What to do outdoors in Kamloops, Okanagan this pandemic winter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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What to do outdoors in Kamloops, Okanagan this pandemic winter

Lac Le Jeune, Kamloops B.C.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM / Hike Kamloops
November 15, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Winter is almost here in B.C., and there's no shortage of outdoor activities to pursue right in our own big, beautiful backyard.

While the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have put a damper on some activities, there are some good old-fashioned Canadian pastimes that are not only physically-distanced, but are sure to satisfy your inner outdoor thrill seeker.

From high adrenaline skiing to leisurely snowshoeing with your dog, Kamloops and the Okanagan have it all. 

Snowshoeing 

If you can walk, you can snowshoe. It's a great sport that requires little gear, and everyone can go at their own pace, taking in the beauty nature has to offer. 

In the Okanagan, Big White Ski Resort and SilverStar Mountain Resort offer a variety of trails for snowshoeing. You can also check out the Telemark Nordic Club Trails in West Kelowna or the Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club for the day with a $6 donation (box on site), located on McCulloch Road. 

You can check out the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre or the non-groomed section of the Trans Canada Trail between the Summerland Rodeo Grounds and Summerland for snowshoeing near Penticton. 

Around Kamloops, you can check out trails at Sun Peaks, or stay closer to town at the Stake Lake trails. A day pass for each location is $5. 

There are lots of free trails too, like the Grasslands Loop in Peterson Creek Park or the Panorama Trail in Kenna Cartwright Park. For more information about where to snowshoe in Kamloops, click here.

 

Ice Fishing

One of the most iconic winter activities is ice fishing, and the Thompson-Okanagan is great place to enjoy the winter pastime.

Between Vernon and Kelowna lies Beaver Lake, a close spot to bring the family for winter activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing. Oyama Lake, about 45 minutes south of Vernon and 55 minutes north of Kelowna is a perfect spot to catch rainbow trout.

Shannon Lake, in West Kelowna, is a good spot to head for a day trip and catch some perch, large mouth bass and the regularly stocked rainbow trout.

Near Penticton, a local favourite for some chilly fishing is Yellow Lake. The lake is stocked with rainbow and brook trout and you can get there by driving 25 minutes southwest of Penticton.

Between Kamloops and Vernon is Monte Lake, which also boasts plenty of rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Around an hour from Kamloops you can find Tunkwa Lake, or Tranquille Lake. Closer to town there's Edith Lake, about 15 minutes south of Kamloops, where you'll find different varieties of rainbow and brook trout which are stocked year-round.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding 

Near Kelowna, Big White Ski Resort is scheduled to open on Nov. 29. Penticton's hill Apex Mountain Resort will open for the season Dec. 5.

In Vernon, SilverStar Mountain Resort will be fully open Dec. 4, with Nordic trails and limited facilities opening Nov. 28. 

Just under an hour drive from Kamloops, Sun Peaks Resort is set to open Nov. 21.

If you want to try cross-country skiing, check out the Kelowna Nordic Trails, Sovereign Lake near Vernon, Nickel Plate Nordic Centre near Penticton and The Overlander Ski Club trails at Stake Lake. 

 

Outdoor Skating

It's a tranquil, winter wonderland activity that has adorned the front of Christmas cards for generations — outdoor skating. 

Big White offers free outdoor skating if you've got your own skates. In Kelowna, the Stuart Park Ice Rink downtown is a popular spot for all-ages. Due to COVID-19, some rules have been put in place.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s outdoor rink will likely start with self-regulation when it opens in December

There are also community rinks in town that are less busy, but also not as frequently maintained. There's a rink at the corner of Stewart Road West and Westridge Road in the Crawford Estates subdivision, in Lillooet Park off Summit Drive atop Dilworth Mountain and next to South Kelowna Elementary School in South-East Kelowna.

In Vernon, you can skate outdoors at the Centennial Rink on 35 Avenue, or at SilverStar Mountain. There will also be a new outdoor rink opening at Predator Ridge in time for Christmas.

Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton has an outdoor skating loop, and tickets cost $4, not including rental if needed. 

For a full list of indoor and outdoor rinks in the Okanagan click here.

In Kamloops, you can find a community rink in Westsyde Centennial Park, in Pineview Valley Park on Hugh Allan Drive, behind the Dallas Barnhartvale Baptist Church on Todd Road, and in Juniper Park off of Qu’Appelle drive. 

Because these rinks are maintained by volunteers, they may not always be operational. Instead of taking the chance, you can do some frozen lake skating — if it's cold enough of course.

Tourism Kamloops recommends Albert McGowan Park pond, Stake Lake, Inks Lake, Little Heffley Lake and Shumway Lake.

 

 

Snowmobiling 

If you're more of an adventure junkie, snowmobiling may be the winter sport for you.

There are a myriad of trails near Kelowna, in the Graystokes area and around Myra Bellevue Provincial Park. To view trail maps, click here. There are also designated trails in the McCulloch area.

In Vernon, there is a network of trails around SilverStar Mountain Resort. For the Vernon Snowmobiling Association map, click here and download the PDF file.

Kamloops is also a popular spot for snowmobiling, with many trails including Greenstone Mountain, Lac Le Jeune, Tranquille Lake/Porcupine Meadows Snowmobile Trail System, Jamieson Creek and Harper Creek. For a full list of trails and maps, visit the Kamloops Snowmobiling Association website here.

In Revelstoke and surrounding area, find maps and trails here.

 

We tried our best to only include activities that are available during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you notice activities listed that will not be happening this year, please let us know via email.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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