North Thompson River

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North Thompson River
The Thompson River (6009932698).jpg
North Thompson River near Vavenby
ThompsonRiverBritishColumbia Location.png
Thompson River's watershed
EtymologyThe Thompson River was named by Simon Fraser in honour of David Thompson[1]
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Land DistrictKamloops Division Yale
Physical characteristics
SourceThompson Glacier
 • locationPremier Range, Cariboo Mountains
 • coordinates52°40′56″N 119°40′25″W / 52.68222°N 119.67361°W / 52.68222; -119.67361[2]
 • elevation1,675 m (5,495 ft)[3]
MouthThompson River
 • location
 • coordinates
50°40′55″N 120°20′28″W / 50.68194°N 120.34111°W / 50.68194; -120.34111Coordinates: 50°40′55″N 120°20′28″W / 50.68194°N 120.34111°W / 50.68194; -120.34111[4]
 • elevation
339 m (1,112 ft)[3]
Length365 km (227 mi)[5]
Basin size20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi)
 • locationMcLure Ferry[6]
 • average427 m3/s (15,100 cu ft/s)[6]
 • minimum39.2 m3/s (1,380 cu ft/s)
 • maximum2,740 m3/s (97,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
River systemFraser River

The North Thompson River is the northern branch of the Thompson River, the largest tributary of the Fraser River, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It originates at the toe of the Thompson Glacier[2] in the Premier Range of the Cariboo Mountains, west of the community of Valemount. The river flows generally south through the Shuswap Highland towards Kamloops where it joins the South Thompson River to form the main stem Thompson River.

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 of times). The North Thompson passes by several small communities, the most notable being Blue River, Clearwater, and Barriere.

Tributaries of the North Thompson River include Canvas Creek,[7] the Albreda River,[8] Thunder River,[9] Mud Creek,[10] Blue River,[11] Mad River,[12] Raft River,[13] Clearwater River,[14] and Barrière River.[15]

The North Thompson's largest tributary is the Clearwater River, which joins at the town of Clearwater. The Clearwater River drains much of Wells Gray Provincial Park.

A notable feature along the North Thompson is Little Hells Gate, a mini-replica of the much larger Hells Gate rapids on the Fraser River. About 17.4 kilometres (10.8 mi) upstream from the small town of Avola, the North Thompson River is forced through a narrow chute only about 30 feet (9.1 m) wide, creating a rapid that resembles the Fraser's famous rapid. Many river rafting companies offer a variety of trips through the rapids.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Thompson River". BC Geographical Names.
  2. ^ a b "Thompson Glacier". BC Geographical Names.
  3. ^ a b Elevation derived from ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model, using GeoLocator, and BCGNIS coordinates
  4. ^ "North Thompson River". BC Geographical Names.
  5. ^ Ministry of Environment: HABITAT WIZARD STREAMS REPORT
  6. ^ a b "Archived Hydrometric Data Search". Water Survey of Canada. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2013. Search for Station 08LB064 North Thompson River at McLure
  7. ^ "Canvas Creek". BC Geographical Names. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  8. ^ "Albreda River". BC Geographical Names.
  9. ^ "Thunder River". BC Geographical Names.
  10. ^ "Mud Creek". BC Geographical Names.
  11. ^ "Blue River". BC Geographical Names.
  12. ^ "Mad River". BC Geographical Names.
  13. ^ "Raft River". BC Geographical Names.
  14. ^ "Clearwater River". BC Geographical Names.
  15. ^ "Barrière River". BC Geographical Names.

External links[edit]