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