Although the village of Lumby was incorporated in 1956, its history dates back to 1893, when the forty-acre town site was surveyed. Prior to that, the small settlement of pioneer farmers and gold miners lived in White Valley, whose beginning commenced with the Cherry Creek gold strike in 1862.
The gold fever in British Columbia in the early 1860s brought men seeking an instant fortune. Some made their fortune. Others made and quickly squandered their riches. Some were disappointed and disappeared. Some realized the real potential was in the lush valleys of the Okanagan Valley. They became the first settlers.
For years, farming and logging were the main source of revenue for the region, and so it is today, but on a much grander scale. Lumby is now considered to be the wood products and logging capital of the North Okanagan.
Lumby is located 35 km (22 mi) east of Vernon and 36 km (23 mi) west of Cherryville on Hwy 6, in the northeast corner of the Okanagan Valley.
Covering the Lumby, Cherryville, and Mabel Lake regions, the Lumby and District Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation of local historical artifacts and the documentation of local history through archives.
The Lumby Museum also includes a large outdoor display building for large agricultural and forestry machinery
Founded in 1867, O'Keefe Ranch was once one of the largest cattle ranches in British Columbia, spanning over 20,000 acres of prime Okanagan land. From their humble beginnings, the O'Keefe family built up a small settlement consisting of a general store - with the first post office in the Okanagan Valley, a blacksmith shop, St. Anne's Church built in 1889 (and still a popular wedding location), plus many other necessary ranch buildings.
Today, O'Keefe Ranch is a designated BC Heritage Site and an important tourist attraction in the Okanagan Valley. Here you'll discover some of the oldest remaining structures in the Vernon area, all carefully preserved or restored, each with its own unique and fascinating exhibit. A guided tour of the grand Victorian style O'Keefe Mansion offers a more personal insight into the lifestyle of the Victorian era.
The beautiful majestic mountain landscape, the Victorian Village, and outstanding customer service have made Silver Star Mountain Resort one of North America's top family resorts. In the summer, enjoy the variety of unique nature tours and mountain biking for all levels. In the winter, whether it is ski tours, snowboard lessons, snowshoe trails, or sleigh rides, Silver Star Mountain Resort is ready to accommodate you.
Lumby Golf Course is a public 9-hole course boasting a leisurely pace and a view that few golf courses can match. The course operates without irrigation, as the greens are sand greens that are oiled.
Monashee Provincial Park protects substantial stands of old growth cedar, spruce, and hemlock. Lush green forests grace the valley bottoms and, in the spring, alpine meadows blossom with a colourful array of wildflowers. The park is also known for some of the oldest rock formations in western Canada. Peters and Margie Lakes sparkle beneath 2697 metre high Mount. Fosthall, the highest peak in the park and part of the rugged Monashee Range of snow-capped peaks that surround the park. Lucky visitors may get a glimpse of the rare mountain caribou or wolverine or the much more common mule deer, ground squirrels, and pikas. This undeveloped mountain wilderness is a wonderful adventure for both experienced, backcountry hikers and willing beginners alike.
A tree-fringed lake southeast of Lumby preferred by solitude-seeking swimmers and sunbathers. Listen for the echo that gives the lake its name. Echo Lake Fishing Resort is situated on the north shores of Echo Lake within the park boundaries. This is a privately owned and operated resort that offers guests camping, cabin accommodation, and boat rentals.
Well off the beaten track, nestled in a beautiful mountain setting are the quieter, sandy beaches of Mabel Lake Provincial Park. Lush forests offer a pleasant retreat from the more crowded urban centres. The park's sandy shoreline is backed by a cool forest of hemlock, red cedar and birch, in sharp contrast to the drier ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forests to the west. Squirrels often visit the campsites and painted turtles can be seen at Taylor Creek. Deer and black bear can be seen occasionally as well as a variety of birdlife and water fowl. Fishing opportunities for rainbow trout are available here year round. Temperatures are warm in the summer but rarely extreme, making this a great campsite for those who prefer a cooler locale than the Okanagan Valley. The natural setting and access to a 35 km long lake make this a popular destination for all ages.
