Gold Country Kamloops Loop, Thompson Region — BC
400 km (248 mi)
Gold Country has diverse landscapes that range from semi-arid desert to thick forests with lakes, grasslands, meadows, river canyons and mountains. Your adventure can start from Hwy 97C in the central Okanagan to Merritt, where you’ll find 28 heritage sites, or on Hwy 97 where you’ll find Kamloops, the largest city in the Thompson.
It’s cowboy time at the Douglas Lake Ranch in the Nicola Valley. Established in 1884, it is Canada’s largest working cattle ranch. Take your time and marvel at the dramatic landscapes from the Nicola Valley to the glacial shorelines of ancient lakes and the rolling grasslands. Marvel at the hoodoos formed from 200-million-year old volcanic rock as you make your way on and around Route 97.
This region offers a unique way to explore its natural features through geocaching. It’s modern treasure hunting with a twist. Explore the area with a GPS or traditional treasure hunt clues and find boxes hidden throughout the region. This area is Canada’s largest geotour with 142 caches! Now get out there and find one or more of the 24 treasure boxes to claim as your souvenir.
Kamloops, and Cache Creek
The City of Kamloops is known for its watersports, live theatre, horseback riding, golfing, mountain biking, skydiving, agritourism, fishing, white water rafting and more! There are events throughout the year including the Kamloopa Pow Wow and Ribfest.
From Kamloops, you can rejoin Hwy 97 on your way to Cache Creek, which may have got its name when travellers and prospectors hid their cache in the nearby Bonaparte River while they rested.
This is a great place to hike, bird watch and mountain bike in a setting that ranges from rugged to lush. Make sure you visit Historic Hat Creek Ranch outside of Cache Creek for a genuine cowboy experience.
Spences Bridge and Merritt
At Ashcroft, head south on Hwy 8 to Spences Bridge where you can taste the difference organic makes at an oasis surrounded by sagebrush. Once back in Merritt be sure to visit two of the area’s original structures: The Historic Baillie House and Merritt’s most famous landmark, the Coldwater Hotel (circa 1908).
Need to Know:
|Loop Distance:||400 km (248 mi)|
|Duration to drive:||Four to five hours, more if you explore along the way.|
|Best time to drive:||Year round.
Snow tires recommended in the winter months.
|Watch for:||Horses and cattle on side roads.|
Kamloops Visitor Centre
1290 Trans Canada Hwy
Kamloops, British Columbia
Cache Creek Tourist/Visitor Information Booth
1270 Stage Road
Cache Creek, British Columbia
Merritt Visitor Centre
Junction of Hwys 5 & 97C (exit 286)
Merritt, British Columbia
Ashcroft Visitor Centre
Heritage Place Park
Ashcroft, British Columbia