Description: The Thompson cuts thru an enormous dry-belt canyon that is sparsely treed. Railway lines run around the clock along both sides of the river. Earplugs at night are recommended. Afternoon upstream winds are common. Why Go? Volume Dominates. Monstrous waves, haystacks, and intermittent whirlpools. From the Thompson RV Park and Campground put-in to the Lytton takeout at the confluence with the Fraser lies 15 miles of class IV water with rapids like Frog, Devil's Playground, BFW, Cutting Board, Witch's Cauldron, Jaws of Death, The Wall, and Rattlesnake. The first 4 miles down to the Nicoamen River (just above Frog) has a few minor rapids and gives paddle crews time to get their act together, and get accustomed to the feel of the volume. Most kayakers put in at this point.
In normal snowpack years, the Thompson will be still be pushing 40,000 CFS in early August, which results in most of the bigger waves being replaced by pushy hydraulics and numerous whirlpools. "Optimum" flows of 18,000-22,000 CFS are generally reached by the Labor Day weekend.
Directions: Allow 6 hours from Seattle. Take I-5 North to Exit 256. Take WA-539 to WA-546 which becomes WA-9. Cross the border at Sumas. Take TransCanada 1 East all the way to Lytton (take-out) and on to the put-in. Note that Rt. 1 veers off at Hope.
Accommodations: Kumsheen Campground (Nicomen House) – Up the road from the main Kumsheen campground about 7 miles
Main Kumsheen Campground Phone Number - 1-800-663-6667
1345 Trans-Canada Hwy Lytton, BC V0K 1Z0
The tent camping area is nice plush green grass. Toilet and shower facilities are available onsite and clean (it’s our job to keep them that way).
No additional cost for camping.
Ear Plugs: The Thompson river is flanked by a railroad, the trains are long and their wheels are squeaky!! Depending upon your point of view, they can be fascinating or frustrating. Come expecting to be fascinated
Are you thinking that's it's too far to drive for a weekend? Combine the Labor Day trip(s) with a warm-up overnighter on the Upper Thompson.