Salmon Arm lies on the shores of Shuswap Lake at the head of Salmon Arm, one of four long, narrow bodies of water that give the lake its unusual "H" shape.
The city is centred in a rolling agricultural valley surrounded by highlands and mountains densely forested in cedar, western hemlock, fir, pine and larch with some stands of deciduous trees. The extinct volcanic cone of hiking challenge Mount Ida dominates the skyline to the south with the Larch Hills to the east, the Fly Hills to the west and a commanding view of Bastion Mountain across Salmon Arm Bay to the north.
Climate & Weather
Salmon Arm enjoys a moderate climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are warm with July highs averaging 27.3C/81.1F. Expect the first snowfall around the end of November with winter lasting into March. Snowfall and temperatures are moderate, with January highs averaging -1.5C/29.3F. Spring is marked by an abundance of showy wildflowers. In autumn, stands of birch, aspen and cottonwood turn brilliant yellow while larch trees, which unlike most conifers, change colour, turning the Larch Hills golden. Salmon Arm receives an average of 551mm/21.7in of precipitation annually.
Variations in altitude make the seasons elastic. In spring, for example, it's perfectly feasible to snowmobile in the Fly Hills in the morning and enjoy a round of golf in Salmon Arm in the afternoon. Dress in layers year round, especially when visiting the mountains in summer. Temperatures and weather conditions may vary quite dramatically.
Winter tires are strongly recommended when heading into the mountains from early autumn through late spring. Road conditions at higher elevations can be treacherous even when excellent in the valley. Four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles are best suited for rugged backcountry travel.
Lakes, Rivers & Mountains
Shuswap Lake is Salmon Arm's defining geological feature. With 1,000km/621mi of shoreline, the lake is a magnet for activities like swimming, kayaking, water skiing, houseboating, camping, fishing and bird watching. Scores of smaller lakes dot the countryside and highlands offering more opportunities for water activities, especially fishing. White Lake is a world-renowned trout lake. And the Adams River, less than an hour away, is one of North America's most important salmon spawning grounds. The forested hills and mountains are criss-crossed with trails for hiking and cycling in summer, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter.