As the Fraser River’s largest tributary, the Thompson River is the adrenaline vein of south central British Columbia. Beginning within the town of Kamloops, where the North Thompson and South Thompson rivers flow west into Kamloops Lake, the river continues for nearly 300 miles until it meets with the flowing Fraser. Within the city limits of Kamloops, tubing, canoeing, and floating the river are popular summer pursuits, where the calm conditions and cool waters make for leisurely, long summer days. Farther down the river, however, between the towns of Ashcroft and Lytton, the river descends steeply into a canyon and froths with whitewater and rapids. This is the heart of rafting country in south central British Columbia, where seemingly every type of whitewater watercraft is splashing through roiling rapids. Grab a paddle and help navigate your group through the scenic, steep-walled canyon, or hang on tight on a powered raft while attempting to not fall in. Aside from the rafting, tubing, and sightseeing, the fishing along the Thompson River also borders on legendary. Anglers converge on Spences Bridge for summer runs of salmon, and the steelhead fishing throughout the fall is some of Canada’s best.
Since the Thompson River is paralleled by the Trans-Canada Highway, towns and stops along the river are easily accessible by car. Lytton is approximately three hours from Vancouver and two hours from Kamloops, and is also accessible by the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. While the river is accessible during all times of year, late summer and early fall are the best for commercial rafting.