The Thompson Headwater Services Committee is devoted to Tourism Marketing within the Thompson Headwaters region. If you have enquiries about this beautifully natural area we would welcome your questions or comments. We would be happy to mail you our current promotional brochure and we look forward to meeting you in Blue River – The Jewel of the Yellowhead!
Thompson Headwaters Services Committee
Folks have been calling Blue River the Jewel of the Yellowhead since long before roads marked it the midway point on the journey from Vancouver, BC to Edmonton, AB. With a history steeped in exploration – from Overlanders to railway barons, today Blue River is a cozy hamlet of around 280 people. Tucked into the northern reaches of the 328 km (204 mi) North Thompson Valley, where the landscapes morph from rolling ranch lands to the craggy, western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Blue River sits by the shores of the Blue and North Thompson Rivers.
Blue River may be unassuming at first glance, but you need only get off the highway to discover some of our gems: sparkling glacier-fed lakes, breathtaking mountain peaks and intriguing wildlife are just some of the jewels in our crown. Discover our charms – Mike Wiegele’s Heli Ski Resort, River Safari Eco Tours, Murtle Lake, the largest canoe-only lake in North America and Eleanor Lake, the hub of family fun come summertime. You’ll realize, like travellers who’ve come before you, that there’s much more to Blue River and Avola than first meets the eye.
Blanketed by a lush interior rainforest of cedar and spruce, the rugged and raw Monashee and Cariboo mountains surrounding Blue River and Avola just invite exploration, summer and winter. Even if you don’t have a lot of outdoor experience, guided excursions make our wilderness habitat accessible to most. For seasoned outdoor explorers, outfitters provide the local knowledge you need when backcountry hiking, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling through our vast and dramatic mountain playground.
Just at the point where velvet ranch lands give way to the Rocky Mountains, Blue River sits at the eastern gateway to the wilds of Wells Gray Provincial Park and Murtle Lake, the largest canoe-only lake in North America. Bounded by ancient lava beds, Wells Gray is 5,250 sq km (3,262 sq mi) of pure wilderness, borne from volcanoes and carved by glaciers; where your days are measured in vertical feet, and the number of strokes paddled. Point your boat north or west, exploring Murtle Lake the only way you can – by kayak or canoe. Experience the serenity of backcountry wilderness camping. Fall asleep in the shadow of fjord-like mountains on soft, sandy beaches. Hike the Wavy Range. Marvel that you can be on Murtle Lake for days and never see or hear another soul.
Up-close wildlife encounters are well within your reach, just minutes from Blue River. Embark on a River Safari wilderness jet-boating tour, scouting out adventures that will leave you spellbound, breathless and hungry for more. Whether you sign-up for the River Safari or the Jeep Tour, simply relax and enjoy the ride, drifting in the current of Mud Lake, or riding through the alpine watching carefully for your own wildlife encounter.
When moist, warm coastal air collides with the cold, dry northern climate of Blue River, it creates exceptional conditions for dry, powder snow, up to 10 m (32 ft) of the white stuff each year. Add two mountain ranges and 1.2 million acres of pristine wilderness – you’ve got ski conditions you cannot find anywhere else in the BC, making Blue River an internationally renowned destination for winter recreation.
Make your mark. Break your own trail. Experience high alpine skiing in quiet solitude. Clip into your skis and slide through waist-deep powder so dry, it feels like you’re floating on air. Home of Mike Wiegele’s Heli Ski Resort, the original heli-ski experience, and Snowy Mountain Adventure Tours hut to hut ski expeditions, skiing in Blue River is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Feel the wind on your face as you race through the snow; skiing isn’t the only way to enjoy winter in Blue River. Experience the exhilaration of snowmobiling an entire mountain of powder on your own, or on a guided snowmobile safari. With more than 10 m (32 ft) of dry, powder snow each year, novice and expert sledders find plenty trails to explore here, a premier spot for snowmobiling in British Columbia.
Take the path less travelled and discover a secret stash of trails just ripe for exploring on foot, by bike, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle. Simply step outside your door and into a mountain of adventure in Blue River.
You like to blend in like a local on vacation. You’re happiest when getting away from it all, becoming immersed in the culture, history and lifestyle of the places you vacation. You’re spontaneous, and you want to experience it all…from historic sites to modern culture. For you travel is all about leaving your everyday world behind, and skipping the tourist route. Instead, you’re looking for offbeat adventures, to better understand just how locals live.
You’re always excited about your next trip, and, for you, travel is all about the journey, not just the destination. Blue River, the midway point between Vancouver and Edmonton is an ideal rest stop for any journey in the North Thompson Valley. Hidden gems can be found around every corning here, in the Jewel of the Yellowhead. Here are a few ways you might enjoy exploring Blue River and Avola:
Find ancient pictographs of the Simpcw First Nation and relics of local history geocaching (Play/Geocaching) between Blue River and Avola, playing the ultimate game of hide and go seek
Paddle Mud Lake (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mud_lk) delta to Parberry Falls, beneath soaring mountains and distant glaciers. (Blue River Campground (Play/Camping) will rent you a canoe!)
Embrace winter’s chill, cross-country skiing (Play/Skiing) Eleanor Lake and Blue River Pine Provincial Park
Angle (Play/Rivers & Lakes) for salmon at Finn Creek in Avola, a traditional fishing ground for Simpcw First Nation
Chat up resident and visiting riders while out on the trail, or stop in for a visit at our Legion to get a local’s perspective on your exploits in the alpine
Amble the Red Sands Road or the Green Mile, picking blueberries and huckleberries in season
Sample the “mother of all burgers” at the Log Inn Pub (Dining) in Avola
You love a good time, and for you, travel (like life) is all about experiencing one adventure after another. You look at life as one big buffet and the more you can sample while on vacation, the better. Not only do you love to travel, but you like to share your adventures with anyone who will listen. You’ll take in a bit of everything a destination has to offer, which is why you’ll spend countless hours planning your trip – you don’t want to miss a thing! You’re naturally drawn to exotic and exciting adventures and like to surround yourself with others who feel the same. For you, a life spent travelling is a good life indeed!
Discover Blue River, the Jewel of the Yellowhead and home to some of the best deep powder skiing anywhere in the world at Mike Wiegele’s Heli Ski Resort, one of several ways you can enjoy Blue River:
You are an understated traveller. Travel is only one of your interests in life, but that’s not to say you don’t appreciate a good vacation! You’re naturally drawn to beautiful landscapes and love getting to know the locals while you vacation. You generally don’t like to plan too far in advance, instead, you like to go with the flow, allowing your days to unwind as they will, checking out attractions and events you encounter along the way.
Experience Blue River and Avola – where plenty of wide, open, spaces lead to one staggering vista after another. Wilderness adventures are around every bend or mountain peak. The midway point between Vancouver and Edmonton, Blue River is the jewel of the Yellowhead Highway with plenty of gems to uncover.
Delve into a mountain worth of outdoor adventures: