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Fall Colours in the Thompson Okanagan

5 to 7 days, 300 km (186.41 mi)

Follow Route 97 to rivers, lakes and mountain views.

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Take Route 97 to the Thompson Okanagan region, with its rivers, lakes and mountain views, is a wonderful area to experience fall colours by car, foot, or bike.

Part 1

Kelowna

Kelowna | Tanya Goehring

Start the day with a trip, on foot or by bicycle, to the famous Myra Canyon Trestles on the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail. This scenic, but fairly level, section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail near Kelowna runs along the walls of a steep canyon, through two tunnels, and over 18 spectacular trestle bridges. There’s plenty of wildlife and beautiful fall colours along the way. Myra Canyon Bike Rentals has bikes available at the trail head.

Stop in for a tasting, or perhaps lunch, at a nearby winery. At Summerhill Pyramid Winery, both the wine and bistro fare are organic. Wine BC has more information about the dozens of wineries near Kelowna.

In the afternoon, head north to Vernon. Take an orchard and garden tour at Davison Orchards Country Village, then visit Planet Bee Honey Farm and Honeymoon Meadery to see how honey and honey wine are made.

Overnight in Vernon or Salmon Arm.

Part 2

Shuswap

Shuswap | Darren Robinson

Travel to the Shuswap region. North of the Okanagan, this area borders one of the world’s largest inland temperate rainforests.

The Adams River, which flows through Tsútswecw Provincial Park (Roderick Haig-Brown), has one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in North America. Each year, during the first three weeks of October, thousands of sockeye return here to spawn. The largest numbers occur during dominate every four years. An interpretive centre at the trail head offers insights into the process. Level, easy trails throughout the park lead to the best viewpoints along the river.

At Quaaout Lodge & Spa nearby, enjoy a lakeview lunch at Jack Sam’s Restaurant, and, in the afternoon, take part in a pre-booked First Nations cultural experience. Visit the kekuli, a traditional shelter on site, for story telling or enjoy a canoe trip on the lake.

Overnight in Salmon Arm or Chase.

Part 3

Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks, an all season mountain resort north of Kamloops, is a popular summer and fall destination with rich autumn colours and sweeping mountain views. Depending on the weather, many summer activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, yoga, and golfing at BC’s highest golf course are available until early to mid-October, or until the snow falls.

On a Voyageur canoe tour, there’s a good chance of spotting wildlife as you learn about early explorers and fur trade. Segway tours are a great way to explore the village and surrounding area. The Tyrolean-style alpine village has about 20 shops offering souvenirs, local artisans’ works and high-end outerwear, plus 22 restaurants offering plenty of dining options.

Overnight at Sun Peaks.

Part 4

Wells Gray Provincial Park

Wells Gray Provincial Park | Andrew Strain

Depart early for your trip along the North Thompson River towards Clearwater and Wells Gray Provincial Park. This stunning wilderness park in the North Thompson Valley is also known as the Waterfall Park, thanks to the more than 40 named falls within its borders.

Stop at the Clearwater Wells Gray Park Visitor Centre near the park entrance for maps and information. Spend the day in the park: hiking, canoeing, fishing, and photographing waterfalls. Some of the most accessible cascades are Spahats Falls, Moul Falls, Dawson Falls and Helmcken Falls

Part 5

Kamloops

Kamloops | Tanya Goehring

Return to Kamloops and enjoy a downtown walking tour with ACT Adventures , a stroll along the Rivers Trail, a visit to the Secwepemc Heritage Park and Museum, a tasting at the wineries, or a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, home to such indigenous wildlife as Clover, the Kermode Bear. In late October, enjoy a spooky ghost train tour on the Kamloops Heritage Railway. Dinner options in Kamloops range from brew pubs to fine dining.

Overnight in Kamloops.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
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