Guide to Kamloops, Interior BC's Heart-Pumping Outdoor Adventure Capital

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In Kamloops, adventure comes first. With abundant sunshine, the second largest city in BC’s interior has over 100 lakes within easy reach—ideal for fishing and paddling—while the surrounding area of wide-open grasslands, sagebrush, and ponderosa pine forests offers exquisite terrain for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, and golf.

WHAT TO DO IN KAMLOOPS

At the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers, where the Trans-Canada meets Highway 5, you’ll find the lively and picturesque city of Kamloops, the perfect meeting place for adventurers, whatever your style or level.

Scenic Lookout at the Panorama Inn in downtown Kamloops | Tanya Goehring

Take to the trails

Downtown Kamloops, just off of Columbia Street at the Scenic Lookout at the Panorama Inn | Tanya GoehringKamloops has a strong reputation as a mountain biking destination, with some of the world’s best riders either hailing from here or spending considerable time riding and filming in the area.

This mountain biker’s paradise offers unique, rugged terrain and the perfect semi-arid climate for year-round riding. Classic single track, high-speed alpine downhill, fat biking in winter–whatever your style, you’ll find it here. Rent your wheels from District Bicycle Co., then head out to local trails like the Pineview Valley Trail Network, an all-mountain area west of the city. Also check out Kamloops Bike RanchCanada’s largest municipal bike park, which covers 26 hectares (64 acres) of open grasslands terraced between the Valleyview and Juniper Ridge neighbourhoods.

For some lower-key riding—and fabulous views of the Thompson Valley and Kamloops—check out Lac du Bois Grasslands or Kenna Cartwright Park, (which can also be explored on foot).

Prefer to travel on foot? Nearby hikes with panoramic views include Peterson Creek Nature Park (bring your pups, as it’s entirely off-leash) and Battle Bluff with a nearly 360-metre (1180-foot) ascent to a cliff overlooking Kamloops Lake. Looking for a more leisurely stroll? Enjoy an interpretative lakeside walk at Isobel Lake (wheelchair accessible).

Lac des Roches | Andrew Strain

Take to the water

Grab your own gear or rent a SUP for the day from Paddle Surfit at Heffley Lake, about 30 minutes’ drive north of the city; float on the lake or bring your own gear and lake-hop your way to Paul Lake and Lac le Jeune provincial parks farther south. You can also book a boat and watersports equipment at Bruker Marina on Kamloops Lake and spend the day zipping around on the water there.

The Kamloops area is also popular for fishing, and is known as the still-water capital of North America. You’ll find a number of perfect spots to drop your line, including Edith Lake, Roche Lake, and Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park. You may even want to book a guided fishing trip to bring home some rainbow trout from one of the nearby nutrient-rich lakes. Or, consider a longer stay at Knouff Lake fishing resort—which holds North America’s fly fishing record of 17.5 lbs for a dry fly catch—and set some new records of your own. 

Tabiano Golf Course | Andrew Penner

Take to the range

Whatever your style, Kamloops offers a range of, well, ranges. The area is known for its diverse golfing landscape, which offers golfers dramatic topography of shorelines, cliff sides, and memorable panoramas, as well as courses with nearly 1,200 metres (3900 feet) of elevation change.

Tee off at Rivershore Estates & Golf Links with views along the South Thompson River and the banks of the hoodoos. Enjoy dramatic viewpoints at Tobiano Golf as well as their popular driving range; and if you haven’t yet ridden a golf board, try it at the Kamloops Golf & Country Club.

For a different kind of range experience, visit Campbell Hills Guest Ranch and be a cowboy for a day (or a few). Learn to throw a lasso, take a natural horsemanship course, or stay longer and enjoy the scenic trails and fine dining. On hot summer days, you can go swimming with your horse! For a family-friendly outdoor excursion, visit the BC Wildlife Park, a wildlife education and rehabilitation centre less than 20 minutes from the city. Introduce the kiddos to an even wider range of hoofstock native to BC, including bison and elk.

WHERE TO EAT

Stay for a weekend or a week, and pair your adrenaline-pumped outdoor activities with tasty, locally crafted food and drink options.

Harper's Trail Winery | Andrew Strain

Get your caffeine kick at 5Bean Brewbar & CafeCaffe Motivo, or Red Beard Cafe. Fuel up at Amsterdam Restaurantand on weekends, pack a lunch from the Saturday Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market or grab brunch at Mittz Kitchen.

Make sure to top off a fun-filled day in BC’s great outdoors with local après. Replenish yourself at Twisted OliveJacob’s Noodle & Cutlet, or Jamaican Kitchen, and make sure to sample Noble Pig‘s delicious menu and house-made brews on the outdoor patio. Near Thompson Rivers University, check out Iron Road Brewing for empanadas and local taps from award-winning brewer Aaron MacInnis.

If you’re out and about in the Lac Du Bois area, make sure to stop by Woodward Cider Co. and Bright Eye Brewing on the way back to town, and for those sticking close to downtown, Red Collar Brewing and Alchemy Brewing are a short walk

Looking to take the day off? Book a wine tour with Tastefull Excursions or DiVine Tours and spend a day visiting some of the Thompson Valley wine region’s favourites, including Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Harper’s Trail, and Privato Vineyard & Winery.

WHERE TO STAY

From hotel stays to more rustic stays in RV parks, find the accommodation in and near Kamloops that best suits your adventure style.

Sunrise over Kamloops Lake | @scottprojectphotography

Delta Kamloops Hotel and the Sandman Signature Hotel across from Riverside Park offer elegant, laid-back stays downtown, as does Best Western Plus just up the hill. For a quaint, historic stay, try the Plaza Hotel, or for closer proximity to outdoor adventures south of the city, stay at Coast Hotel & Conference Centre or Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott.  

Those arriving by RV can hook up at Silver Sage RV Park on the north shore or Knutsford RV Campground, about 10 kilometres south of the city centre.

See Accommodation Options

Getting Here

For more information about getting to Kamloops, visit Tourism Kamloops and see a directory of what’s currently open.

 

Feature Image: Kenna Cartwright Park. Photo: Andrew Strain

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WRITTEN BY: Visnja Milidragovic

Visnja is an avid traveller, writer, and in-house content lead at DBC who's always keen to share her love and knowledge of British Columbia. Whether planning her next retreat into nature or mindfully exploring her neighbourhood in East Van, she loves finding new spots that inspire her and send her heart aflutter.