Lytton is one of the oldest continuously settled communities in all of North America. Built on the site of a First Nations village known as Camchin ("the meeting place"), Lytton was also a stopping place along the route taken by hardy prospectors as they made their way north to the gold fields.
The explorer Simon Fraser visited this site in 1808, travelling down the great river which now bears his name, seeking a route to the Pacific. He stopped at Lytton, the point of the confluence, and named the green tributary flowing into the Fraser the Thompson River, after his friend and fellow explorer, David Thompson.
The tremendous surge inland for gold and other precious metals saw the Indian trail through the Fraser Canyon expanded to a mule trail in 1860, followed by a wagon road in 1863. By this time, the community known as The Forks had been renamed in honour of the British Colonial Secretary, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
Lytton's appreciation of its Gold Rush history, as well as its thriving First Nations culture, are all visible through the preserved buildings and archives of a bygone era.
Lytton is located at the junction of Highway 12 and Trans-Canada Highway 1, at the north end of the Fraser Canyon and at the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. It is located 107 km (66 mi) north of Hope, 85 km (53 mi) south of Cache Creek and 257 km (160 mi) north east of Vancouver.
The Lytton Museum was built by the Canadian National Railway as a residence in 1942. It was acquired by the Village fifty years later, and was renovated in the early 1990s into its present state. The museum officially opened on July 1st, 1995. It houses documents, relics and photos that go back 150 years.
Jelly roll is a rare natural geological formation comprised of sand and silt that dates back to the Ice Age. It was discovered in a nearby gravel pit and is considered rare as it is one of the largest in the world, if not the largest.
Conveniently located on Highway 1, this is a popular park for hiking, picnicking and swimming. Awe-inspiring views of the Thompson Canyon and quiet strolls on the old Cariboo Wagon Road bring to mind the difficulties encountered by early travellers traversing the western mountain ranges.
Railway buffs will enjoyed the old CN caboose which serves as a mini train museum in Caboose Park, and the excellent photo opportunities of the Cisco Bridges crossing the Fraser just south of town.
The Siska Art Gallery houses a unique collection of traditional and contemporary Native Art. Located in Nlaka'pamux Tribal territory near the top of the Fraser Canyon, the Gallery also showcases superb soapstone carvings by local artists.
Lytton is located between two world-class whitewater rivers, the legendary Thompson and Fraser Rivers. The Thompson is one of the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in Western Canada and thousands come here every year to experience the whitewaters of Devils' Gorge and other rapids. Whitewater rafting is Lytton's largest attraction and is dubbed Canada's Whitewater Rafting Capital.
Pan for gold in the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, following in the footsteps of the Cariboo Gold Rush prospectors of the 1800s.
Fishing is a favourite sport in the Lytton area with many travelling here to fish for record-breaking sturgeon and rainbow trout. Fly-fishing has also been popular here for over 150 years.
The Lytton River Festival is a celebration of two great rivers - the Thompson and Fraser - and their historic and present role in the small community of Lytton. Held annually on Labour Day Weekend in September, an integral part of the celebrations is the Salish First Nations who have lived here for 10,000 years.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia