Nothing beats a scenic walk along the river banks with a local java in hand or a cruise on two wheels with the family, and wind blowing through your helmet-covered hair. The Rivers Trail is a network of 40km of trails connecting Kamloops’ downtown and North Shore along the North and South Thompson Rivers that are shore to delight.
Frequented by walkers, runners, cyclists, roller bladers, four legged friends, and the like, the Rivers Trail network is mostly flat with both paved and unpaved sections of trail. Bonus, the paved sections are accessible year-round as the City of Kamloops maintains and clears the snow during winter months.
The starting point of the trail system, kilometre zero, can be found at the High Water Mark sculpture in Riverside Park. Riverside Park is where the North and South Thompson Rivers meet, and where Tk'emlups (Kamloops), meaning “where the rivers meet”, got its name. From here, the Rivers Trail extends 15km north, 16km west, and 3km east.
Although you can access the trail network from various corners of Kamloops, here are a few of the most poplar stretches of path:
Riverside Park to Pioneer Park
Parking at the west end in Riverside Park, join the Rivers Trail along the waterfront as it heads east. Stroll through the Japanese Uji Friendship Garden, past the pickleball and tennis courts and take in the many public art displays along the trail including Highwater Plaza, Lock-In Hope, Labyrinth and Forest Plaza. The trail from Riverside park to Pioneer park along Waterfront park is about 2.8km round trip along a paved, illuminated path. While dogs are not welcome in Riverside Park itself, Waterfront Park and Pioneer park are dog-friendly.
If you’re an animal lover, Aviation Way is the path to choose. This unpaved, off-leash dog area is very popular with dog walkers, but avid bird watchers will enjoy the area as well as it is a bald eagle habitat. Parking at the end of Aviation Way, near the Kamloops Airport, join the Rivers Trail as it heads west. One of the last trails to get snow in the winter and one of the first ones to dry up in the spring, the Rivers Trail at Aviation Way is popular among locals in the shoulder seasons. Fall is particularly beautiful with the golden and crimson deciduous trees and the low water levels that reveal out-sanding beaches to explore.
The Rivers Trail loops around the perimeter of McArthur Island, creating either a 3.1km or 2.3km loop. Paved and relatively flat, this trail is teeming with wildlife such as marmots, ducks, geese and sometimes deer. McArthur Island is also home to world-class sports fields and hosts numerous tournaments every year. For added fun, bring a putter and golf ball and take advantage of the free 18-hole mini golf course, or bring your discs for a round of 18-hole disc golf. McArthur Island Park is not dog-friendly.
Westsyde Centennial Park
Parking at the Westsyde Centennial Park, you and your pup can join the northern portion of the Rivers Trail along the North Thompson River. You can head either north or south along the hard packed dirt trail. In addition to the trail, you can also visit the Little Farmer’s Petting Zoo which is great for kids and adults alike and Westsyde Centennial Park also features a kids pump bike track, playground, and more.
Park either at the west end in Riverside Park, and take the Rivers Trail over the Overlander Bridge, or park along Schubert Drive. This section of trail is paved, on-leash dog friendly, and has many benches to sit and enjoy the unbe-leaf-able views of the North Thompson River. This section of the Rivers Trail is also a huge part of the annual Boogie the Bridge marathon that happens every April.
So pick your path, plan your day, and explore the Rivers Trail in Kamloops. We hear there’s also easy access to apres spots… just saying.