North Thompson Valley
North Thompson Valley

hikes in North Thompson Valley

Region in British Columbia, Canada
North Thompson Valley Trail Map

The North Thompson Valley is a gorgeous stretch of rugged and wild terrain within British Columbia’s central interior that expands southward from the Monashee and Cariboo mountains towards Kamloops. Dissected by the imposing North Thompson River - the large tributary of the Fraser River - the landscape in this beautiful region is relatively untouched, yet easily accessible, making it the ideal place to explore and reconnect with nature, no matter the season.

Hiking trails in the North Thompson Valley vary greatly and range from easy city walks to rugged backcountry adventures, and everything in between. Vast stretches of grassland offer the chance to roam the countryside under the great blue sky, while forested hikes further to the north will allow you to explore serene woodland landscapes that are home to some of the most dramatic and beautiful waterfalls that can be found in Canada. Regardless of your age, skill level, or the type of adventure you are after, you can rest assured that a trip to the North Thompson Valley will produce amazing experiences and lasting memories that you won’t soon forget.

The 10 Most Stunning Hikes In the North Thompson Valley

The variety of breathtaking terrain and wild nature of the landscapes within the North Thompson Valley make it an ideal destination for exploring the rugged central interior of British Columbia. Vast swathes of rolling grassland hills, stretches of arid terrain, gorgeous meadows, and dramatic mountain peaks all characterize this nearly untouched region and make it the perfect place to set out on a backcountry adventure. Whether you are looking to access the challenging mountain trails to the north or the family-friendly riverside walks around Kamloops, you will be sure to find your perfect hiking adventure in the North Thompson Valley. Check out this fantastic list of hiking routes that we’ve put together below:

  • Stake Lake Cartwheel Trail: This short trail in McConnell Lake Provincial Park will lead you around a charming lake for beautiful views of the water and surrounding woodland landscape. The laidback terrain of the forests and grassland meadows make this quick adventure perfect for a family excursion.
  • Margaret Falls Upper Loop: Located in Herald Provincial Park, the Margaret Falls Upper Loop is a wonderful forest hike that will take you to a viewpoint looking onto a stunning waterfall. There are a few steep stretches on this hike, but for the most part it is suitable for hikers of every skill level.
  • Battle Bluff Trail: This awesome trail in Kamloops will lead you uphill to a rocky lookout with views that sweep across Kamloops Lake and the surrounding valley landscape. With a moderate overall distance and well-maintained paths that are dog-friendly, this hike is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
  • Lac du Bois: A stunning hike through Lac du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park, this trail will lead you through rolling hills and picturesque meadows for amazing lakeside views with a mountain backdrop. This is another dog-friendly trail in the Kamloops area, meaning you won’t need to leave any family members behind when out exploring the area.
  • McConnell Lake Trail: A quick adventure just south of Kamloops, the McConnell Lake Trail is a family-friendly experience that will take you through a charming woodland landscape to reach a wonderful lakeside setting.
  • Lundbom Lake Loop: This intermediate length trail can be found within the Sugarloaf Mountain Bike Recreation Site and takes you through a beautiful grassland landscape characterized by scenic rolling hills. The easy to navigate terrain and access to countless other routes in the area make this awesome hike suitable for those of beginner and experienced skill levels.
  • Rivers Trail: This 8.0mi out-and-back trail near Kamloops will lead you along the Thompson River, providing beautiful views of nearby mountains and the surrounding valley landscape. Bordering the Tranquille Wildlife Management Area, this features some pleasant terrain that is suitable for hikers of nearly every skill level.
  • Deep Lake Hike: Another short trail in the Kamloops area, the Deep Lake Hike will take you to a charming lakeside setting with beautiful views of the city. Don’t underestimate this hike, as initial portions of the trail are quite steep and are not suitable for everyone.
  • Cinnamon Ridge Trail: Offering beautiful views of nearby hoodoo rock formations, the Cinnamon Ridge Trail is a 1.1mi hike that can be found just west of Kamloops. For more experienced adventurers that want a more challenging route, the trail continues uphill through a stretch of steep and rugged terrain.
  • Gibraltar Rock: This short 2.0mi trail will take you to the lookout at Gibraltar Rock for some stunning views overlooking Paul Lake and the surrounding valley landscape. Be bear aware for this adventure, as a nearby campsite often attracts bears that are in search of an easy food source.

When is the Best Time to Hike in the North Thompson Valley?

While the North Thompson Valley is a great destination for year-round exploration, some seasons will definitely provide a more comfortable experience than others when out hiking the trails in the region. As the valley lies in the immediate rainshadow of the Coast Mountains and Cascade Range, summer here will produce some of the hottest weather in Canada, with temperatures often above the 40 ℃ threshold. As such, the most pleasant time of year to explore this beautiful region by foot is in the spring and fall seasons, when temperatures are warm and weather is mild.

Other Outdoor Activities in the North Thompson Valley

In addition to hiking, the diverse landscape of the North Thompson Valley offers access to a number of other popular outdoor activities throughout the various seasons. Fishing, mountain biking, golfing, horseback riding, and watersports like white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing are all popular activities during the summer. For those looking to explore the region during the winter, skiing (both cross-country and downhill), snowshoeing, and dog sledding are all popular activities. No matter what season or activity you are after, the North Thompson Valley offers a wealth of possibilities to enjoy its breathtaking landscapes.

Frequently Asked Questions About the North Thompson Valley

What is the Thompson Valley?

Centred around the hub city of Kamloops, the Thompson Valley can be found in the central interior of British Columbia along the North and South Thompson Rivers.

What type of fish are in the North Thompson River?

As a major tributary of the Fraser River, the North Thompson River is home to a variety of migratory fish species, as well as others that are confined to its waters year-round. Fish species that can be found here are Salmon (Sockeye, Chinook, Coho, Pink), Sturgeon, Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, and Mountain Whitefish.

Find other amazing hiking regions in British Columbia

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The best hikes in North Thompson Valley

Stake Lake Cartwheel Trail

01. Stake Lake Cartwheel Trail
Difficulty

1.6mi 154ft 1h

The Stake Lake Cartwheel Trail is a 1.6mi hiking circuit within McConnell Lake… Read More

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Margaret Falls Upper Loop Trail Map

02. Margaret Falls Upper Loop Trail
Difficulty

3.4mi 787ft 1-2h

The Margaret Falls Upper Loop is a 3.4mi hiking circuit in Herald Provincial… Read More

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McConnell Lake Trail Map

03. McConnell Lake Trail
Difficulty

2.3mi 223ft 1-2h

The McConnell Lake Trail is a 2.3mi hiking circuit south of Kamloops, BC,… Read More

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Lac du Bois Hike

04. Lac du Bois Hike
Difficulty

6.4mi 840ft 2.5-3.5h

The Lac du Bois Trail follows a 6.4mi out-and-back hiking route in Kamloops,… Read More

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Lundbom Lake Loop

05. Lundbom Lake Loop
Difficulty

9.4mi 1,329ft 3-4h

The Lundbom Lake Loop is a 9.4mi hiking circuit within the Sugarloaf Mountain… Read More

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Deep Lake Hike Map

06. Deep Lake Hike
Difficulty

2.1mi 492ft 1-1.5h

The Deep Lake Hike is a 2.1mi hiking circuit in Kamloops, BC, that… Read More

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Coyote Crossing Hike Map

07. Coyote Crossing Hike
Difficulty

1.8mi 390ft 0.5-1h

The Coyote Crossing Hike is a 1.8mi out-and-back hiking route in Kamloops, BC… Read More

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Battle Bluff Trail

08. Battle Bluff Trail
Difficulty

3.3mi 928ft 1-2h

The Battle Bluff Trail is a 3.3mi out-and-back hiking route in Kamloops, BC… Read More

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Rivers Trail Map

09. Rivers Trail
Difficulty

8.0mi 397ft 2-3h

The Rivers Trail is a 8.0mi out-and-back hiking route in Kamloops, BC, that… Read More

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McGillivray Lake Trail

10. McGillivray Lake Trail
Difficulty

5.3mi 689ft 2-3h

The McGillivray Lake Trail is an 5.3mi lollipop hiking route that sets out… Read More

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Yes, there are more than 10

North Thompson Valley is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in North Thompson Valley that you should take a look at as well

Scatchard Mountain Switchbacks Map

11. Scatchard Mountain Switchbacks
Difficulty

4.1mi 781ft 1-2h

The Scatchard Mountain Switchbacks follow a 4.1mi out-and-back hiking route in Chase, BC,… Read More

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Community Trail-Map

12. Community Trail
Difficulty

8.3mi 518ft 3.5-5h

The Community Trail is a 8.3mi point-to-point hiking route just north of Kamloops,… Read More

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Lac du Bois Tower Loop Map

13. Lac du Bois Tower Loop
Difficulty

4.0mi 610ft 2-3h

The Lac du Bois Tower Loop is a 4.0mi hiking circuit northwest of… Read More

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Gibraltar Rock

14. Gibraltar Rock
Difficulty

2.0mi 597ft 1-2h

The trek to Gibraltar Rock follows a 2.0mi out-and-back trail that sets out… Read More

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Raft Peak Trail

15. Raft Peak Trail
Difficulty

4.0mi 2,172ft 2.5-3.5h

The Raft Peak Trail is a 4.0mi out-and-back hiking route northeast of Clearwater,… Read More

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Embleton Mountain Loop Map

16. Embleton Mountain Loop
Difficulty

5.2mi 1,532ft 3-4h

The Embleton Mountain Loop is an 5.2mi lollipop hiking route northeast of Kamloops… Read More

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Doc Findlay Loop Map

17. Doc Findlay Loop
Difficulty

1.6mi 233ft 0.5-1h

The Doc Findlay Loop is a 1.6mi hiking circuit in Kamloops that passes… Read More

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Altitude Trail Map

18. Altitude Trail
Difficulty

5.6mi 807ft 2-3h

The Altitude Trail is a 5.6mi lollipop hiking route at the Sun Peaks… Read More

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Sun Peaks Loop Trail

19. Sun Peaks Loop Trail
Difficulty

5.7mi 958ft 2-3h

The Sun Peaks Loop Trail is a 5.6mi lollipop hiking route at the… Read More

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Armour Mountain Trail Map

20. Armour Mountain Trail
Difficulty

3.9mi 1,263ft 1.5-2h

The Armour Mountain Trail is a 3.9mi lollipop hiking route that will take… Read More

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Dewdrop Range Trail

21. Dewdrop Range Trail
Difficulty

9.2mi 2,972ft 5-6h

The Dewdrop Range Trail is a 9.2mi out-and-back hiking route near Kamloops that… Read More

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Hoodoo Mara Mountain Connector Trail Map

22. Hoodoo Mara Mountain Connector Trail
Difficulty

4.7mi 2,241ft 2.5-3.5h

The Hoodoo Mara Mountain Connector is a challenging 4.7mi lollipop hiking route within… Read More

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Cinnamon Ridge Trail Map

23. Cinnamon Ridge Trail
Difficulty

1.1mi 528ft 0.5-1h

The Cinnamon Ridge Trail is a 1.1mi lollipop hiking route in Kamloops that… Read More

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Sun Peaks Hike

24. Sun Peaks Hike
Difficulty

4.6mi 1,955ft 2-3h

The Sun Peaks Hike is a 4.6mi lollipop route at the Sun Peaks… Read More

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Old Mills Trail

25. Old Mills Trail
Difficulty

2.8mi 682ft 1-2h

The Old Mills Trail is a 2.8mi out-and-back hiking route northeast of Kamloops… Read More

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Beacon Hill Trail Map

26. Beacon Hill Trail
Difficulty

4.0mi 509ft 1.5-2.5h

The Beacon Hill hike is a 39.8mi lollipop route just outside of Kamloops… Read More

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Gibraltar Rock from Paul Lake Hike

27. Gibraltar Rock from Paul Lake Hike
Difficulty

3.8mi 633ft 1.5-2.5h

The Gibraltar Rock from Paul Lake Hike is a 3.8mi out-and-back route north… Read More

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Gibraltar Rock via Bluff Trail

28. Gibraltar Rock via Bluff Trail
Difficulty

2.5mi 344ft 1-2h

Hiking to Gibraltar Rock via the Bluff Trail follows a 2.5mi out-and-back trail… Read More

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Tom Moore Trail Map

29. Tom Moore Trail
Difficulty

3.0mi 751ft 1-2h

The Tom Moore Trail is a 3.0mi lollipop hiking route in Kamloops, BC,… Read More

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Kenna Cartwright Ridge Trail Map

30. Kenna Cartwright Ridge Trail
Difficulty

3.2mi 715ft 1-2h

The Kenna Cartwright Ridge Trail is a 3.2mi lollipop hiking route in Kamloops,… Read More

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Red Tailed Hawk Loop Map

31. Red Tailed Hawk Loop
Difficulty

3.8mi 538ft 1.5-2h

The Red Tailed Hawk Loop is a 3.8mi lollipop hiking route in Kamloops… Read More

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Hull Hill Trail Map

32. Hull Hill Trail
Difficulty

4.8mi 531ft 2-3h

The Hull Hill Trail is a 4.8mi out-and-back hiking route south of Kamloops,… Read More

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Stake Lake to Ponderosa Trail

33. Stake Lake to Ponderosa Trail
Difficulty

2.8mi 272ft 1-2h

The Stake Lake to Ponderosa Trail is a 2.8mi hiking circuit south of… Read More

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Drifter and Cowpoke Loop Map

34. Drifter and Cowpoke Loop
Difficulty

6.6mi 771ft 2-3h

The Drifter and Cowpoke Loop is a 6.6mi hiking circuit south of Kamloops… Read More

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Mara Mountain Cliffs South Hike Map

35. Mara Mountain Cliffs South Hike
Difficulty

8.7mi 2,238ft 4-6h

The Mara Mountain Cliffs South is a tough lollipop hiking route in Kamloops that climbs… Read More

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Mara Loop Trail Map

36. Mara Loop Trail
Difficulty

3.4mi 725ft 1-2h

The Mara Loop Trail is a scenic hiking circuit in Kamloops, BC, that winds through… Read More

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