The Tranquille River flow from the Bonaparte Plateau and winds down to Kamloops Lake. Over the last km, the river flows through a volcanic area, cutting a narrow gorge through steep colorful cliffs. There are several sections of slot canyons and narrows, not very accessible from above. In spring the runoff roars through these channels, but in fall we can work our way down the banks of the river to explore the canyon. On this day I started at the former Rec Site (now part of BC Parks Lad du Bois Protected Area) that sits on a bench above the confluence of Tranquille River and Watching Creek.
An old double track (cut by gold miners) drops on a steep grade down to the riverbank. Upstream the river flows through a slot canyon. On another day with warmer weather we will wade and swim through the channel.
Between the upstream slot canyon and a narrows a short way downstream is an accessible area used by goldpanners. There was a bridge across the river at one point, but it was washed away in a year of high spring runoff.
I followed the river downstream to the narrows, then scrambled over the cliffs, following an old track south. It was hard to see below, but the colorful cliffs of the canyon on the other side were visible for a 2 km traverse.
At the end of the cliffs a steep gully cut the route along the rim. An old trail drops into the gully. I had hiked this trail about 40 years ago, a route (Watching Creek Loop) that allowed a route around the canyon with two bridges across the river. The old trail was still fine to hike right down to the river.
At the river below the narrows there was once an old footbridge. It washed away in the early 1980s. This image of the bridge was taken in the late 1970’s:
We have waded across the river at this point to go up the trail on the other side. Goldpanners sometimes use this spot too.
I explored some new routes and viewpoints and found some old trails and artifacts on this day of hiking in the Tranquille River Canyon. Next time I will wade the river twice to do the old loop route once more.