Make a splash in Kamloops by hitting the water. While gliding along it, paddling through it, or sitting beside it, your body will become in tune with the local landscape. For those seeking water’s rejuvenation, Kamloops has over 100 lakes within a one-hour drive to explore. Here are the top lakes (and river) near Kamloops ideal for canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Kamloops Lake—the largest in the area—is one of the best places to launch a paddleboard, canoe, or kayak. Bruker Marina, at the southwest end of the lake, offers easy access to the lake with a sprawling beach to lounge out on after a long day on the water. Rent a paddleboard, single or double kayak for an hour, a whole day, or a full week. There is also the option to rent a two- or four-seater peddle boat, powerboat, or aluminum fishing boat. Cruise around the lake and keep an eye out for the rocky bluffs and hoodoo formations that line the shore. Other great launch points include Savona at the far west end of the lake or Cooney Bay on Kamloops’ North Shore.
Just 30 minutes outside downtown Kamloops, towards Sun Peaks Resort, sits serene and quiet Heffley Lake. This small mountainside lake has a series of calm little bays to discover wildlife and improve your paddle strokes. Paddle Surfit has an outpost here—run by legendary lifelong surfer Bodie Shandro—and offers rentals, lessons, and guiding. Explore the lake or book a paddleboard excursion to more remote locales on a heli-sup adventure. The Heffley Lake Hideaway also offers paddleboard, kayak, and smaller motorized boat rentals.
Most popular with canoeists and kayakers, the crystal-clear waters at McConnell Lake Provincial Park make for a perfect place to glide around. If you like to fish, this is a popular place to catch rainbow trout. After your paddle, stretch your legs on the primitive 3.5-km (2.2-mi) trail that lines the lake. The gravel boat launch makes getting your boats in and out easy and there is a picnic area for day-use.
Paul Lake is a great spot for a long, sunny day at the beach or for a few days of water sport fun with 90 camp and RV sites. No motorboats are allowed on this sprawling lake, making it ideal for families to cruise around the 12 km (7.5 mi) of shoreline. Visitors can launch canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards from the west end of the lake or from the day-use area. It’s a great place to spot wildlife and birds, including osprey, white-throated swift, falcon, and bald eagles.
Lac le Jeune
The picturesque lake at Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park sits just 30 minutes from downtown Kamloops with over 146 metres (480 feet) of sandy beach. Here, you can park a RV or tent for a trip overnight or book into the Lac Le Jeune Wilderness Resort. With a speed limit of 20 km (12.5 mi) per hour for motorboats, this lake stays calms for canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.
South Thompson River
Conveniently located in downtown Kamloops, explore the waterways of the South Thompson River from Riverside Park. Whether you paddle by kayak or choose to pedal a water bike, rentals are available (pre-booked in advance or day of first-come, first served) from The Concession by the pier from Sea Legs Water Bikes and Kamloops Water Sport Rentals. Make it a full day at the Park and enjoy food trucks, ice cream, swimming, water park and lawn game rentals by the hour. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm-7pm until Oct 10.
Rent or Bring Your Own
Grab a rental from Bruker Marina on Kamloops Lake, Paddle Surfit at Heffley Lake, or True Outdoors in town. If you own your own water craft, strap it to the car and bring it on your next journey to one of Kamloops’ many lakes.
Before adventuring onto the water, be PaddleSmart and plan ahead. Pack the essentials, check weather forecasts, wear a lifejacket, and be BC Adventure Smart this season. Public health and safety is top priority. Please make safe, informed decisions and adhere to the latest health measures put in place from the provincial health officers. Click here for the latest information for regional health measures, the ongoing wildfire situation, highway advisories, and more.