(BC's Best Kept Secret)
Fraser Canyon at Springtime
with Jan Lee
Spring is a special time of year in the Fraser
Canyon. Home to the town that is best known as Canada's "Hot
Spot", the Fraser Canyon has gained a reputation for enticingly
hot summers and breathtaking vistas. Undoubtedly its best kept secret
is its mild spring weather. The temperatures are warm at the height
of the day, and chilly in the evening. Bring a sweater or a light
coat, but prepare for plenty of sun.
We begin our journey in Hope,
British Columbia's majestic entrance to the Fraser Canyon. Hope is just
one and a half hours east of Vancouver
1, an easy drive from the coast or the U.S. border.
as the "Chainsaw Carving Capital" of Canada, Hope offers a curious mixture
of old history and unusual artistry. Hope's carvings are known worldwide
for their beauty and unique style. A tour of the carvings is well worth
the stop and can be arranged by visiting the InfoCentre.
Approximately 26 km. (16 miles) southeast of Hope on Highway 3 is Manning
Park, one of the largest and most popular provincial parks in the
area. There are 4 full-service campgrounds located in the park, as well
as a number of wilderness sites for the rustic traveller. There are
also picnic sites for day use and hiking trails to suit every level
For a stop at one of BC's less known parks, visit the Skagit Valley
Park, 3 km (2 miles) west of Hope on Hope Flood Road. A fairly new provincial
park, it also provides access to the Ross Lake National Recreation area
in Washington State.
Continuing on Highway 1 takes us to Yale.
In 1858 gold was found just two miles downstream from a Hudson's Bay
trading post. The discovery transformed the tiny site into a boon town
that later became the present day hamlet of Yale.
The beauty of this sedate historic site is well worth a visit. A museum
and an historic Anglican church are among its attractions. Fraser
River Raft Expeditions can assist you with planning a tour of the
waterways, or a trip down the rapids. There are two motels in town and
several others located between Hope and Yale on Hwy 1.
One of the Canyon's oldest bridges is located at Alexandra Rest stop,
just north of Spuzzum. The Alexandra
Bridge was first opened in 1863 to accommodate prospector traffic.
It is now maintained as a heritage site.
Known mostly for its breathtaking gondola rides, Hells Gate provides
a fascinating opportunity to learn something about the ecosystem and
history of the Fraser River. The home of an international fisheries
project, Hells Gate is evidence of Man's best and worst feats of engineering.
Unchecked blasting of the Fraser River in 1913 produced a landslide
that wiped out millions of spawning salmon. Joint cooperation between
the U.S. and Canada in 1937 led to the creation of a new fishway. Although
salmon populations have still not returned to the pre-1913 level, the
fisheries have managed to reverse the catastrophe that once threatened
to wipe out the Fraser River salmon stocks.
At the entrance to the Nahatlatch Valley, Boston
Bar and North Bend sit at the crest of a hiker's paradise. Known
mainly as rail stops for the CN and CP railways, this area often goes
unnoticed by the casual traveller.
Forestry service campsites are available at Nahatlatch Valley, located
approximately 15 km. (10 miles) from North Bend, on the northwest side
of the river. There are several lakes in the park and the Nahatlatch
River is known for its excellent river rafting opportunities.
Boston Bar is also home of the second oldest May Day festival in BC.
This year's festival takes place May 29-31. A variety of events will
be featured and weather will probably be warm and sunny.
There is a wide variety of commercial accommodations in the area.
Blue Lake Resort, 15 km. (10 miles) north of Boston Bar, has cabins
and campsites. The facility is located 1 km. up a steep gravel road
that is traversable by a good front wheel drive vehicle.
Native Underground Lodging
is known for a number attractions, the most famous being its weather.
The original site of a First Nations village, the town overlooks the
joining of two rivers, the Fraser and the Thompson. Lytton is often
called the "hot spot of Canada" and enjoys dry warm weather that is
reminiscent of parts of the Southwestern U.S.
Both because of its weather and its location, Lytton is well known
for its river rafting opportunities. Hyak Wilderness Adventures and
Kumsheen Raft Adventures are
both in Lytton, and Fraser
River Rafting Expeditions is accessible by a 1-800 number.
The Siska First Nations Band (phone 250-455-2219) and the Lytton First
Nations Band (250-455-2304) both have art galleries. For gallery hours,
contact the Band offices.
Other attractions in Lytton include a heritage site, a museum and a
May Day festival (Mid May). For information about these attractions
contact the Lytton InfoCentre. It can also provide a list of campgrounds
and motels in the area.
For hikers, a visit to Lytton would not be complete without a trip
to the famous Stein
Valley Park. There are no roads in the park and the area is unsupervised,
so come prepared. Open fires are prohibited in the Stein. Contact BC
Parks or the Lytton InfoCentre for information about trail conditions.
From Lytton, you have a couple of travel routes. Lillooet (referred
to in gold rush days as "Mile 0") is 66 km. (43 miles) northwest on
Highway 12. Note the advisory signs concerning road conditions. Highway
1 will take you along the Thompson
River to Kamloops
(2 hours travel time). Either direction promises great weather and stunning
EVENTS NOT TO MISS
IN MAY AND JUNE
- Lytton Days (250-455-2523)
Location: throughout town
|End of May:
||BOSTON BAR/NORTH BEND
- May Day Celebrations
Fair Grounds (604-867-9614)
|End of May:
- Seabird Island Annual Festival
(604-796-2177 or gen. info. at 1-800-663-6000)
© Copyright Jan Lee
Jan Lee email@example.com
Be sure to read other
articles by Jan Lee in the BC Adventure Network