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Spences Bridge: Photo Don Weixl

Spences Bridge

For the ultimate water-sport experience, head to the small town of Spences Bridge. Located at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers in the Thompson Okanagan‘s Gold Country, people come here for two primary reasons: to fish or to river raft. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, an angler or a rafter, the quaint town of Spences Bridge has much to offer. Nearby Goldpan Provincial Park offers a quiet spot to swim, canoe, kayak or do a little fishing. Take a short hike to Murray Falls just west of the town, try your hand at goldpanning, or pick up a handy guide and do some geocaching.

Location

Spences Bridge is located on Trans-Canada Highway 1 60 km (38 mi) south of Cache Creek and approximately 50 km (39 mi) north of Lytton.

A Step Back in Time

Prior to the Goldrush, Mortimer Cook, an American, and his partner Charles Kimball, had been freighters for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Thompson and Nicola River peoples had previously lived in the region for thousands of years, hunting deer and fishing for salmon. With the sudden influx of prospectors on their way to the goldfields, Cook and Kimball built a rope ferry across the Thompson River, and the area became known as Cook’s Ferry. By 1864, the ferry had been replaced with a bridge that was built by road contractor Thomas Spence during the construction of the Cariboo Road from Yale to Barkerville. In 1892, the population of Spences Bridge included 32 people of European ancestry and 130 First Nations people. There were 5 general stores, 3 hotels, one Church of England, and one school.

In 1905, a terrible tragedy occurred just below Spence’s Bridge. A large slide came down, burying a First Nations village, damming the river for four hours, and washing the bridge out. Today the area is mostly a wasteland of sagebrush with some cultivated fields where irrigation allows.

Today the population of Spences Bridge is about 140. Both the Trans-Canada Highway and the CPR railway pass through the community, and Highway 8 from Merritt and the rest of the Nicola Country meet the Trans-Canada in town. Today, this is still the main rancherie of the Cook’s Ferry First Nation, a Nlaka’pamux band of the Nicola Tribal Alliance. Agriculture is a major industry and produce of soft fruits and vegetables are sold in stalls beside the highway in town, at wayside stops, and at nearby roadside communities such as Bighorn and Shaw Springs.

Contact Information

Explore Gold Country

Spences Bridge & Nearby Accommodations

3 Listings

Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins

Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins

Spences Bridge

Located in the historic community of Spences Bridge, Acacia Grove RV Park & Cabins is situated on a lush setting overlooking the famous Thompson River. Our well-appointed duplex and triplex cabins are self-contained with air conditioning, fully-equipped kitchens, two or three beds, and picnic tables ... More Details
Sundance Guest Ranch

Sundance Guest Ranch

Ashcroft

Located in warm Ashcroft with endless panoramic views of the open Thompson River Valley, Sundance Guest Ranch is the ideal getaway for the weekend or a week-long vacation. Only a four hour drive from Vancouver and easy access via three different picturesque routes, guests can escape their busy lives ... More Details
KUMSHEEN Rafting Resort

KUMSHEEN Rafting Resort

Lytton

Kick back and relax or stay active, the choice is yours. Kumsheen’s luxurious, activity-filled adventure resort is one of BC’s premier tourism destinations, ideal for short or long visits. Offering first class service and a variety of accommodation options, we welcome guests to enjoy their stay ... More Details
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Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989