Explore the magnificent Thompson River, farm fresh cuisine and an impressive array of wildlife.
This community was previously known as Cook’s Ferry, after Mortimer Cook who ran a raft style cable ferry across the Thompson River. It was later re-named after Thomas Spence, a Royal Engineer and road builder who won the contract to build a bridge across the river during the construction of the Cariboo Wagon road.
Unfortunately the bridge was built too low, and during a spring runoff in 1894 it was washed away. A new bridge was built on the footings of the original at the insistence of local ranchers. This bridge also washed away in 1928, but was repaired and remained in place until a steel bridge was built in 1932.
Murray Creek Falls (trailhead off the Trans Canada Hwy, west of Spences Bridge, near the Thompson River Bridge). Vital to the pioneers that settled here for power and water, Murray Creek Falls is named after early settler and orchardist, John Murray. This short hike is an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Goldpan Provincial Park is a picturesque spot located 10 km south of Spences Bridge and has a campsite overlooking the Thompson River.
Fruits and vegetables have been grown in the area for generations, and are sold at fruit stands and farms during the summer months. The Rivers Edge Market (2km south of Spences Bridge) has an outdoor picnic area and restaurant. The Secret Gardens Market (east on Hwy 8) sells fruit and vegetables, and has a beautiful garden for visitors to admire. The Hilltop Gardens Market (5km north of Spences Bridge on the Trans Canada Highway) is a heritage site, located on the former home of James Teit. A little further north is the Paulos Fruit Market, a popular family run affair.
Learn more about the history of a local ranching family when you venture into the Gold Country GeoTourism Program. Use a GPS or traditional treasure hunt clues to locate a hidden cache.
The Spences Bridge stretch of the Thompson River is a world-renowned location for steelhead trout and salmon fishing. Sports fishermen visit the area in late summer and fall.
Gold! Yes, there is gold in Gold Country! The sound of rushing water, as you fill your pan with gravel and sand, the excitement of seeing something glitter in the sun as you work away the sediment and are left with some flakes that spark a smile of satisfaction on your face as you think of all of those pioneers and settlers who came through this region to seek riches during the Gold Rush. Gold panning is a fun, recreational activity for the entire family. It requires patience and oftentimes there may be no golden reward at the end of the day, but you will be rewarded with some lifetime memories that were created while out exploring the waters edge. Seeing fish leaping out in the waves, eagles circling overhead and deer coming down from the mountains to drink the cool water are some of the wildlife experiences you may have while trying your hand at panning.
See the ‘Farm Fresh Produce’ section above for some suggestions on where to buy a healthy snack from a roadside market. Other delectable food choices include The Packing House, The Log Cabin Pub and Monkey in the Garden Restaurant.
The Packing House is one of the original packing houses for widow smith apples (a world famous variety in the 1800s), and is now a heritage café that hosts regular music events. The Log Cabin Pub offers great pub food and pizzas. Monkey in the Garden opens on weekends during the summer months, and serves mouth-watering, freshly picked organic delicacies.
The Inn at Spences Bridge takes great pride in being the oldest continually operational inn in BC. Enjoy a tasty meal and take a look at the photographs on the walls to get an idea of what the building used to be like.FULL LIST OF DINING OPTIONS
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