very rustic camping sites exist, so visitors must be self-sufficient and be prepared for wilderness camping. The park also contains many trails and four fly-in fishing resorts.
Dunn Peak Protected Area is a large wilderness area noted for important wildlife habitat, as and considerable areas of undisturbed old-growth forest. There are many lakes, tarns and swamps. Dunn Peak also includes aoutstanding backcountry recreation opportunities, and spectacular mountain scenery. Note that no camping or day-use facilities are provided.
Take a helicopter in to the Valley's most secluded lakes for a world class fishing adventure. There are over 100 fishing areas to explore, with many impressive resort accommodations to experience.
Several hundred kilometers of horseback trails are mapped and maintained in the Lower North Thompson. There are five main trail systems you can take advantage of that are accessible from Highway 5.
One of the most exhilarating outdoor activities has to be whitewater rafting, and you shouldn't miss the opportunity to indulge in it while you're in the region. For easygoing paddling, the North Thompson River is perfect, using North Thompson River Provincial Park as your base. The current gently pulls paddlers downstream all the way to Kamloops, although you'll need several days to cover the entire distance. River Rafters can ride the swift currents through the canyons of the Clearwater River, and savour the highlight of the trip, a run through the Grade 5 Saber Tooth rapid.
North Thompson Valley
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia