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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
on Spences Bridge