The variable topography of the Thompson region creates some of the most beautiful scenery in British Columbia, and some of its most exciting whitewater rapids.
Whitewater rafting trips on the pristine Clearwater River in Wells Gray Provincial Park rank amongst the best of the best that BC has to offer. Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of British Columbia’s largest and most spectacular parks (540,000 hectares), with its area encompassing the greater part of the Clearwater River watershed. Professional whitewater rafting companies are located in Clearwater.
For 19th-century traders laden with pelts and supplies, the rapids, waterfalls and rock canyons of the upper Clearwater River held little charm. But for modern whitewater adventurers, the often turbulent ride through the boulder gardens and foamy chutes of this fast-flowing waterway is nothing short of spectacular.
The Clearwater River has been called one of the most breathtaking tributaries of the Fraser system, and is rated class IV, offering big waves and high-volume rapids with intimidating names like The Wall and Tsunami. The peak season to raft the Clearwater is May to September.
The wildlife in Wells Gray is abundant, as the park provides habitat for many species. Some of the park’s largest inhabitants include mule deer, caribou, moose, mountain goats, black bears and grizzlies. Other small animals such as weasels, martens, minks, wolverines, beavers, coyotes and timber wolves also live in the park.
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The popular class 111 to IV Thompson River has 25 sets of whitewater rapids in a rugged, desert-like environment, with chilling names like the Devil’s Kitchen, the Washing Machine, the Witch’s Cauldron, and the Jaws of Death, the most famous rapid on the river. The clear green water of the Thompson River converges with the churning brown water of the Fraser River at their confluence, creating a mixing whirlpool for more than a mile downstream.
The town of Lytton on Trans-Canada Highway 1, three hours north of Vancouver, is the departure point for rafting on the Thompson. The peak season to raft the Thompson River, the largest tributary of the Fraser River, is July to September.
Professionally guided whitewater rafting as well as whitewater kayaking trips are popular on the Adams River, located within Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. Rafters can careen over The Ledge, blast through the Ender Waves and shoot through the Adams River Gorge.
The Adams River (rated class I to III) has dangerous sections that include numerous sweepers and log jams that are not always visible in advance. Navigation below the bridge is not recommended, and inner tubes and air mattresses are not recommended for travel on the Adams River. The Adams River put-in is near Scotch Creek, east of Kamloops. The best time to raft the Adams River is May to September.