The Kamloops Cowboy Festival will be celebrating it's 21st anniversary in Kamloops from March 16th to 19th. The Festival is a celebration of Kamloops' western heritage showcasing the best in cowboy and western fine arts featuring poets, musicians, artists and artisans. It is a celebration of Kamloops' history and is considered the biggest and best of its kind in North America.
This festival highlights the Kamloops of the past, but many do not realize that Kamloops is still very much a cattle town. It's strong ties to the ranching community make it the perfect host for North americans interested in western heritage and cowboy culture.
Did you know that every year photographers from around the world travel here to photograph the magnificent Common Loon who nest and raise their chicks here? Greg Downing gdphotography.com and Alan Murphy alanmurphyphotography.com/workshops.htm conduct sold out workshops in exotic locations around the world. Every year they spend June right here at Lac le Jeune.
They return every year because they know their customers will return home happy with memory cards full of great shots.
The Kamloops area abounds with those type of opportunities, not just for loons but also the hundreds of other species that call the area home. Local biologist Rick Howie has written a very comprehensive list of all the species that visit Kamloops, a PDF version can be downloaded here Birds of Kamloops.
Snowshoeing in Kamloops
The high country above the Thompson River Valley offers many opportunities to snowshoe in the winter months. From mid-December to the end of March snow blankets the hills and we can drive up to dozens of trailheads to snowshoe the uplands forests and open spaces.
Written by: Doug Smith
A Story of Ranching and Showing Cattle
Kamloops has a rich cowboy history. We celebrate this history twice annually during the Kamloops Cowboy Festival in March and the Provincial Winter Fair in September.
The Haughton Family personify this celebrated culture in Kamloops; they are pioneers. Their roots in 4-H Club and the Kamloops Bull Sale go back to 1928 and 1929 respectively. They have been proudly involved in the Provincial Winter Fair and the Kamloops Cowboy Festival for decades. This is Jim Haughton’s story.
Fall Fishing Kamloops and Area Lakes
With the summer winding down and temperatures following closely behind, some of the best fishing of the season happens in the fall months. From September until freeze up, fly fishing opportunities are abundant as fish start to prepare themselves for the long winter ahead.
Unlike the spring into early summer, the abundance of insect hatches are gone. The frustration of trying to figure out what size and color of chironomids has surpassed and anglers can focus on main fall food items. While we still see a few small hatches of chironomids at times in early fall, the main food sources are shrimp and leeches. Fish slowly migrate in to shallower water at water temps start to drop, thus making fish easier to locate. Concentrating on the edges of drop-offs and weed beds is a great place to start hunting for rainbows. Using an intermediate sinking line and pulling shrimp slowly but erratically over the weed beds is a sure fire way to get a fish to strike, or using a floating line and hanging a leech under an indicator with a “slow” retrieve has brought a lot of success to not only myself but my clients as well and produced good numbers and size of fish. Good colors of leeches are maroon, black, brown and variations together. With shrimp, small sizes in light green to olive green.
Fall fishing is my favorite time of year to fish, there are a lot less anglers on the water and the weather can be cool to start but turns in to more beautiful days than not.
Good luck and safe angling.
DNA Fly Fishing
Our Destination Development Team at Tourism Kamloops continues to work collaboratively with our stakeholders to develop Kamloops as one of the top places to mountain bike in Canada. During the month of July,our mountain bike product was highlighted several times within print and online media.
Our local "ladies only" group, The Dirt Chix were showcased in the spring edition of Pedal Magazine. A one page article highlighted Kamloops' welcoming bike community and spoke to the development of womens riding in Kamloops. To find out more, pick-up the current issue at Chapters. Or check out http://pedalmag.com/.
Tourism Kamloops worked closely with Mountain Bike BC to host a film and rider group "The Free Radicals". The intention of our collaboration was to help build online film content for Mountain Bike BC which highlighted the Thompson Okanagan and Kamloops as a go-to mountain bike destination. Tourism Kamloops worked closely with our local partners to create a film that touched on a "mountain biker's" experince while they are in Kamloops.
Check out the video here
If you haven’t taken a hike in Shuswap, Kamloops or Sun Peaks, you’ve been missing out on some of the world’s greatest trails. With thousands of kilometres of tracks strewn across one of Canada’s most diverse landscapes, there are hundreds of amazing hikes in The South Thompson Shuswap and countless opportunities to snap an epic picture. Mountain peaks, desert rocks, lush meadows, hidden beaches and foggy forests all await those who bring their hiking boots and camera to the region.
Most visitors utilize the area’s expertly-made trail guides to map out their perfect day. For specific trail guides, visit the hiking pages on the websites for Kamloops, Shuswap and Sun Peaks.
With so many incredible kilometres of maintained trails to explore, it’s difficult choosing where to take your next adventure in The South Thompson Shuswap. Here are a few of our area’s most unforgettable and photogenic hikes:
Embleton Mountain Trail
Near Sun Peaks Resort, this mountain trail rises to a remarkable view of Heffley Lake. At nearly 9km, it’s a great path for exercise and offers a rest stop at the top complete with picnic tables. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers, as during the warmer months, this trail weaves through areas of blooming alpine flowers.
Salmon Arm Nature Trail
Located just outside the quaint town of Salmon Arm, this boarded walk is perfect for bird lovers. The South Thompson Shuswap is known for being a resting point for a majority of Canada’s migrating birds and many of them find respite in the quiet waters of Salmon Arm. This Nature Trail connects to several longer hikes that feature some of the province's premier bird watching.
Gibraltar Rock, Kamloops
Just a scenic, thirty minute drive from Kamloops, this trail originates from peaceful Paul Lake and rises through shaded forests. The path meanders around Douglas-fir and pine trees until it reaches a fantastic overlook at Gibraltor Rock that just has to be photographed. On the way down, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the region’s roaming bald eagles and osprey. Save some time for relaxation at the end, as the trail finishes on the sandy beaches of Paul Lake.
Mount Ida Trail, Salmon Arm
The journey up Mount Ida is challenging and immensely rewarding. Winding through cedar forest and finishing at a dramatic cliff peak, this hike bestows grand views of Salmon Arm, Shuswap Lake and neighboring Mt. Bastion.
Battle Bluff, Kamloops
This trail starts with a gentle rise near the shores of Kamloops Lake and elevates to a fantastic overlook in which you can see beyond the Thompson River and endlessly into the distance. It isn’t the steepest trail to start but the final 500 metres offer the perfect challenge. Of course, that challenge comes with a payoff as the hike’s summit features one of the most scenic and rewarding views in the region, especially when done during golden hour.
Margaret Falls, Shuswap
This rushing waterfall is an icon of the Shuswap area. Hikers can walk right up to the fall and take photos from an adjacent bridge. Not be overlooked is the hike to the waterfall, which winds through a mossy forest filled with roaming wildlife.
Sicamous Lookout, Sicamous
Accessible through forestry roads, this lookout is an icon of the area. With a sturdy ramp for hang gliders, it’s a beautiful setting for a picnic lunch and photo opportunity.
Grasslands Trail- Peterson Creek, Kamloops
Peterson Creek was originally a meltwater channel, formed at the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. These days, over 6,000 metres of designated, dog-friendly trails meander through the park. The grasslands trail is highlighted with views of glacial slits, exposed bedrock and a rushing waterfall to go along with a bird’s eye view of Kamloops.
Tod Peak Trail, Sun Peaks Resort
Peaking at over 2,150 metres, this trail up Mount Tod passes through many of the environments that The South Thompson Shuswap is known for: alpine forests, large meadows, freshwater streams and fields of flowers. The biggest reward is at the top, where a 360 view of the gorgeous landscape and rising blue mountains awaits.
Gils Trail, Sun Peaks Resort
A backcountry skiing favourite in the winter, this trail down Mount Tod is just waiting to have it’s picture taken in the summer months. Offering distant views, lakeside paths and bright alpine flowers, Gil’s Trail is one of the area’s best kept secrets. Throughout your hike, you may not see anyone else on its maintained path.
