Kamloops has a dramatically contrasted geography.
The area features a semi-arid climate that sustains rolling hills of grasslands, sagebrush, ponderosa pine, and prickly pear cactus, marking a noticeable divergence from the rugged mountains of the Rocky Mountains and humid rainforest of the Pacific coast. The majority of Kamloops is situated on the surrounding sagebrush- and grass-covered hills of the South and North Thompson River.
A casual hike along the River's Trail, which extends along the entire downtown riverfront (13km/8.4mi along the North Thompson River, and 19km/12mi west along the Thompson River), is a great way to view Kamloops's geographical and topological features.
South Shore and North Shore
The south and north branches of the Thompson River meet at the western end of downtown Kamloops, dividing the community into two distinct parts. The South Shore is home to the downtown district and the Thompson Rivers University area with many arts facilities and shopping boutiques. The North Shore is home to the Kamloops Airport, a major residential area, major shopping centres, as well as access to Lac Du Bois for outdoor recreation.
Three bridges connect Kamloops' districts: The Overlanders Bridge connects downtown to the airport and the North Shore; the Red Bridge, a wooden trestle-type bridge, connects the city to the Kamloops First Nations Industrial Park; and the Yellowhead Highway Bridge leads to Sun Peaks Resort.
Communities near Kamloops
Communities within easy driving distances are Merritt (45 minutes along the Coquihalla Highway or one hour via the picturesque Highway 5A); Cache Creek and Ashcroft (45 and 50 minutes respectively via Highway 1); Salmon Arm (90 minutes via Highway 1); Sun Peaks Resort (45 minutes via the Yellowhead Highway 5); Barriere (one hour north along the Yellowhead Highway 5), and Logan Lake (45 minutes southwest of Kamloops off the Coquihalla Highway).
Climate and Weather
With more than 2,000 hours of sunshine each year, Kamloops' dry warm summers and crisp winter days create one of the most desirable climates in the Canada. Summers are long and dry with an annual average temperature of 30˚C/86˚F (July temperatures can reach 40˚C/104˚F on occasion). Winters are relatively short and mild, but do turn backcountry lakes and trails into frozen winter playgrounds. The is commonly snow on the ground at higher elevations November thru March.