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Home / Thompson Okanagan / Gold Country / Savona


A Step Back in Time

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.


Savona is a small community at the west end of Kamloops Lake on the Thompson River. It is 45 km (28 mi) west of Kamloops and 38 km (24 mi) east of Cache Creek along the Trans-Canada Highway 1. 

Things to See and Do
  • Juniper Beach Provincial Park

Juniper Beach was established as a Provincial Park in 1989. The park protects a representative desert landscape which contains sagebrush, prickly pear cacti, and of course, juniper. Part of the landscape includes deep post-glacial deposits and large scale erosion features. It is a convenient overnight camping spot for travelers on Hwy 1 and provides access to the Thompson River. Both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian railway tracks run by the park and provide an attraction to train-buffs. This park is also a popular base camp for visitors enjoying boating, fishing, photography and touring historic Hat Creek Ranch and Ashcroft Manor, both nearby.

  • Kamloops Lake

Discover Kamloops Lake, and enjoy a swim, picnic or waterskiing.

  • Castle Rock Hoodoos Provincial Park

Castle Rock Hoodoos Park was created as a result of recommendations made in the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Plan. The area is viewed for the interesting hoodoos formations.

The park is located in the Deadman Valley, approximately 75 kilometres northwest of Kamloops. It borders the Deadman Valley-Vidette Lake Road. Savona is the closest community.

  • Steelhead Provincial Park

A convenient overnight camping and picnicking spot for travelers on Highway 1, this is also a popular destination camp for visitors enjoying boating and fishing on Kamloops Lake, at the head of the Thompson River. The park offers 240 meters of beach on the lake and 1,000 meters of frontage along the river.

  • Painted Bluffs Provincial Park

Protecting a small area of geological significance on the north shore of Kamloops Lake, the interesting feature giving the park its name can be seen both on site and from viewpoints across Kamloops Lake. The distinctive multi-coloured rocks and soils on an intrusion of batholithic rocks provide a muted rainbow of colour. Note that no camping or day-use facilities are provided.

  • Fishing

Fishing is very popular on the Thompson River. Among the best of the area lakes is Loon Lake, a long, narrow lake that contains rainbow, kokanee, and steelhead trout. Boat launch facilities are located at Barnes Lake, Loon Lake, and Pavillion Lake. There are few fishing runs as legendary - or as threatened - as the steelhead run on the Thompson River, and one of the main tributaries, the Nicola.

  • Golfing

Golfers can head east to play one of the nine golf courses in the Kamloops area, or head west to tee off at Semlin Valley Golf Course, a lovely 9-hole public golf course located on the hillside just 1 kilometre east of Cache Creek on the Trans-Canada Highway.

  • Wildlife Viewing

High elevation forests around Kamloops are home to interesting species like boreal owls, moose, singing hermit thrush, and chattering red squirrels. Kamloops is a resting and feeding stop for an impressive variety of migratory birds, and there are also rare grasslands which cover less than two percent of the province. You may see spade foot toads, badgers, dancing sharp-tailed grouse, bighorn sheep, cougars, bears, coyotes, and red foxes.

  • Hiking

There are lots of trails for visitors to explore the area.  

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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