Sunset Trail, Kamloops
Accessible for hikers of all-levels, the trails that weave through Kenna Cartwright Park outside of Kamloops are best experienced in the evening. Near sunset, the grasslands turn to gold for a magical hour. There’s simply nothing like it. Pack a dinner and enjoy a meal on the park’s aptly named Sunset Trail, which holds picnic tables amongst the shimmering fields of gold.
Juniper Ridge, Sun Peaks Resort
The hikes from Sun Peaks Resort truly have it all. Incredible overlooks, sweeping vistas, blooming flowers, lush meadows and wandering wildlife are available on foot to those who venture up the chairlift. Juniper Ridge is famous for its fragrant, colourful alpine flowers that combine with elevated mountain views to create a photographer’s delight.
Bonus Hike (cover shot), Kamloops:
Long Lake in Lac Du Bois Protected Grasslands.
Next time you take a hike in The South Thompson Shuswap, be sure to tag your Instagram photos with the local tourism hashtags!
Ready to get your hiking boots on the dirt in The South Thompson Shuswap? These businesses will help you maximize your hiking experience in the area. Give them a call and we’ll see you on the trails soon.
Sun Peaks Resort
Nirvana (Noun): place or state characterized by freedom from pain, worry, and the external world
Mountain Biking Nirvana: The South Thompson Shuswap
Close your eyes and ask your imagination to script the most epic, unconfined and exhilarating mountain bike ride in Canada. You probably envisioned a ride that spikes your adrenaline, ignores your brakes and tears through terrain that feels like it was made solely for the purpose of being conquered on two wheels. If your imagination put you on adrenaline-spiking trails your mountain biking ambition should bring you to the South Thompson Shuswap. With seemingly endless kilometres of tracks that weave and fly through eleven different environments and across open, hilly and mountainous lands there is simply no better biking destination in Canada.
Each area within the South Thompson Shuswap has its own distinct features.
Kamloops: Home to Canada’s Largest Municipal Bike Park and countless trails through desert and golden grassland
Shuswap: Hundreds of kilometers of isolated, flowy trails through lush and scenic landscapes
Sun Peaks: Steep downhills through fields of wildflowers with a chairlift available to take you back to the top
Combined, these destinations (all within a short drive or long ride of each other) give the region a strong claim as one of Canada’s premiere mountain biking destinations. These iconic destinations remain largely undiscovered to cyclists in North America. That means the hero dirt, the preserved trails, the massive jumps, and the striking vistas are yours to experience without any traffic.
Want to see what mountain biking heaven looks like before visiting? Behold these photos, taken by local and visiting mountain bikers, and consider a trip to these trails before the season ends.
The larger the climb, the more rewarding the descent will become. #mountanbiking #bike #trail #cycle #mountainbike #mtb #mtbpage #rockymoutain #downhillmtb #rockshox #adventure #climbing #climb #arcteryx #mountain #mountains #backcountry #outdoors #explorebc #explorecanada #outdooradventurephotos @outdooradventurephoto
A photo posted by Seth Cavers (@mrfiretk) on
Tonight was a beautiful evening for a little bit of mountain biking ???????? we had to stop and admire this view...a view I grew up riding my horse by almost every time we'd go riding! It feels good to be on the bike again, even if my legs feel a little rubbery now ???????????? shot on iPhone #exploreshuswap #getoutside #liveauthentic
A photo posted by Jaclyn Tanemura / BC, Canada???????? (@jaclyntanemura) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BENHjqgMwsw/
Seem to end up on Mars every time I hang out with @bretttippie ! @pinkbike just fired up Picture of the Year. Stay tuned for some epic bangers and my submissions. I cannot wait to share what I accomplished this season! #RiffStills #pinkbike #mtbbc #bicyclecafekamloops #explorekamloops
