Stories & Features

150 B.C. places: Kamloops & Hwy 5

Helmecken Falls, Wells Gray Park
Helmacken Falls at Wells Gray Provincial Park, north of Kamloops.

Numbers 39 to 50 on our list of 150 great places in B.C.

What's this list about? Celebrating Canada's 150th by exploring B.C.

39-40. Anstey & Seymour arms, Shuswap Lake

You know about the crazily popular Scotch Creek campground on Shuswap Lake, and about the houseboats you can rent for a lake-ation. But have you taken your boat up Anstey Arm, which along with Seymour Arm, is a world removed from the summertime crowds on the main lake?

41. Nicola Valley (Empire of Grass)

The slow route from Merritt to Kamloops is Highway 5A, and it's arguably one of the prettiest drives in B.C., featuring a series of lakes through a valley that's a favourite drive for motorcyclists. This 'Empire of Grass', a historical term referrring to the Nicola Valley's emergence as one of the great cattle ranching areas anywhere.

42. Insulator Ranch, near Merritt

Art is in the eye of the beholder, and from a BC Hydro perspective, this is art to love. Bob and Bev Scafe have collected about 7,000 glass and porcelain insulators, which are used for telephone, power and other communications lines, and assembled them in a field at Quilchena they call Insulator Ranch. Amazing.

43. Murtle Lake canoe camping, Wells Gray Park

The largest motor-free lake in North America, this wonder north of Kamloops is all about canoeing, camping and sandy beaches. Take a multi-day trip or rent a canoe for a single day.

Sagebrush golf hole and fishing lake, near Merritt
Right by the 13th hole at Sagebrush Golf Club near Merritt, there's a trout-stocked lake you can stop to fly fish in. And there's dinner, too.

44-45. Tobiano & Sagebrush golf courses, Kamloops

By no means the only outstanding courses in the area, Tobiano and Sagebrush rank as destination links rated 13th and 10th, respectively, on ScoreGolf’s Top 100-rated courses in Canada. When Sagebrush reopens to the public (possibly this summer) you'll even be able to fly fish (and have a  dinner) alongside the 13th hole.

46. B.C. Wildlife Park, Kamloops

The B.C. Wildlife Park is right by Highway 1 on the eastern outskirts of Kamloops, and it has become a favourite stop for families in the know. So if you're not averse to zoos of all kinds, stop by for a visit with made-in-B.C. wildlife, including big cats (cougar, lynx), bears (Kermode Bear, black bear, grizzly), bighorn sheep, reptiles, birds of prey, moose and bison.

47-48. Adams Lake sockeye run & Flume hiking trail

After what was described as a disastrous year for returning sockeye salmon in 2016, let’s hope that our sockeye stocks can recover. And if the numbers are up from 2016’s dismal run, treat yourself to a visit to the mouth of the Adams River at Shuswap Lake in early October, where you can watch the sea of red from viewing platforms at Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. Also take a hike up the Adams along the Flume trail, if it recovers from erosion from this spring’s high waters.

View over Lac Du Bois grasslands and Kamloops Lake.
A short drive from Kamloops takes you to the Lac Du Bois grasslands and hiking/biking trails that afford views out over Kamloops Lake.

49. Lac du Bois grasslands hike, Kamloops

A grasslands protected area featuring cliffs, canyons, ponds and lakes, Lac Du Bois is a bit of a local secret at which you can find yourself pretty much alone, just a short drive from Kamloops. And if you're a beginning to intermediate mountain biker, you may want to take advantage of the trail network here.

50. Heli-hike the Bugaboos

If an arduous multi-day hike into the high alpine isn't your thing, consider the heli-hike experience pioneered right here in the B.C. Rockies. Several companies get you by helicopter to astonishing hiking terrain for day hikes that end with a trip back to a wine-and-dine experience at a lodge. Here's National Geographic's take on the experience.