North America > Canada > British Columbia > Thompson-Okanagan > Thompson-Nicola
Thompson-Nicola is a region in the central interior of British Columbia, Canada. It is a sparsely populated area that follows the Thompson River to its headwaters near Wells Gray Park in the north and includes the Nicola River valley to the south.
South Thompson and Nicola Valley
- 1 Kamloops — largest city in the area
- 2 Cache Creek — the starting point for exploring the Cariboo region
- 3 Merritt — calls itself the Country Music Capital of Canada and hosts the annual Rockin' River Musicfest
Fraser Canyon and Lillooet Country
Dramatic canyons and valleys that transition between British Columbia's Lower Mainland and the interior of the province. The small towns and villages allude to a time past when they played a key role in the gold rushes and opening up the province. The Fraser Canyon (along with the Thompson Canyon) is a narrow canyon which contains two railways, the Trans-Canada Highway.
- 4 Boston Bar — centre of the Fraser Canyon and home of Hell's Gate.
- 5 Lillooet — Mile 0 on the old Cariboo Wagon Road
- 6 Lytton — junction town where Highway 12 splits off the Trans-Canada to follow the Fraser Canyon to Lillooet
- 1 Bridge River Valley — the upper part of the Bridge River Country, famous for gold mining history and scenery
- 2 Sun Peaks — ski area with year round activities
The region had a population of 133,000 in 2016, over three quarters of whom lived in Kamloops.
The language of this area is English.
From the United States, scenic Route 97 goes through British Columbia’s Central Interior, and the North Thompson Valley.
The Jasper and Columbia Icefields Parkway is a scenic wilderness loop through the North Thompson Valley and Columbia Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93).
The Kamloops regional airport gets flights from Calgary, Vancouver, Prince George and Edmonton (seasonally).
Ebus connects Merritt to Kamloops. Kamloops is served locally by BC Transit.
- Lillooet is a beautiful town that is a great base for exploring the Fraser Canyon.
- BC Wildlife Park, in Kamloops, is a local zoo with many animals from around BC, such as bears (black & grizzly), wolves, cougars, bighorn sheep, and rattlesnakes.
- Historic Hat Creek,near Cache Creek, is on one of the few sections of the original Cariboo Wagon Roads still accessible to the public. The ranch includes almost 130 hectares (320 acres) of fields and hills. The buildings stand as they did in 1901; some were built as early as 1860.
- The Hell's Gate Airtram, 10 km south of Boston Bar, is a gondola ride over the white water of the Fraser Canyon.
- There is alpine skiing at Sun Peaks Resort just north of Kamloops, whitewater rafting on the North Thompson River (Lytton claims to be the Rafting Capital of Canada), boating on the massive 200-km length of manmade Kinbasket Lake, and horseback riding in various locations through the region.
- The Kamloops Heritage Railway, is a steam locomotive that goes for a one-hour excursion from the historic former CNR station.
- The Rockin' River Musicfest is four-day country music festival in Merritt on the first weekend in August. For a different vibe, check out the Bass Coast Music Festival, in early July, an electronic music festival founded and run by women with no sponsors or corporate presence.
Be aware of wildlife, avalanche hazards, and adverse driving conditions.
Mount Robson in the North Thompson and Robson Valley is not to be missed. At 3,954 m (12,972 ft), it is the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. It is rare to see this mountain completely cloud-free, it is so tall it seems to make its own weather. However, if you do happen to see it on one of those rare bluebird days you will know instantly that you are seeing something special. It's on Hwy 16 just east of where it meets Hwy 5 (about 20 km northeast of Valemount).