|Source||Confluence of the North & South Thompson Rivers|
|- elevation||1,113 m (3,652 ft)|
|- elevation||472 m (1,549 ft)|
|Length||489 km (304 mi) |
|Basin||56,000 km2 (21,622 sq mi) |
|Discharge||for Spences Bridge|
|- average||773 m3/s (27,300 cu ft/s)|
|- max||4,200 m3/s (148,000 cu ft/s)|
|- min||171 m3/s (6,039 cu ft/s)|
The Thompson River is the largest tributary of the Fraser River, flowing through the south-central portion of British Columbia, Canada. The Thompson River has two main branches called the South Thompson River and the North Thompson River. The Thompson was named by Fraser River explorer, Simon Fraser, in honour of his friend, Columbia Basin explorer David Thompson.
South Thompson River
The South Thompson originates at the outlet of Little Shuswap Lake at the town of Chase and flows approximately 55 kilometres (34 mi) southwest through a wide valley to Kamloops where it joins the North Thompson. Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway and the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway parallel the river. Little Shuswap Lake is fed by the Little River, which drains Shuswap Lake, which is fed by several rivers & creeks.
North Thompson River
The North Thompson originates at the toe of the Thompson Glacier in the Cariboo Mountains west of the community of Valemount and flows generally south towards Kamloops and the confluence with the South Thompson. For most of its length, the river is paralleled by Highway 5, and the Canadian National Railway (both of which cross the river a couple times). The North Thompson passes by several small communities, the most notable being Blue River, Clearwater & Barriere.
A notable feature along the North Thompson is Little Hells Gate, a mini-replica of the much larger rapid on the Fraser downstream from the mouth of the Thompson. About 17.4 km upstream from the small town of Avola, the river is forced through a narrow chute only about 30 feet wide creating a rapid that resembles the Fraser's famous rapid. Many river rafting companies take advantage of the thrilling and breath-taking rapids that occur just south of Gold Pan. Including a wide array of boat styles (from a powered J-Boat to an extremely basic raft) and multi-day trip packages including food and overnight fun.
At Kamloops, the combined Thompson River river flows 15 km from the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers before reaching Kamloops Lake, which is roughly 30 km in length, ending at the town of Savona. From there it flows in a meandering course westwards through a broad valley area. At Ashcroft, the Thompson Canyon begins and the river turns southwestward to its confluence with the Fraser. The river is paralleled by the Trans-Canada Highway, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway.
From Ashcroft to Lytton, the river is completely confined within Thompson Canyon, making for spectacular scenery. The Thompson River joins the Fraser River in Lytton. There is a striking stretch of dark black cliffside just downstream from Ashcroft and visible from the Logan Lake-Ashcroft highway is officially-named the Black Canyon. Just below the town of Spences Bridge was the site of a major rail disaster in the early 20th Century. Communities along this section are Bighorn, Shaw Springs, and Goldpian.
North Thompson River
- Albreda River
- Thunder River
- Mud Creek
- Blue River
- Mad River
- Raft River
- Clearwater River
- Barrière River
South Thompson River
- Tranquille River (via Kamloops Lake)
- Deadman River
- Bonaparte River
- Oregon Jack Creek
- Nicola River
- Murray Creek
- Skoonka Creek
- Nicoamen River
- Botanie Creek
- List of tributaries of the Fraser River
- List of British Columbia rivers
- List of crossings of the Thompson River
- List of crossings of the Fraser River
- "Thompson River". BC Geographical Names. http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/bcgnws/names/40908.html.
- Thompson River, The Columbia Gazetteer of North America
- Thompson River, BritishColumbia.com
- "Thompson Glacier". BC Geographical Names. http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/bcgnws/names/15775.html.
- Flickr: Panorama view of Little Hells Gate of the North Thompson River
- Media related to Thompson River at Wikimedia Commons