Goldpan Provincial Park - 060201
Goldpan Provincial Park hosts 14 campsites and a few day use picnic tables on 5 hectares, tucked between the Thompson River and the Trans Canada Highway. Scenery, semi-precious gems, wildlife, fishing, train watching, history and more make this park quite charming!
The park road is part of the original Cariboo Wagon Road. Before the park was created, the Goldpan area was commonly used as a resting area and camping location. The Thompson River, through this stretch, is famous for its steelhead fishery and the nearby community of Spences Bridge contains several historic buildings over 100 years old. The Nlaka’pamux are the indigenous people of the area and you may discover arrowheads of chert and agate, remnant evidence of their traditional lifestyle. Most commonly found are small flakes of chert, showing where stone implements were made. Chert is an exceptionally hard, sedimentary rock that may contain fossils. The rock on the highway side of the river is made of two distinct types, exposed gravel bars and lava basalt. Large gravel deposits were left throughout this stretch of the canyon during the formation of a large glacial lake that once covered the Interior of B.C. A wide variety of rounded rocks are visible along the highway, due to significant erosion from subsequent river flows and weathering. The gravel banks have eroded, creating tall pillars known as pinnacles or hoodoos and the rocks constantly roll across the highway, especially at an area referred to as the “shooting gallery”. One of the most impressive features are the bands of various gravel colours in the cliffs, which consist of stripes and swirls creating sand art in greens, blacks and reds.
The second type of rock is the ancient lava basalt that is exposed from Spences Bridge south to Nicoamen River. This rock is largely without topsoil or vegetation, laying naked to the wind and rain and eroding into fantastic shapes, exposing oxidized minerals hidden within. The hillsides around Goldpan are famous for their smokey grey banded agates, found in potato sized nodules and covered with a reddish rind. There are also white and yellow agates, chalcedony and rare opal pieces. Agate is found throughout the area; and a collector reported that he gathers a gunnysack full every year, on foot from Goldpan.
The Basalt hills are stark, rugged, harsh and beautiful in their own right. About 4 km south of Goldpan there is a formation called the Rooster. Look up the hillside into a draw while crossing the C.P. railway at Drynock, a thumb of rock sticks up that looks remarkably like a rooster’s neck and head.
Also, the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858 started with a shipment of gold from the Nicoamen River, just a few miles south of Goldpan.
The area around Goldpan Park has many other attractions; Murray Creek and Nicoamen River both have spectacular waterfalls. Have your camera ready for bighorn sheep and bald eagle viewing, and there is Rainbow Canyon with its coloured bands of folded rock. Farm fresh peaches and tomatoes are available locally in season, and the vicinity is famous for its white water river rafting. Unexpected adventure waits at every turn.