11 Little Known Lytton Ferry Factoids

Bus Ferry
Photo shows one of five scheduled school buses off loading the ferry

While putting together our blog about the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s inland ferries, we uncovered a few interesting facts about the Lytton ferry. Lytton B.C. is located at the junction of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers.

Ferry Factoid #1: The Lytton ferry is one of five reaction ferries in our fleet.

Reaction ferries are quite rare in B.C. The power necessary to move this type of vessel comes from the river itself. That’s right, the reaction of the river current against a fixed tether cable and angled pontoons get this vessel moving. What’s really cool is it produces nearly zero emissions to operate – just a generator required to charge batteries for onboard power.

Ferry Factoid #2: Approximately 350 residents live on the west side of the river.

Ferry Factoid #3: The school children that live on the west side of the river take the ferry to get to school.

Ferry Factoid #4: When ferry service is not available due to high or low waters and debris or ice floes, there’s alternate foot traveller access downstream at the CN rail bridge. The ministry received approval from the Board of Transport Commissioners of Canada in 1960 to alter the CN Rail Bridge in Lytton to accommodate the pedestrian walkway. In 2008 the walkway was upgraded to improve safety and facilitate bicycle and wheelchair access.

Bridge Lytton
CN footbridge with sidewalk a few kilometres downstream of the Lytton ferry

Ferry Factoid #5: The Lytton ferry travels across the Fraser River, about 2.4 kilometres north of Lytton and takes five minutes in crossing time. (See map)

Ferry Factoid #6: The Lytton ferry operates on demand when in service. In other words, there is no fixed sailing schedule, but rather, it sails when you arrive at the dock between the hours of:

6:30a.m. – 10:30a.m.,

11:00a.m. – 6:30p.m., and

7:00p.m. – 10:15p.m.

Ferry Factoid #7: Fraser River levels are affected by temperature.

Cool overnight weather helps keep river levels low, but in the hot spring and summer months, especially May, June and July, it’s common for the ferry to close due to high river levels. On rare occasions, the ferry closes due to low water or debris or ice floes. To Know Before you Go, check DriveBC for information about closures, interruptions or delays.

Ferry Factoid #8: The Lytton ferry has a two person crew and carries a max of two vehicles and 18 passengers.

Ferry Factoid #9: It carries nearly 100,000 passengers a year, making over 30,000 trips from one side to the other!

Ferry Factoid #10: The Lytton ferry will take you to Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park.

This valley has been extremely important to the Nlaka’pamux people for thousands of years. There are still a large number of pictographs still visible today in various parts of the valley, ranging in size from single symbols to one of the largest pictograph sites in Canada. Please respect the rock-paintings and do not touch them.

If you’re interested in riding the ferry for fun, it’s highly recommended that you park your vehicle and walk on, especially during peak periods like holiday weekends and when the river is high. Take your vehicle if you’d like to camp overnight, but be aware that vehicles are not permitted in the park itself and that there are no services at the park. Make sure you’re well prepared and have the supplies you’ll need.

Ferry Factoid #11: We work with our highway maintenance contractors to maintain a high standard of operations. In 2010, the ferry underwent a refit and improvements were made to existing pontoons, walkways and ramps. Plus, a solar panel was installed to charge the vessel’s battery, further reducing the operation time of the generator.

Be sure to say hello to the Lytton ferry operators on your next trip to the west side of this part of the Fraser River. It sure would be cool to take the ferry as part of your daily commute. Whether you take the ferry regularly or are visiting, Know Before you Go and happy sailing!

8 comments on “11 Little Known Lytton Ferry Factoids”

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    • Hi Jon,

      The B.C. government continues to implement improved road and highway crossings, in stages, under the Motor Vehicle Act. Improved incidental access will better connect B.C.’s rural communities and support a first-rate ORV trail network.

      On public roads and highways, the Insurance Corporation of B.C.’s basic insurance continues to be a requirement for all motorists, including ORV owners; ORV riders who opt for incidental access to highways will require ICBC’s basic insurance.

      Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, Division 24 allow off-road vehicle operators greater access to highways, including the ability to:

      – Cross a highway without having to obtain an operation permit if the crossing is controlled by a stop sign or traffic light
      – Travel on any highway anywhere local police authorize, within the limits set out in an operation permit
      – Load or unload in a parking lot without an operation permit
      – Obtain an operation permit with an extended term of up to two years

      Reaction ferries do not count as a highway crossing as the road leading to and from them are part of the BC highway system. When in doubt, ORV operators should contact local law enforcement to inquire whether an operation permit is required. Police-issued operation permits continue to be free.

      Here is the link to the PDF for an operation permit: http://www.icbc.com/vehicle-registration/specialty-vehicles/Documents/operation-permit.pdf

      If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact the administrator on this page: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/land-use/crown-land/crown-land-uses/off-road-vehicles

      We hope that this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Robby,

      Sorry – just to confirm – would you like to use the footbridge picture? If so, you are free to use the picture, we only ask that you credit the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure when you do. Hope that this helps!

      Reply