From a quiet cruise on a paved country road to a peak-cardio single-track on a mountain trail, biking in the Monashee has as many choices as days of summer. For an easy family ride try the Salmon Trail right in Lumby. For cyclists that are inspired by the landscape the Rawlings Lake, Mabel Lake or Sugar Lake cycle tours all represent great biking trips with few extreme uphill grades. Guided cycle tours are available for groups and single-track routes can be found by visiting the Monashee Tourism website, or by visiting the Lumby Visitor Information Centre.
Hang gliding enthusiasts will appreciate the bird's eye view they will get flying through the sky over Lumby. A favorite with both local and visiting pilots, the Cooper's Launch is a public launch site found up Trinity Valley way via Defies Creek. Saddle Mountain is also a great private launch, but is restricted to those accompanied by a local pilot. King Edward and Vernon Mountain both provide a gentle grassy slope for take-off and have no shortage of large fields for landing.
The Lumby Valley and area is known all over the world as the Hang Gliding and Paragliding competition capital of Canada for its friendly people and winds, semi arid climate, numerous safe launches and of course the Great Thermal Lift!
The Lumby Air Force started in 1975 when they hosted the first Hang Gliding competition during Lumby Days in that year. Since then many National, Provincial and Regional competitions have been successfully hosted in Lumby. Lumby has the best areas for racing around a course rather than just racing down wind. This requires an extra level of pilot proficiency to win this type of event.
With full blaze on over an open plateau or a technical ride through the forest, sledders have a great time making tracks in the Okanagan's premiere destination for snowmobiling. Park Mountain, the Aberdeen, Graystokes, and the Keefer Lake area are a few of the snowmobiling destinations available. Area accommodators have places to park your sled trailer so that you can turn a day of sledding into three days of winter escape. There's never a shortage of snow in the mountains. Whether it's riding with an established club, cutting your own trails, or booking a snowmobile tour, there's plenty of backcountry to serve everyone's needs. The Lumby/Mabel Lake Snowmobile Association provides groomed trails and maps for the Park Mountain Range, the Pinnacles, Monashee Mountains, and Silver Star.
Ride a snowcat to savor incredible mountain scenery in powder heaven. The Monashee has a rich history for backcountry skiing, Monashee Powder and SOL Mountain Adventures both operate backcounty winter lodges high up in the Monashee Mountains. For a quiet weekend or daytrip into snow, Creighton Valley and the Monashee Foothills can offer many opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Due to diverse ecosystems, the Monashee offers a great variety of wildlife viewing. The transition from Okanagan grassland and Ponderosa Pine forests to Douglas Fir and Interior Rainforests, as well as alpine, provides a range habitat which is home to many different kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians - not to mention life in the lakes and streams. Remember, this area is sparsely populated and the farms and villages you see along the travel routes are often bordered by wilderness, so be prepared for risk and adventure, Much of the Monashee is Grizzly Bear country and seeing a Black Bear is quite common. Large populations of whitetail deer inhabit the valley bottoms and the lower altitude logging cutbacks. The mixed forests bordering the numerous hayfields and pastures are particularly productive white-tailed deer habitat, so viewing deer from the road is quite common, so drive carefully and stop when you see deer ready to cross the road. Mule deer can be found at higher altitudes, which can be accessed via logging roads and trails.
The Monashee is a paradise for bird-watchers. During the summer months, Swainson's Thrush can be seen as well as Western Flycatchers, Osprey, and Bald Eagles. There are excellent viewing areas all along the Shuswap River and along the various lakes.
First held in 1923, the annual Vernon Winter Carnival features a week full of fabulous contests and events, including ice sculpting, the Queen Silver Star competition, night skiing, a hot air balloon fiesta, a parade, winter sports tournaments, and children's games.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia