Originally known as Trapper's Landing, after the meeting place of Shuswap Indian trappers returning with their furs, the town was renamed by James Kinghorn after the Italian town of Sorrento, because Copper Island on Shuswap Lake reminded him of the Isle of Capri, off Sorrento in Italy.
Sorrento's history dates back to the year 1910, and is today enveloped by motels, resorts, campgrounds, and summer cottages, offering a fabulous array of recreational activities, during both summer and winter.
Sorrento straddles the Trans-Canada Highway, lining the south shore of Shuswap Lake. It is 25 km (15 mi) east of Chase and 45 km (28 mi) northwest of Salmon Arm on Hwy 1.
Shuswap Lake Marine Provincial Park is comprised of 26 sites located around the perimeter of Shuswap Lake. All locations are popular for fishing and water sports; hiking and nature study are popular at some sites. Some sites are road accessible, but most are water-access only. Shuswap Lake is shaped like an addled H, and is made up of four large arms: the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Seymour Arm, Anstey Arm, and Salmon Arm. The product of the glacial scouring that also rounded the surrounding Shuswap Highlands, all four arms converge at Cinnemousun Narrows, northeast of Sicamous.
A very popular destination, the park operates at capacity from early July to Labour Day (early Sept). The park is situated on the old delta of Scotch Creek, has one kilometer of sandy, pebble beach, and includes the whole of Copper Island. The park also offers a large grassy play area, an adventure playground, a large boat launch. and a self-guiding nature trail.
Boaters may wish to visit Copper Island, located two kilometres offshore. A 2.8 km hiking trail provides beautiful views of the area. Please note that camping and campfires are prohibited on the island. Supplies, groceries, and many recreational opportunities including bumper boats, mini-golf driving range, go-carts, para-sailing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, boat and jet-ski rentals are offered by near-by businesses.
The beautifully restored St Mary's Church dates back to the early 1900s.
Copper Island offers 3 kilometres of winding trails that circle the island, and a trail up to the summit (488 metres) that provides superb vistas of Shuswap Lake.
Herald Provincial Park is a popular destination campground and day-use area. The park covers 79 hectares of beautiful beach and forested uplands. Swimming, fishing and bird-watching are popular activities, as is the self-guided nature walk to Margaret Falls. Just 14 kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway along the western shore of the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake, Herald is a great spot to use as a base camp for visiting the many attractions of the Shuswap area.
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.
Niskonlith Lake offers rustic camping and is popular for swimming, fishing and boating. There are limited facilities, so campers should be self-sufficient.
This is a fascinating place to visit at any time of year, but particularly in early October during the run of the Adams River sockeye salmon. Every 4th year is a "dominant" run, with millions of fish to be seen (2010 will be a dominant run). The Adams River Salmon Society coordinate the celebration known as the 'Salute to the Sockeye' during the dominant years. 2003 and 2007 were both dominant years; 2011 will be the next. These years often have substantial returns of sockeye and offer excellent viewing opportunities. During the last three weeks of October in years where there isn't a 'dominant' or 'sub-dominant' return, a small number of salmon begin their spawning cycle. The best place to view spawning salmon will be in the channel next to the parking lot.
The 26 kilometre trail system is used for cross-country skiing & snow-shoeing in winter, for hiking and mountain biking in summer. In addition Huihill Creek was recently added to Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park.
The Shuswap Lake area supports an exciting diversity of fish species, including Kamloops, Rainbow, Bull, and Eastern Brook Trout, Kokanee, Whitefish, Lingcod, and Perch. Other lakes nearby include White Lake, Arthur Lake, Bolcan Lake (Falkland area), Gardom Lake, Humamilt Lake, Joyce Lake, Mara Lake, Pinaus Lake, Skimikin Lake, and Spa Lake.
A diverse landscape, and more sunshine per year than many regions in BC, provides the Shuswap with a variety of golf courses to meet the needs of all golfers. Easy access from Vancouver, Kelowna, and Calgary along the Shuswap Lakes makes this region one of BC's favorite vacation destinations.
You'll find many styles of golf courses in the region, including championship courses, pitch and putts, and nine-hole executive courses. The golf season starts in early April and lasts through October.
More than 200 houseboats are rented out each and every year in Sicamous area. Houseboating is an incredible vacation experience. Imagine traveling wherever you want around a massive warm water lake. This is the ideal family vacation and a must-do Shuswap activity.
Go as a group or go alone. Single or tandem kayaks are available. For the more adventurous and experienced, tackle the Adams Lake rapids. Paddle out to Copper Island and hike the provincial park trails. Extreme Cliff diving is now available on Copper Island.
Slow it down a bit and enjoy the sights of the alpine and sub-alpine areas of the North Shuswap/Monashee range.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia