Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
The Shuswap is situated in south-central British Columbia midway between Vancouver, BC and Calgary, Alberta. The area offers a four-season playground that includes an abundance of outdoor activities in snowcapped mountain peaks, on pristine waterways complete with secret hideaways, and with eagles above and marine life below. Shuswap Lake, one of the most popular recreational destinations in BC, offers 400 km (250 mi) of flawless shoreline, provincial parks and unlimited water-related recreation opportunities. The surrounding mountains provide miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, mountain-biking and hiking.
The North Shuswap is a recreation and vacation paradise with abundant sunshine, beautiful beaches and numerous facilities and services. Located just a few minutes north of Highway 1, the North Shuswap is a beautiful area boasting hiking and riding trails, sunny meadows for picnics, shady country lanes and over 100 km (60 mi) of unspoiled shoreline. In the fall, the world famous “Adams River Salmon Run” is a mere few minutes drive from anywhere in the North Shuswap. Come winter, snowmobilers head to the trails on pristine Crowfoot Mountain or take in the beauty of Skamana Lake while cross-country skiing.
The North Shuswap is also home to many artists, craftspeople and authors. Their work can be found at numerous venues and local festivals year-round or at their studios, many of which display the artisan identification sign. Restaurants and eating establishments are scattered throughout the area as well as casual pub settings or elegant dining rooms accompanied by views of the lake or woods.
South Shuswap, “The Heart of Shuswap”, offers a relaxed lifestyle with a great variety of recreational choices. This area is conveniently located on the Trans Canada Highway 1 along the southern shores of Shuswap Lake with magnificent vistas northward and focused on Copper Island as its Centerpiece. Summer and winter activities abound as a result of a very moderate climate. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, alpine and cross-country skiing as well as house-boating and access to a first class championship golf course are some of the many outdoor activities popular around the South Shuswap.
Salmon Arm and the surrounding area are located in the very centre of the Shuswap Lake Recreational area. The city of Salmon Arm is a bustling centre of commerce and services. This town offers a wealth of recreational attractions, outstanding scenic beauty and a multitude of water activities. Visitors can take advantage of the free summer entertainment at the wharf-side gazebo and experience the Western Grebe breeding habitat and other wildlife along the shoreline. Outdoor recreation includes water sports, 18-hole golf courses, top-rated cross-country ski trails, backcountry sleigh rides, snowmobiling, mountain-biking and hiking. The arts, cultural-based programs, festivals, carnivals, sporting events, visiting performers and entertainers continue to grow in number and offer the visitor many exciting year-round opportunities.
Travel 30 km (18 mi) to the east and you’ll soon be in Sicamous – also known as “The Houseboat Capital of Canada”. The town provides visitors with many vacation options from water activities, hiking and golfing in the summer to snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. This great recreation area is nestled amid the Monashee Mountains on the shores of Mara and Shuswap Lakes, at the junction of Trans Canada Highway 1 and Highway 97A. Relax while boating, sea-dooing, swimming, fishing or just sitting around a beachside campfire at day’s end. For those that want to play, there is every imaginable water toy.
One of the most beautiful agricultural areas in BC, Armstrong and Spallumcheen are situated between the sunny, rolling Okanagan Valley and the cooler forested Shuswap Valley. Here you will find a landscape predominantly cloaked in rich green alfalfa and golden grains, with diverse farms nestled among pine-clad hillsides. Located just north of Vernon, Armstrong is a convenient base for day trips to the surrounding area.
Armstrong itself is notable for its renovated heritage homes, businesses and small specialty shops plus its annual festivals and events. Stop by one of the local farms for fresh fruits and produce or experience a wonderful time in fresh air and sunshine at the Farmer’s Market held every Saturday. The Olde School House of 1884 is a great place to browse through the antiques and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea. View the Spallumcheen Valley by taking a hike up Rose Swanson Mountain where a spectacular view of the North Okanagan vista awaits. The Thomas Hayes Ecological Reserve, 58 hectares in size, was set-aside as a wildlife refuge to protect a large colony of Great Herons. Take a peaceful, relaxing stroll through the Reserve’s many differing fragile eco-systems.
The City of Enderby is located on the banks of the Shuswap River just 15 minutes north of Armstrong. The river running through town makes Enderby a natural playground for favorite downtime activities including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, hiking, fishing and picnicking on a sandy beach. Take a cycle ride on one of the various bike loops and relax with a glass or two of wine produced at some of the Okanagan’s most northern wineries.