Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
The town of Clearwater provides easy access to Wells Gray Provincial Park and for the outdoor enthusiast has plenty to offer: lush alpine meadows, birding and wildlife viewing; hiking for every ability and level; boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Waterfalls, glaciers and so much more are all here. Fishing is a popular activity in Clearwater, with many remote lakes in the area to test your angling skills. In winter, the area is a snowy wonderland where you can experience miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, excellent back-country skiing, snow-shoeing, dog-sledding and challenging snowmobiling.
Clearwater is located in the Wells Gray to Mt. Robson area of the Thompson Okanagan region on Yellowhead Hw 5, at the southern end of Wells Grey Provincial Park, 124 km (77 mi) north of Kamloops.
The Thompson Valley was inhabited by First Nations people when the first explorers ventured south through the mountains in the 1860s in their search for gold in the Fraser Valley and the Cariboo. The major First Nations band in the valley was the Okelhs, who, together with the Canim band, were defeated in 1870 by the fierce Chilcotins. Place names such as Fight Lake, Fight Creek, and Battle Mountain all date back to that time.
The Valley was settled shortly after the turn of the century. Clearwater was originally called Raft River by prospector John Smith, the apparent real founder of the settlement.
By 1916 the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed through the valley to become the main mode of transportation, replacing the steamboats that had previously travelled as far north as Vavenby, 30 kilometres east of Clearwater.
Today, Clearwater is a vacation paradise, with the majestic mountains of the world-famous Wells Gray Provincial Park serving as a picturesque backdrop. The remote wilderness, the virgin forest, and the rivers, lakes, and streams all combine to make Clearwater all that it claims to be.