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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.


Map of Thompson-Nicola

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

View of Fraser Canyon looking upstream from Fountain, British Columbia.

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

Other destinations

  • 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
  • Douglas Lake Ranch Douglas Lake Cattle Company on Wikipedia — large cattle ranch near Merritt


Old Kamloops Courthouse

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.

Get in


By plane


Airport within this region with scheduled commercial flights


By car


British Columbia roads have been vulnerable to natural disasters such as major flooding in November 2021 and wildfires in August 2023. You can check with DriveBC for up-to-date road conditions and road restrictions after clicking the Major Events tab.

  • Highway 97
    • Travels north from the border with the United States, the Okanagan cities of Kelowna and Vernon, before entering the region, passing through Kamloops.
    • Travels south from Prince George via Williams Lake on its way to Kamloops via Cache Creek.

By bus


By train

See also: Rail travel in Canada

Get around


By public transit


BC Transit operates local bus services in Cache Creek, Kamloops, and Merritt.

By boat


Inland Ferries. Operated under contract for British Columbia's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, inland ferries are vehicle ferries that connect roads across rivers and lakes. Routes operate throughout the year, but some river ferries may not operate during parts of the Spring due to river conditions. Free. Ferry in this region:

  • 1 Lytton Reaction Ferry. Daily 12:45 AM - 2:30 AM, 3:00 AM - 4:45 AM, 5:00AM - 8:45 AM, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM, 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM, 4:45 PM - 6:30 PM, 7:00 PM - 8:45 PM, 9:00 AM - 12:30 AM. Crosses the Fraser River about 2 km north of Lytton using a turn off from Highway 12. 5 minutes crossing. Operates on demand. Lytton Ferry (Q6710420) on Wikidata Lytton Ferry on Wikipedia


Bridge near Lillooet
  • 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.
Kamloops Heritage Railway
  • The Kamloops Heritage Railway in Kamloops has 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.

Stay safe


Be aware of wildlife, avalanche hazards, and adverse driving conditions.

Go next


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).

This region travel guide to Thompson-Nicola is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.