This town, located 1-1/2 hours north of Hope and 3 hours from Vancouver is at the junction of the Thompson and the Fraser rivers. The town sits high on a plateau, giving it some of the warmest weather in Canada. Indians used to harvest many tons of salmon at this river junction. During the gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s, this town was a major supply base for the gold fields. Its location on two major rivers today makes it the “Rafting Capital of Canada.”
Lytton is the ‘rafting capital of Canada.” There are thrills and excitement galore when your raft hits these gig waves. Several well-qualified guide companies in the area will direct you in paddle rafting, and include delicious meals by the riverside and overnight camping. Later in summer, tours of the Fraser n power rafts let you challenge Hell’s Gate. Lytton’s outdoor community pool is also a great to cool off after a warm sunny day of activities.
In 1808, when Simon Fraser explored the Fraser, he was greeted by 1000 people who gathered near Lytton. First Nations people arrived here after the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. The area’s native name is Kumsheen, or the “meeting place” for the place where the Thompson and the Fraser rivers joined. The Thompson River flows from Kamloops Lake, past Spences Bridge through a colourful 40 km canyon, and then 18 major rapids past Lytton. Today, native arts and a wide variety of crafts are available at several locations throughout Lytton, and the history of the area is on display at the village museum.
Lytton was a service & supply centre during the 1860’s gold rush as hopeful miners headed north to Barkerville. The village was named for Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton who was British secretary of state for the colonies, who had come on board the ship which brought a regiment of Royal Engineers before it set sail from Cowes, in England. The railways were built through the area by Canadian Pacicific in 1885 and Canadian National in 1913, adding to the area’s workforce. In 1922, the road was completed through the canyon, giving car access to the area. You can even rent gold pans to try out the nearby recreational gold panning area.
Stein Valley – Lytton Visitor InfoCentre
400 Fraser Street, Box 460, Lytton VOK 1Z0
The newly named Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage “Class A” Park is the last major, biologically complete, unlogged valley in all of the southwestern BC. The Stein Valley is the spiritual home of the Nlaka’pamux nation. A few inaccessible caves hold the firt nation’s sacred artifacts and traditional rock art of the past 9,000 years. The Stein Valley, co-managed by BC Parks and the Lytton First Nations, contains eight of the province’s 14 major ecological zones, from the ponderosa pine bunchgrass semi-desert zone in the valley bottoms, five forest zones, and a high alpine glacier zone above the treeline. These ecosystems provide an unsurpassed collection of flora and fauna, and amazing biodiversity.
A fire in 1996 had little effect on the many trails, though now fires are prohibited and you need to bring a portable stove. Camping sites have been groomed and bear-proof storage containers are installed in the lower canyon. Contact BC Parks 1-250-851-3000
Lytton Chinese History Museum
145 Main St, Lytton, BC V0K 1Z0
The Lytton Chinese History Museum collects, preserves and displays artifacts and photos of the experiences, hardships, and contributions made in BC’s Interior by thousands of Chinese miners, railway workers, merchants and farmers over he past 150 years.