Explore the Jewel of the Yellowhead
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.
Explore our Mountains
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.
Pristine Wilderness – Murtle Lake & Wells Gray Provincial Park
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.
Wildlife Adventures – River Safari
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.
Winter Adventures Skiing & Sledding
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.
All Trails Lead to Adventure
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.