North Okanagan is home to flourishing wilderness roaming with wild life. Historic towns eager to preserve their rich heritage are tempting and friendly for those who wish to explore. Most of all, this region is renowned for its diverse array of activities.
Sporting activities abound in the hills nearby where you can hike, rock climb, mountain bike or even try llama trekking. The surrounding area holds enough streams and lakes to warm the heart of any fisherman. Try your luck at gold panning in the Monashee Mountains in Cherryville. Visit Ellison Provincial Park on Okanagan Lake and try your hand at scuba driving or kayaking. For more action and thrills, visit Sun Valley Motor Speedway, an oval track that offers NASCAR racing from mid-May to late September. If golf is you favorite sport, try one of the challenging courses found in and around Vernon. Perfect weather and great scenery will only serve to inspire your game.
Located on Hwy 97 where Hwy 6 connects, Vernon can offer you a vacation experience you've always dreamed of. Roaming through the fragrant orchards in the spring or eating delicious apples in the fall, Vernon is the perfect place for a leisurely vacation. Take a scenic canoe trip and drop by a winery, where a patio lunch awaits. Enjoy the many fabulous fruits and vegetables that grow throughout the area.
Attractions are in abundance in Vernon. Some favorites for the young and young at heart are the Atlantis Waterslides with its 10 slides. There are hands-on displays at the Okanagan Science Centre and the Lake City Casino offers up hours of entertainment for adults. The City's proximity to one of BC's most beautiful lakes, Kalamalka, makes it the ideal summer getaway with sandy beaches and miles of fresh, emerald green water for every kind of water sport. Thrill seekers look to paragliding while those in need of solitude can fish in streams and lakes throughout Vernon and the surrounding area. This place is a pure vacationland - anytime of year.
Shining brightly above Vernon, at over 800 vertical meters, is Silver Star Mountain Resort. Bask in the legendary sunshine while you enjoy the storybook charm of the world class, Victorian-inspired village. Hang on to your hat for 107 epic runs through 1,000 hectares on bottomless dry Okanagan powder. National Nordic teams from all over the world utilize Silver Star's Nordic Center for serious training. There are 55km (35mi) of core trails and 4km (2.4mi) of night-lit tracks. If you're not a skier or snowboarder, you can always try snowmobiling, dog sledding or hold on tight for an outrageous slide at Tube Town, an exhilarating toboggan park. Throughout the summer visitors to Silver Star can ride the chair lift to the alpine above to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride or attend the Summer Wine Festival.
Falkland and its surrounding area is proud of its rural agricultural lifestyle and offers an abundance of small lakes and varied outdoor activities. The area surrounding Falkland includes Deep Creek, Ranchero, Silver Creek and the Salmon Valley. A rural community, Falkland is located on Highway 97 northwest of Vernon, and is the ideal spot for those who enjoy the great outdoors as the terrain is characterized by long flat inland valleys with rolling hills, rivers and mountains. The surrounding forested hills are home to many accessible fishing lakes (10 lakes within 10 miles), and offer excellent hiking, biking and backcountry exploration. With winter comes great snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on groomed and ungroomed trails. Nature lovers, rockhounds, birdwatchers and camera buffs will find lots to see and explore on the side roads and trails throughout the area. When driving to Farkland look way up and you'll see the community's large Canadian flag. Measuring 28 feet high and 56 feet wide, the flag is perched on the mountainside, 500 feet above the town site. Some attractions not to be missed are "The Pillar" at Pillar Lake, Farkland & District Heritage Park, Museum & Archives and Tut Mountain Lookout.
One of the most beautiful agricultural areas in BC, Armstrong and Spallumcheen are situated between the sunny, rolling Okanagan Valley and the cooler forested Shuswap Valley. Here you will find a landscape predominantly cloaked in rich green alfalfa and golden grains, with diverse farms nestled among pine-clad hillsides. Located just north of Vernon, Armstrong is a convenient base for day trips to the surrounding area.
Don't miss one of BC's most popular summer events, Armstrong's Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede in August. Come celebrate rural life, agricultural displays, pro-rodeo events, live entertainment and one of BC's largest midways. Communities in Bloom and Winter Lights Celebration are national competitions that attract tourists from all over to experience beautiful gardens in summer and the Canadian spirit in winter. The Harvest Pumpkin Fest boasts the largest display of lighted jack-o-lanterns in the Okanagan Valley and Armstrong is the official weigh-in site for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth and home of the Great Pumpkin Launch.
Armstrong itself is notable for its renovated heritage homes, businesses and small specialty shops. Stop by one of the local farms along the way for fresh fruits and produce or experience a wonderful time in fresh air and sunshine at the Farmer's Market held every Saturday. The Olde School House of 1884 is a great place to browse through the antiques and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea. View the Spallumcheen Valley by taking a hike up Rose Swanson Mountain where a spectacular view of the North Okanagan vista awaits. The Thomas Hayes Ecological Reserve, 58 hectares in size, was set-aside as a wildlife refuge to protect a large colony of Great Herons. Take a peaceful, relaxing stroll through the Reserve's many differing fragile eco-systems.
The City of Enderby is located on the banks of the Shuswap River just 15 minutes north of Armstrong. The river running through town makes Enderby a natural playground for favorite downtime activities including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, hiking, fishing and picnicking on a sandy beach. After a round of golf, the entire family can enjoy a meal at one of the many fine restaurants, then take in a movie at one of only two drive-in theatres in British Columbia.
The awe-inspiring Monashee Mountain Range dominates the landscape in this region and beckons for the attention of outdoor enthusiasts. With a variety of powder-covered mountain peaks, bounteous lakes and wild life filled forests, the possibilities are endless. Monashee Provincial Park contains 7,513 hectares of untouched mountain wilderness that supports grizzly bear, mountain caribou, wolverine and mule deer. Although undeveloped and lacking road access, there are a variety of switch back trails for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy. Those who love to carve through fresh powder will inevitably find their way to Tsuius Mountain and its associated peaks. With over 1,520 vertical meters (5,000 feet) of powdered slopes, the terrain here is perfect for a downhill thrill through steep, tree-studded inclines.
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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia