Outdoor Adventure Spring through Fall Archives
As soon as the snow melts, riders can take to the hills. Not only is the season extended because of the prompt arrival of spring but the hundreds of kilometers of trails allow families to keep coming back to discover new twists and turns in the landscape. The long season and the diversity of the landscape in Kamloops has always been a draw for mountain bike enthusiasts. Pro rider and Kamloops resident, Matt Hunter explains, “It’s interesting to travel the world and experience different mountain bike towns; and Kamloops is definitely a mountain bike town. There is something special about our landscape and the people who are here. It’s a magical combination.” Matt goes on to explain that the grasslands and forests of Kamloops are a recipe for smooth and flowy trails- there’s nowhere else quite like it.
Top photo: Sterling Lorence
|Don't forget to stop by the Kamloops Visitor Centre to pick up your FREE Trail Guide or download a copy here.|
For Immediate Release
Tourism Kamloops Releases First Multi-Use Trail Guide
Tourism Kamloops, in collaboration with the community, releases the highly anticipated 2017 Trail Guide
March 4, 2017 - Tourism Kamloops is pleased to announce the release of the Kamloops 2017 Trail Guide. A result of extensive community collaboration and strong partnerships with passionate, local trail enthusiasts, Tourism Kamloops’ Trail Guide presents over 200km of trails that visitors can explore and enjoy 12-months of the year.
"Whether you are planning a relaxing family getaway or an adrenaline-packed weekend, Kamloops and our landscapes offer a multitude of trail experiences," says Lisa Strachan, Tourism Kamloops Director of Destination Development & Trade Relations. "When you look through the 2017 Trail Guide, it becomes easy to understand why Kamloops is renowned for its world class trail network."
"Due to the hard work of many volunteers, Kamloops has seen a huge increase in the amount of new and sanctioned trails in the last few years. Having a single guide to tie it all together puts this accomplishment into perspective. The 2017 Trail Guide is a great resource for locals and visitors alike," explains Catharine Pendrel, President of the Kamloops Bike Riders Association.
Bike enthusiasts are encouraged to use the guide to plan their next ride, and visitors who prefer to explore on foot can use the guide to enjoy signature Kamloops trails that will challenge them or simply provide activity levels for the entire family.
“We are so fortunate to have great partners who share our vision in showcasing Kamloops as accessible outdoor playground," boasts Strachan. "Incredible partnerships with the City of Kamloops, Kamloops Performance Cycling Centre, Kamloops Bike Riders Association, Pinkbike.com and Trailforks.com and many other local partners helped make the Kamloops 2017 Trail Guide possible."
The Kamloops 2017 Trail Guide is available at the Kamloops Visitor Centre or online at tourismkamloops.com.
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.
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: Doug Smth
The rivers of Kamloops collect the meltwaters of mountain ranges of the Interior, flowing downstream where they meet to become the Thompson River. The South Thompson River comes from the Monashee Mountains to the east, collected in Shuswap Lake, then it flows 60 km west to Kamloops. The North Thompson River starts in the Cariboo Mountains to the north and flows for 355 km south to Kamloops. The confluence is right in the center of Kamloops. The Thompson River flows for another 15 km to Kamloops Lake and then beyond to Ashcroft, Spence’s Bridge and to Lytton where it joins the Fraser River. The rivers of Kamloops offer a combined total of over 100 km of recreation opportunities for on-the-water activities.
Paddlers can launch their boats at a number of spots along the South Thompson River. The best launch spot is at Pioneer Park where there is lots of parking, a boat launch area with beach landing spots, a back eddy start/finish, and choices of upstream or downstream paddling. A popular choice is to go upstream to the Yellowhead Bridge with an easy paddle back downstream for a 3.5 km out-and-back route. Paddlers can also go downstream to the confluence of the two rivers and back, staying close to the shoreline in either direction. Upstream paddling is all hard work, so it’s always best to stay close to the shoreline. Other launch/landing spots on the South Thompson River include Valleyview Boat Launch, the Lafarge Bridge (21 km upstream), the Pritchard Bridge (42 km upstream), and at Chase. An excellent choice is to paddle downstream only, leaving a vehicle at the landing spot. Downstream paddlers can expect to do 5 to 8 km an hour!
There are a few spots to hand launch on the North Thompson River. Paddlers can go upstream from Riverside Park which will be a good workout since the North Thompson River flows more quickly than the South Thompson River. There are a few spots along the river to launch in Westsyde with the best choice being the foot of Harrington Drive. It is possible to launch from Rayleigh, the Tournament Capital Ranch too, but there are no official boat launches. Farther upstream, paddlers launch at the McLure Ferry and the Little Fort Ferry for long downstream paddle adventures.
Paddlers can also launch from McArthur Island to explore Rabbit Island, the 12 km section downstream, or upstream to the confluence. At Cooney Bay the river empties into Kamloops Lake and paddlers can explore the shoreline west to Battle Bluff or along the east end of the 25 km lake. During freshet, the estuary floods and paddlers can explore the Tranquille Wildlife Protected Area wetlands.
All boats should carry safety gear (a pfd is essential) and paddlers need to take precautions for weather conditions, faster flowing water during freshet, river hazards, fitness considerations, cold water, other and paddling safety considerations. The best time to paddle the rivers of Kamloops are mornings, weekdays, or the off-season when the powerboats are not out in force. At those peak times, paddlers can go to one of hundreds of lakes in the area, picking a new location each time all season!
Written by: Bill McQuarrie
One of the first things you’ll notice about this ride is the lack of traffic. In fact it’s mostly on roads that nobody else seems to know exist. Mostly two lanes, paved and the perfect mix of sweepers and twisties with just enough straight stretches to let it go. Total distance for the ride, 350 km and a map can be found at the end of the blog.
You’ll be riding along side a clear mountain creek past a few lakes, through some high country mesa, sandstone cliffs, ranchland, a few small towns (pubs, restaurants, gas) and even a chance to stop at a local cider brewery. Towards the end, when you are following the famous Thompson River, you’ll be on Highway #1 but even then, most if it will be on two lanes. And speaking of roads, if you’re a dual sport biker you will be passing a lot of forestry roads, so bring your GPS and do some extra exploring.
I just did this ride May 6/16 with morning temperatures around 15’C (About 60F) and late afternoon temps that were closer to 30’C (High 80’s in Fahrenheit), so expect to end the day in a T-shirt.
By the way, the least expensive gas in the region is found in Kamloops, so top up before leaving. Now let’s get going...
Heading west out of Kamloops on Highway #1 towards Savona, you’re going to turn left onto the Tunkwa Lake Rd just before entering Savona (about 43 km from Kamloops and well signed). This road is paved but a bit uneven in places.
However, the scenery is spectacular and the turns and climbs make it all worthwhile.
Your next major junction is only 40 km away, so take your time and enjoy.After riding through the provincial park, you’ll arrive at the Logan Lake junction and you want to continue straight ahead on 97C. Unless you’re hungry or need gas in which case hang a left into Logan Lake. I recommend the Black Bull Pub on Poplar Dr. if you’re looking for lunch.
Back on the road and heading south on 97C, you’ll see Left Field Cider on your right. I wasn’t much of a cider fan until I stopped their last summer and learned what real cider should taste like. I now enjoy cider and I recommend you stop as well.
The next 35 or so km are going to take you through rolling hills and a mix of grasslands and forest before heading into cowboy country as you approach Merritt. At the intersection of 97C and Highway 8 (Nicola Highway) you have a choice. You can turn left for a quick trip into Merritt or go right to continue towards Spences Bridge. There’s no gas between here and Cache Creek so might be an idea to head into Merritt and gas up
Merritt is a ranching community and I’d recommend heading downtown for a visit and maybe something to eat. They’re known as the Country Music Capital of Canada and you might want to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
Back on the road, you’ll be heading west towards Spences Bridge on 8, following a valley carved out by the Nicola River. It’s two lanes all the way and you’ll be riding by grasslands, pine forests, semi-desert sagebrush country, sandstone cliffs and the clear running water of the Nicola. There’s parks and recreation sites along the way, so lots of chances to stop and explore the countryside. Mind you, the road seems to have been built for bikes, so you may not want to stop. It’s around 65 km to Spences Bridge and some say this is the best part of the ride.
Once you’re in Spences Bridge and just before hitting the junction of 8 and Highway 1, look up and to your right and you’ll spot the tallest waterfall in the area.
Turning right onto Hwy 1 you’re on your way to Cache Creek. It’s 50 km away and the road is in perfect shape…Mostly 2 lanes but long passing lanes on the hills. You’re now following the historic Thompson River and the highway you’re riding on began life as part of the Cariboo Gold Rush trail.
As you near Cache Creek and start your decent into town, the speed limit drops to 70 km/h and then quickly to 50. It’s a well-patrolled section of highway…just saying.
From Cache Creek, it’s 45 minutes to Kamloops on Hwy 1 and again, mostly two lanes with lots of passing lanes in the hilly sections. If you’ve timed this last part of the ride right, the sun will be on your back and beginning to set. Long shadows in the hoodoos beside the road, the tops of the hills lit up, Kamloops Lake eventually appearing on your left and cooling things down a bit as you near the end of the ride. And if you want to watch the last of the sunset happen, stop at the lookout at the crest between Savona and Tobiano. You can climb out on the rock bluffs and watch the sun go down.
When you’re back in Kamloops I recommend you stop by the Noble Pig, one of our local brew pubs. It’s right downtown on Victoria St., makes all it’s own beer on premise, has a great scotch bar as well, large selection of wine and menu that insures you won’t go away hungry.
If you’re looking for a place to stay that is nearby, check out the Thompson Inn (next door), the 540 Hotel (a block away) or the Plaza Hotel (2 blocks away). There’s also a good choice of motels up on Columbia St that are just 3 or 4 blocks away. So it’s easy to park your bike for the night and enjoy an evening at the Pig.
If you’ve decided to stay another day to experience more rides, - something I really think you should consider - then I’ve got another great highway touring ride to tell you about. Or for dual sport riders, there’s an incredible ride that will take you through the Douglas Lake Ranch on mostly gravel roads.