A photo posted by @riffstills on https://www.instagram.com/p/_V3BhmofHI/?taken-by=riffstills
Love love love it when Kamloops is this green. Green season only lasts about 2 months of the year in this dry climate, but happy to be home to enjoy it. Cool shot captured by Alex Lavigne during a morning interval session at the #kamloopsbikeranch Back over to Europe today for rounds 2 & 3 of the World Cup???? #hometime #explorekamloops
A photo posted by Catharine Pendrel (@cpendrel) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BFeMjXoBNjE/
A photo posted by Sam Loxton (@sloxton) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BF2tyyPGFKE/
Sunny times at #rubberhead ? #salmonarm #okanagan #shuswap #wildernessculture #freeride #downhill #mountainbiking #modernoutdoorsman #getoutside #neverstopexploring #backpacking #wearethewild #rei #pnwcollective #mountains #loveandpeace #bestplaceonearth #explorebc #ohcanada #hiking #nature #livefolk #natgeo #instagramhub #steepnature
A photo posted by Benjamin Radomske (@benjaminbluebenjamin) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BEYofh6qKq2/
@laras_looking and @jsnlocke on Sweet One at #sunpeaks for #canadaday We live in the most amazing place... #sunpeaks360 #beautifulbc #explorebc #explorekamloops #backyardkamloops #mountainbike #mtb #cyclingshots #cyclinglife #cycling #gopro #goprooftheday #goprocycling #mountainbiking
A photo posted by Jason Dixon (@mountain_dixon) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BHWDXHyAxfe/
'Storm Chasers'. #explorebc #explorecanada #discoverbc #discovercanada #kamloops #stormclouds #sunset #IloveBC #rideon #mountainbike #mountainlove ##thompsonokanagan #thegoodlife #familytime #nikon_canada #kamloopsphotographer
A photo posted by Kelly Funk (@kellyfunkphotography) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BFPqnSLSxtC/?tagged=kamloopsphotographer
The places my bike takes me are absolutely amazing. So thankful to be able to ride and race my bike across BC ???? stoked to get back at it this weekend at the @islandcupseries in Cumberland! @arrowsmithbikes @gamutusa @s4suspension #arrowsmithbikes #gamutusa #explorebc #kamloops #islandcup #bcenduroseries #mtb #giantbikes #ridelife #racing #pnw #explore
A photo posted by Takoda Crawford (@takodacrawford1) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BHBPqvcAnVN/
@daryazz and @bluecollarpowder Dew Drop #kamloops classic! #earnyourturns #singletrack #mtb #mtblife #mountainbike #cycling #cyclinglife #cyclingshots #beautifulbc #explorebc #explorekamloops #backyardkamloops #goprooftheday #gopro #goprocycling
A photo posted by Jason Dixon (@mountain_dixon) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BG3HEtgk9Z8/
A photo posted by Meg Broswick (@mbroswick) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BE2Di__Ird8/
A photo posted by Mike Coulter (@mikey_coulter) on https://www.instagram.com/p/1lADrstCNW/
One of my favorite aspects of riding in Kamloops are the big landscapes #loamcoffee #loamrangers #coffeeandbikes #kamloops #explorekamloops #explorebc #hellobc #adventure #outdoors #getoutside #singletrack #cycling #mtb #mtbphotos #mtbbc #bicycle #pinkbike #eskapee #bikes #luxuryofdirt #mountainbiking #mountainbike #enduromtb #dhmtb #graemepatersonmedia #freeriding #bikemagazine
A photo posted by Graeme Paterson (@graeme.paterson) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BG5eWDUt2aL/
Consider this your invitation. Mountain biking nirvana awaits in the South Thompson Shuswap. These links will get you from two feet to two wheels in no time. We’ll see you on the trails.
Sun Peaks Resort Bike Park
Mostly Mental Shuttles, Kamloops
Shuswap Trail Alliance
The South Thompson Shuswap is a paradise for those who love to stand up paddleboard. With countless lakes and rivers to paddle on and the perfect, sunny weather to fulfil your SUP dreams, there’s simply no better place in Canada to be on a board and walk on water. Just take a look at these incredible pictures from Shuswap, Sun Peaks and Kamloops.
Need more convincing? We didn’t think so. But just in case, here are the 10 reasons why the South Thompson Shuswap is Canada’s SUP Capital.
