One of Canada’s sunniest destinations - boasting over 2000 hours of glorious sunshine a year - the diverse landscapes of Kamloops, British Columbia are a holiday paradise for outdoor sports lovers. Popular throughout the seasons, there are two ski resorts within a short drive of the city and a fantastic variety of winter sports. The summer months open up spectacular hiking and biking trails through the rugged sandstone canyons, forests and rivers, while the city’s leafy downtown has a wealth of shops to explore.
Located at the confluence of two rivers, Kamloops is also home to more than 100 lakes, so exploring the shimmering waters on canoes, kayaks or the more hair-raising river-rafts is something readily available for visitors. If you prefer to stay on dry ground, as well as the many hiking and biking trails, you can also head off into the hills on horseback for a real Canadian adventure. Or perhaps you would like to fly through the treetops on an exhilarating zipline course! Although not traditionally known as a prime wine-producing area, Kamloops is slowly making its name known and now has several successful wineries in its region which you can take a leisurely tour around, and of course stop to sample the delicious produce.
As the snow falls, Kamloops fully embraces the winter and there are a multitude of holiday activities to keep you busy. Enjoy the magical feeling of ice skating on an outdoor rink or stomping through the forests on snowshoes. Head to the huge Sun Peaks Resort for some excellent downhill skiing and snowboarding across its three mountains, as well as plenty of cross-country trails and a charming village centre - perfect for relaxing after your ski with a warming hot chocolate and a well-earned pastry. A more intimate resort, Harper Mountain is a little closer at just twenty minutes away and is a great family-friendly place to ski with a good range of runs. For an experience like no other, take a sunset helicopter tour over the city and beyond for some breath-taking views of the beautiful lakes and mountains as the sun dips behind the peaks.
Kamloops has a busy downtown area with a wide variety of boutiques and restaurants as well as several large shopping centres. It has a great walking tour which showcases some of the best restored or repaired heritage homes and a strong arts scene with many museums and galleries. The fantastic heritage railway makes for a great trip back in time as you chug through the countryside powered by steam. It is also a city proud of its First Nations culture, with a Secwepemc Musuem and restored village with a live archaeological site still under excavation. The museum is host to the unique Kamloopa Pow Wow which brings together over 1000 performers, artists and competitors and thousands of spectators every August for a lively festival of traditional singing, dancing, sports events and food.
With such a huge range of attractions, beautiful landscapes and rich history, the only trouble you will find on your holiday in the friendly city of Kamloops is deciding what to do first!
Things to do
Top tips for visiting Kamloops
Top Tip 1
• The Kamloopa Powwow is one of the largest celebrations of First Nation culture in Western Canada and draws crowds from across the world. If you are visiting during the August long weekend it should definitely be on your agenda - with the colourful costumes, traditional music and fantastic foods, the atmosphere is simply electric.
Top Tip 2
• Head down the alley behind the main shopping strip on Victoria Street and you will discover the ‘Back Alley Art Gallery’ consisting of several huge murals covering the backs of the downtown buildings. An interesting surprise!
Top Tip 3
• There are several working farms in the area that welcome visitors, from fruits orchards to sheep ranches, dairy farms boasting mouth-watering fresh ice creams and even vineyards. All offer a wealth of delicious produce for sale in their farm shops.
Top Tip 4
• During the summer months when the Thompson River is low, head to one of the riverside parks and enjoy a refreshing swim from the sandy beaches. Most also have regular live music and events.
Top Tip 5
• Visit the BC Wildlife Park and you have the chance to see Clover, a rare Kermode Bear. This beautiful species of bear has an unusual milky white coat and is often referred to as a ‘Spirit Bear’. There are believed to be only a few hundred left in the world.
Top Tip 6
• Sun Peaks Ski Resort is one of the largest ski areas in British Columbia with more than 3000 acres of runs over three mountains. For a charming, back-to-basics ski experience head away from the crowds to Harper Mountain. You can enjoy skiing on a variety of runs - including many cross-country trails - or have fun on the tube park before enjoying a hearty lunch in the family-run café.
Top Tip 7
• Kamloops in winter is a great place to be, with many lively events such as the Lights in the Night annual party. The Christmas in the Square craft show is held at the historic St. Andrew’s on the Square and there are several outdoor ice rinks where you can embrace your inner Torvill and Dean and glide – or stumble! – across the ice.