Mara is a beautiful town that sits on the pristine banks of Mara Lake. This town is known most for its white sandy beaches at Mara Provincial Park. The lake offers ideal resting places with many cabins and campgrounds along its unspoiled shores. For decades, Mara Lake has hosted recreation seekers who are keen to enjoy the outdoors. Houseboating, water-skiing and swimming are just a few of the activities visitors enjoy while staying in the area. Of course, fishing is one of the main activities on this gorgeous lake. Ample Rainbow, Dolly Varden, Kokanee, and Lake trout, combined with a temperate climate make Mara Lake a perfect destination for your next family fishing trip.
Mara is located on the Shuswap River 20 km (12 mi) south of Sicamous and 18 km (11 mi) north of Enderby on Hwy 97A.
Rosemond Lake is situated at the south end of Mara Lake. Known locally as "Mud Lake", this small lake is bordered on the east by farmland and on the west by woodland and a recreation reserve. Access to the lake is by canoe or row boat under the railway trestle from Mara Lake; motorboats are not allowed. Rosemond Lake is popular with birdwatchers, as it is the home of eagles, osprey, geese, swans, ducks, and loons. There is a lovely beach with user-maintained picnic tables, toilet facilities, and tent-only camping. Fresh water is available.
The Historic Mara Train Station, built in 1892, was located on the Shuswap-Okanagan Railroad. Before the arrival of the railway, transportation to and from
Mara was by way of paddlewheeler up and down the Shuswap River, and by stagecoach that ran along the west-side of Mara Lake. The train station was recently moved across the road from its original position on the railway line to its present location on the banks of the Shuswap River, where it was restored and converted to a Bed & Breakfast to accommodate guests.
A popular day-use area for locals as well as travelers, Mara Park is noted for fishing, swimming, boating, and as a family picnic area. Note that this is a day-use park only: no overnight camping is permitted, and mooring of boats overnight is not allowed.
The Larch Hills cross-country ski area, 20 kilometres from Salmon Arm, is home to some of BC's finest ski trails. With 125 kilometres of trails, about 43 kilometres of which are track set, there is no shortage of variety for the cross-country ski enthusiast - classic, skating, and backcountry/unset.
The Larch Hills Nordic Society maintains a chalet next to the parking lot, Cec's Cabin about 6K up Larch Hills Road, and Tom's Shelter about 4K up Woodlot Ramble. It also maintains all the tracksetting equipment, including a Pisten Bully 200 and safety toboggans. There are no trail fees but donations are encouraged to help with these expenses.
Snowmobiling rules in nearby Enderby, home to the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association, which sponsors a number of annual snowmobiling events, including the popular Snowrama in February. This group operates a day chalet and shelter, and has marked groomed and non-groomed trails in the 200 square kilometres of great snowmobiling amongst the alpine meadows and bowls in the Hunters Range east of Enderby.
Silver Star Provincial Recreation Area in the Shuswap Highlands is home to Silver Star Mountain Resort, the most northerly winter playground in the Okanagan Valley. Skiers and snowboarders will find a year-round resort here, with hotels, restaurants, a saloon, lounges, and a grocery store all clustered at the base of the resort's chairlifts. There's no need for a vehicle once you arrive, as everything is within easy walking or skiing distance. The park and resort are located 45 minutes southeast of Mara on Hwy 97, then east on well-marked Silver Star Road, for a total distance of 22 kilometres.
Slow it down a bit and enjoy the sights of the alpine and sub-alpine areas of the North Shuswap/Monashee range.
The Shuswap contains some of the biggest freshwater lakes in North America. Fish for the world renowned 'Kamloops Fighting Trout' or maybe a Kokanee or two.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia