As you drive down through the Lower North Thompson Valley and into Gold Country and the Nicola Valley, you’ll be transported back in time to the Old Western Days. As arid badlands transform into lush ranch land, the sagebrush-scented desert provides the perfect backdrop for the ranching way of life.
These lands have a vast history and rich indigenous culture. The Secwepemc Nation has inhabited these lands for years; the Simpcw, meaning people of the North Thompson River, and the Tk’emlups, meaning people of the confluence. Many have traversed through the valley; First, the nomadic Interior Salish First Nations people. They followed the seasons and bountiful food supplies — rosehips in spring, berries in summer, nutrient-rich salmon in the fall; Then, the pioneering overlanders as they sought fortune in BC’s fields; Railway barons soon followed, seeking an interior route to the coast. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800’s saw Ashcroft become Mile 0 on the road to the goldfields.
A Little History, A Little Wild
Embrace the ranching lifestyle, unwind in the forest with dozens of horses as they roam free on the land. Learn about the psychology of horses while practising Natural Horsemanship, and explore the Thompson Valley on horseback. Reconnect with friends, family, and nature on your next road trip.
If you’re a history buff, visit an interpretive historic site and explore the original buildings used by the Gold Rush travellers of the 1860’s. Take a guided tour through the roadhouse and native village, take a stagecoach ride along the Cariboo Wagon Road or try your hand at panning for gold. Experience one of the most distinctive heritage sites in British Columbia.
Whether you’re ready to work the land, relax in nature, or learn about days gone by, head back in time with a road trip throughout Route 97. Celebrate agriculture and culture along the way.