The Geography of Kamloops, British Columbia


GeoTours of Kamloops, BC



Kamloops Geography

Located on the Intermontane Plateau, Kamloops is the meeting place of the South and North Thompson Rivers that form the Thompson River and flow into Kamloops Lake. The Secwepemc people named Kamloops Tk’emlúps, which means "where the rivers meet" and is also known as the Hub City, where major highways meet.

The two major ecosystems, grasslands and forests, of southern BC are found in Kamloops and the boundary between the gently rolling Interior Plateau and the vast, rugged Shuswap Highland lies just to the east of the city. 

How Old is Kamloops, British Columbia?

European settlement of Kamloops and area goes back to the mid 1800's, but First Nations settlement in the region is much older and is projected at several thousand years back. 

The Kamloops region is built on a mix of different geological materials, all sharing a unique insight into the story of how Kamloops was formed geologically.  

One of the oldest materials is limestone at 270 million years old that was at one time part of an ancient seafloor.   50 million years later, mudstone and volcanic rock, that underlies much of Kamloops, was seafloor mud or volcanic islands in the ancestral Pacific Ocean. During the same time period, melted rock rose beneath volcanoes to form the copper deposits mined at Afton and Highland Valley Copper Mines.

50 million years ago, volcanoes erupted and volcanic ash and lava covered the land, forming the plateau country northwest of Kamloops. Forests and lakes filled the lowlands between volcanoes and their record is preservedin fossil beds throughout the area. Ancient rivers carved the landscape, forming the modern valleys of the Thompson Rivers and, during the Ice Ages, ice sheets carved the valleys and rounded the plateaus and mountains in the Kamloops area.

During and after the last Ice Age, volcanoes were still active in the Wells Gray Provincial Park. Though some claim that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, the oldest rocks found in Kamloops are only 270 million years old because at that time, Kamloops was a part of the ocean floor.


Looking for a self guided tour of Kamloops' amazing Geography?  Click here to view the GeoTour Guide for Kamloops BC and begin your own journey!



Kamloops Visitor Center

Ph: 1-800-662-1994