Amazing landscape diversity
Only in the South Thompson Shuswap can you paddle on water surrounded by lush forests, towering mountains, arid deserts and bright green grasslands. You can find almost any biome in The South Thompson Shuswap and paddle through it.
The quietest, smoothest waters
Love the feeling of having a lake all to yourself? In the South Thompson Shuswap you’ll see more wildlife in the water than you’ll see people. The result: quiet and smooth waters perfect for SUP.
A photo posted by David McAleenan (@mashola) on https://www.instagram.com/p/2jZrsQELnr/
Famous SUP culture
Stand up paddleboarding is more than just an activity in the South Thompson Shuswap, it’s a way of life. Locals and visitors find their peace on the still waters of area’s lakes and strong SUP businesses help support the cause.
A photo posted by @christian.dennis on https://www.instagram.com/p/3rbQF3GqmT/?taken-by=christian.dennis
Crystal clear water
The lakes of the South Thompson Shuswap clear themselves at an astounding rate, meaning the water is fresh, pure and so clear that you can see straight to the bottom. This calmness in the water allows you to explore a whole new world under your board, where dash by and curious turtles swim at your feet.
Reflections #explorecanada #fantastic_earth #huffpostgram #huffpostcanada #nikond300 #nikoncanada #natgeolandscape #landscapephotomag #tourcanada #universetoday #landscapephotographers #nikon #morninglight #oh_canada #nikonphotography #sunsetphotos #cangeo #explorebc #explorekamloops #shotonnikon #amazingearth #nikon_dslr_users #wildernessculture #outsideculture #ilovebc #imagesofcanada #tourcanada #mthrworld
A photo posted by Dave Markel (@davemarkelphoto) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BDXX8swMAe4/
Did we mention the views?
With miles of waterfront and isolated lakes, the South Thompson Shuswap is famous for its secret shores. Paddle up to one and spend the day (and maybe your night) on your own private beach.
A photo posted by Paul Anderson (@whiskeythrottleadv) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BF0PVzjGmK8/?tagged=scotchcreek
One of first ever paddleboards imported to Canada came through the South Thompson Shuswap, making the region one of the first SUP areas in the country. In the region, you’ll find some of Canada’s most knowledgeable stand up paddleboarders who are eager to share their advice on where to SUP.
A photo posted by Bodie Shandro (@paddlesurfit) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BH53zShgg95/?taken-by=paddlesurfit&hl=en
Best weather in the country
The South Thompson Shuswap is known for its blue skies and warm, comfortable temperatures.
I couldn't make it on time for #sup today because @vancouverwateradventures still closes at 7pm ????...so I'm reflecting on my #longweekend #paddleboarding adventures on #heffleylake. Thanks for the board @typhanieyetman and thank you to Bodie from #paddlesurfit who inflated my board for me and saved my weekend!! #zen
A photo posted by three bees (@three_bees) on https://www.instagram.com/p/BHgGvkfjvWP/
Stand up paddleboarding doesn’t have to be just for those with two legs. With dog friendly hiking trails and beaches, the South Thompson Shuswap is a natural fit for adding a dog to your paddleboard.
Everyone can do it
Most importantly, SUP in the South Thompson Shuswap is an activity for everyone. Beginners love the calm, gentle waters while more advanced paddlers can find challenges in downwinding in the Shuswap. Whatever your skill level or familiarity with SUP, there’s water waiting for you in the South Thompson Shuswap.
Paddle-Specific Local Businesses
Ready to walk on water in Canada’s SUP Capital? Any of these paddle-specific local businesses will have you on the water as soon as you can get to the South Thompson Shuswap.
A photo posted by Bodie Shandro (@paddlesurfit) on https://www.instagram.com/p/8JESXiybTY/?taken-by=paddlesurfit
Wake Up SUP
A photo posted by Wake Up Sup (@wakeupsup) on https://www.instagram.com/p/6yrLxcpE0q/
Written by, Nick Waddell
Looking for a place to see some Kamloops wildlife this summer? The British Columbia Wildlife Park and Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge are two great places for families, children, and animal lovers to get their fix on several interesting animals native to British Columbia.
British Columbia Wildlife Park Kamloops
The British Columbia Wildlife Park houses several different species of BC wildlife for rehabilitation, research, and breeding located just 15 minutes east of Kamloops along the Trans-Canada Highway. The 50 hectare park is home to everything from big cats, birds, bears, canines, small animals, hoof stock, to reptiles and amphibians. Their mission at the BC Wildlife Park is to encourage the appreciation of and respect for BC’s wildlife and to assist in preserving biodiversity through education, research, captive breeding, and rehabilitation services. The BC Wildlife Park’s goal is to connect people to BC’s wildlife and wild places in order to encourage a sustainable society.
There are several activities and events to go see at the wildlife park all summer including interactions with the animals, tours, special events like the bird of prey flight demonstrations and laser light shows. The park features a wildlife express miniature train as well as a playground and waterpark to help keep young children entertained. At the far end of the park there is a short hike to a waterfall for the perfect picture moment
I visited the wildlife park on a hot afternoon in April and was instantly impressed by the look and feel of the services and buildings offered by the park. The staff were helpful, kind, and my visit was self-directed which let me do my own thing around the park. The first thing you notice is the wide-open, grassy spaces, dotted with trees that look ideal for an afternoon picnic. My favourite part was actually the Home Hardware barn where farm animals and smaller live stock are kept. The goats would prop themselves up to eat out of hay baskets hanging from the ceiling. You could pet and take pictures of the animals. The birds of prey were mesmerizing and beautiful. I was glad to see the animals were getting the proper attention they needed after being injured in various accidents. I enjoyed the hike at the end and took some great waterfall pictures.
For more information about the BC Wildlife Park concerning directions, rates, and hours, check out their website at http://www.bcwildlife.org or give them a phone call at (250) 573-3242.
Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge
The Turtle Valley Donkey refuge is a beautiful farm to visit this summer for families, children, and animal lovers. The refuge, located just outside of Chase, BC, is run by founders Rob Miller and Shirley Mainprize who devote their time to caring for senior, neglected, and abused donkeys. The refuge began 19 years ago when the two developed a passion for the animal and wanted to create a space for neglected donkeys. The Donkey Refuge is now owned by the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge society but the original founders still volunteer daily on the farm. As donkeys can live up to 50 years, many are abandoned by owners who were not aware or prepared for the commitment. Donkeys are often not taken care of properly due to the unique care they require.
Donkeys are native to South Africa, and the BC climate and topography allow for numerous health issues to pop up if the animals are not taken care of properly. Dental and hoof care are the most expensive and common things to attend to when caring for the animal. Turtle Valley runs on a budget of approximately $350,000 a year and obtains most of their funding through grants, sponsors, admissions, and donations. The refuge encourages visitors to sponsor an animal to help out with some of the costs and are ideally looking for 20 sponsors per animal. Due to expensive veterinary bills and an increase in the price of hay due to a shortage, any donations are highly appreciated.
The farm currently has 105 permanent resident donkeys to interact with which include 3 different sizes of donkey. The animals themselves are quite calm, friendly, and enjoy interacting with humans. The six staff members running the refuge offer tours and one-on-one time with the donkeys as well as information about individual donkey personalities and care.
I dropped by the refuge to be energetically welcomed by the two founders, Shirley and Rob. Having never been within 10 feet of a donkey before, I really didn’t know what to expect from the animals. However, I was presently surprised. As Shirley educated us about the miniature donkeys, they would simply come up and bump into you looking for attention. It was quite adorable and I continued to pet and give my attention to several donkeys who were interested in what we were doing. The entire experience was quite peaceful as you look at the beautiful mountainous and green surroundings of Turtle Valley.
For more information and directions to the refuge, check out their site at http://www.turtlevalleydonkeyrefuge.com. You can also get in touch with one of the founders Shirley Mainprize by sending an email or phone call to (250) 679-2778 and email@example.com respectively.