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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Thompson Okanagan > Spences Bridge

Spences Bridge
Spences Bridge is located around 50 km (39 miles) north of Lytton and 60 km (38 miles) south of Cache Creek on Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

Cook's Ferry
From between 1862 to 1865, the river crossing at Spences Bridge was called Cook's Ferry because of the ferry operating over the Thompson River by American businessman Mortimer Cook.

Thomas Spence
People later called the crossing 'Spence's Bridge' in reference to a toll bridge built by Thomas Spence that linked the wagon road from Yale with the goldfields in the Cariboo at Barkerville. In time a community developed and the name officially became Spences Bridge.

Very Dry Climate
Spences Bridge has a very dry climate, almost desert-like, with only around 254 mm (10 inches) of precipitation in a year. You will find prevalent throughout the arid countryside that surrounds Spences Bridge tumbleweeds, sand hoodoos and sagebrush. The community sits near to where the Nicola River joins the Thompson River and has beautiful southerly views of the valley with both the CPR and CNR having railway tracks alongside.

Available Services
Spences Bridge is very small in terms of population and available services. Most businesses and commercial buildings are located on the west side of the Thompson River just off the Trans-Canada Hwy 1. Here you can find Rumor's Restaurant which has internet, the sometimes-open, sometimes-closed gas station, the fire hall and post office and accommodation, either at the Acacia Grove RV Park and Cabins or the Quarter Circle J Motel.

Inn at Spences Bridge
There is also other accommodation found at the Inn at Spences Bridge which is located on the east side of the Thompson River on Hwy 8 between the old one-lane bridge and the bridge on Hwy 1. Originally built in the 1860's, the Inn at Spences Bridge offers guests cozy rooms with beautiful views of the Thompson River, a restaurant including an outdoor patio which serves vegetarian meals, baked goods made from fresh and locally grown ingredients.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
With the dry climate of Spences Bridge comes the ideal opportunity to grow various fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer months, Spences Bridge's main industry. You will notice a few stands throughout the region offering this bountiful crop as you travel on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1. A real favourite is the Hilltop Gardens Fruit stand situated north-east of town on Hwy 1 towards Cache Creek by around 5 km (3 miles).

Log Cabin Pub
For a cold beverage there is also the Log Cabin Pub located just off the Trans-Canada Hwy on the north-west side of the bridge. The Log Cabin has a large parking lot, is biker-friendly, great community minded owners, offers cold beverages, food and has one of the largest fireplaces around plus sometimes features the Bridge Burnout - a test of machine and tires versus the pavement, a Log Cabin Pub tradition.

Thompson River
If you enjoy fishing, Spences Bridge has some of the best Steelhead trout fishing available in the Thompson River. Make sure you check the regulations for openings and restrictions. The Thompson River is also very famous for whitewater rafting and kayaking with several places around Spences Bridge for putting your craft in.

Goldpan Provincial Park
For a campground along the banks of the river, Goldpan Provincial Park is only 10 km (6 miles) south-west of Spences Bridge. The campground features some riverfront campsites with beautiful and relaxing views of the Thompson River.

Murray Creek Falls
For exploring around the area, try and make it up to Murray Creek Falls which is located just off the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 near the Thompson River Bridge west of town by the bridge. Here you can find a beautiful gorge featuring a waterfall cascading over the rocky chasm. The area is full of wildlife where you can see California Bighorn sheep, Osprey, salmon and bears.

Travel to Merritt
For more of a greater selection of services, Merritt is due east of Spences Bridge on Hwy 8 by around 64.5 km (40 miles). This highway is much less travelled than the major route of the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 and the scenery is absolutely beautiful as the road meanders along the side of the Nicola River through a number of sandstone chasms with a number of large hoodoos in the background.

Cook's Ferry First Nations
As you travel on Hwy 8 and Hwy 1, you'll go through some land that is the traditional lands of the Cook's Ferry First Nations. An affiliate of the Nicola Tribal Association, the Cook's Ferry First Nations have been fishing in the Thompson River and living off the land for thousands of years and have several reserves on both the Nicola and Thompson Rivers. The largest reserve, Kumcheen 1, is only 2 km (1.3 miles) east of Spences Bridge on Hwy 8 near the mouth of the Nicola River.

Kettle Valley Railway
For rail-trail enthusiasts, the defunct Kettle Valley Railway right-of-way goes east from Spences Bridge to Merritt (NK&S section). Unfortunately, this section has a number of detours around washouts, uncompleted trestles and you will require permission going through First Nation's lands. Nonetheless, you will find the trip as it meanders through the Nicola River, absolutely incredible. Look for the local swimming hole under the CPR railroad bridge at the mouth of the Nicola River.

Information on Spences Bridge

 

 

Map of Spences Bridge
click map for larger image

 

Thompson River and Spences Bridge
Thompson River and Spences Bridge

 

Trans-Canada Hwy 1
Trans-Canada Hwy 1

 

The Inn at Spences Bridge
The Inn at Spences Bridge

 

Hilltop Gardens
Hilltop Gardens

 

Log Cabin Pub
Log Cabin Pub

 

Osprey Nest
Osprey Nest

 

Murray Creek Falls
Murray Creek Falls

 
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