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3-2229-Blue-Mountain-biking
Blue Mountain Vineyards, Okanagan Falls
(Patrice Halley photo)

Merritt

Geography

Merritt is set along the Nicola Valley, a thin strip of flatland set between the coastal mountains and the British Columbia interior's high plateau.

In addition to Merritt, the Nicola Valley comprises Quilchena, Douglas Lake, Aspen Grove, Spences Bridge, and Logan Lake.

Landscape

The Coastal Mountain Range is a natural barrier for weather moving in from the west. As a result, Merritt and the Nicola Valley are located in a rain shadow. The area has a semi-arid climate, quite dry but not exactly a desert. The surrounding hills offer a variety of easily accessed recreational activities including fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Climate and Weather

With more than 2,050 hours of annual sunshine, Merritt is a natural location for year around outdoor adventure. Summer temperatures can be hot in July and August: Daytime highs average 26.4°C/80°F (sometimes reaching 40°C/104°F), while daytime lows average 10°C/50°F.

Annual rainfall averages 23mm/0.9in. June is Merritt's rainiest month, with approximately 34mm/1.3in of rainfall. In winter, snowfall in town is almost non-existent with 83cm/32in falling over the course of an entire winter. The surrounding hills, however, receive much more snow – great for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The coldest months are December and January when temperatures plunge to 14°C/25°F. In February, temperatures warm up to -1°C/30°F.