The High Country region of British Columbia is situated in the Thompson Okanagan tourism region of BC. High Country is better known as the North Thompson, and incorporates the North Thompson River, the Nicola Valley, and the Shuswap Highlands. High Country is served by three major highways: the Yellowhead Highway in the northern part of High Country, the Trans-Canada Highway along the southern section, and the Coquihalla Highway entering High Country from the town of Hope in the south.
This southern stretch of Highway 5, the Yellowhead Highway, follows the green-hued North Thompson River as it flows south through the forested hillsides and grasslands of the Thompson Plateau. This is a quiet, lightly populated region, and travellers along this route soon realize that they’re sharing this part of British Columbia with relatively few people. Nothing is as arresting as the sight of snaggle-toothed Mount Robson or the sinuous, green-tinted surface of the North Thompson River. It’s easy to go with the flow here.
The Yellowhead Pass (elevation 3,730 feet/1138 m), is 48 miles (77 km) east of Tete Jaune Cache on the British Columbia/Alberta border, and marks the border between Mount Robson Provincial Park and Jasper National Park. Both Tete Jaune Cache and Yellowhead were the nicknames of an early 19th-century fur trader and trapper – either Francois Decoigne, or Pierre Hatsinaton. Which of these blond fellows was it? Only the mountains know for sure.
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Arriving in High Country on the Trans Canada Highway 1 from the town of Hope, the Trans-Canada proceeds east of the Fraser Canyon and climbs onto the open Thompson Plateau. The arid, eroded windswept countryside here is one of the most unusually beautiful landscapes in British Columbia, and that’s saying a great deal. Thanks to widespread irrigation on farmland in the region you’ll find roadside fruit and vegetable stands between Lytton and Cache Creek, a welcome stop for travellers looking to stretch their legs.
A series of gentle mountain ranges rolls between the Thompson Plateau in the west and the Shuswap Highlands to the east, then rises dramatically in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains between Revelstoke and Golden near the British Columbia/Alberta border. Travellers between the two towns must negotiate Rogers Pass (elevation 4,534 feet/1382 m), one of the great mountain crossings in the province and certainly the Trans-Canada Highway’s crowning glory. The lofty sensation of crossing Rogers Pass is one of the rewards for travelling here.
From Hope in the south, the Coquihalla Highway crests the summit of Coquihalla Pass, then crosses the top of the Thompson Plateau, with side roads leading off into rolling countryside speckled with fishing lakes. The Coquihalla Highway was the only toll road in BC – a toll route to Merritt and Kamloops that was an alternative to driving between Hope and Kamloops on the Trans-Canada highway. The toll was eliminated in September 2008 after recovery of the construction cost of the Hope-to-Merritt section.
The following towns are located in High Country:
The following major parks are located in High Country:
Location: High Country is located in the Central Interior of British Columbia, bordered by the Okanagan Valley to the south, the Kootenays and BC Rockies to the east, the Cariboo to the west, and North East BC to the north.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in British Columbia.