Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
Savona is a small community in the Thompson Okanagan‘s Gold Country. It lies at the west end of Kamloops Lake on the Thompson River and is near several Provincial Parks including Juniper Beach, Castle Rock Hoodoos, Steelhead, and Painted Bluffs.
Castle Rock Hoodoos Park is aptly named because of the amazing hoodoo formations, some of which can be seen from the road. The park is located in the Deadman Valley, bordering the Deadman Valley-Vidette Lake Road. Within the area are also spectacular falls cascading into a narrow channel.
Take a tour of the Ajax Mine Site, try gold panning or geocaching. Water sports including excellent fishing in the Thompson River, golfing at the Tobiano Golf Course, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Check out the views atop Mount Savona and explore Savona Caves. Agate and green opals make this area extremely popular with hang-gliders, hikers and rock hounds.
Savona was originally located on the north shore of Kamloops Lake, where it was the end of the stagecoach line from Cache Creek on the Cariboo Wagon Road. Originally passengers continuing on had to take the steamboat up the lake to Kamloops and the Shuswap Country and the goldfields of the Big Bend of the Columbia River until a man named Francis Savona started a ferry across the river at that location. A road was later built along the south side of Kamloops Lake to Kamloops (the town).
In 1884, Savona was the eastern end of Andrew Onderdonk’s contract for building the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) for the Canadian government. Because the railway was on the south side of the river, most of the houses were pulled across the lake on the ice, moving the community to where it is today. In 1915, the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway, now part of Canadian National Railway was built along the north side of Kamloops Lake.