Spectacular mountains, unlimited water activity, a major Canadian historical site and one of the most unusual resorts in BC mark the 218km (135mile) drive from Revelstoke to Kamloops.
The Three Valley Lake Chateau, 34km west of Revelstoke, combines accommodations, hiking, helicopter rides, fine dining and a Heritage Ghost Town. This involves twenty-five restored and fully-furnished buildings that have been gathered from around BC and assembled near the site of the original town of Three Valley to recreate something of life in the 1800s. Exhibits include the Antique Car Museum, Monashee Mining exhibit & a huge Railway Roundhouse – home to steam engines, railway coaches and one of the largest covered turntables in North America.
Craigellachie, 32km from Three Valley Gap, is where Canada was united by rail when Lord Strathcona drove the last spike and marked the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway on November 7, 1885. The site is marked by a historic obelisk with the names and details of the construction of the railway. Several historical photographs here remember the occassion and there are some good picnic spots along with a gift store selling souvenirs.
Malakwa, 6km from Craigellachie, offers the chance to take a short walk across the historic swinging foot bridge that spans the Eagle River. The bridge was built in 1915 by local farmers to connect their farms to the town and to the school on the other side. It was rebuilt by Dept. of
Highways in 1940.
The resort town of Sicamous sits along the shores of the Eagle River, Mara Lake, and Shuswap Lake, and is the houseboat capital of Canada. Hundreds of houseboats that hit the waters of Shuswap Lake each year and rentals are easily available. The village centre is compact and level for easy walking or cycling
A variety of restaurants are concentrated along the Trans-Canada, with local favourites, such as Moose Mulligans Marine Pub & Dining Room (1122 Riverside Ave) located in the village.
The Sicamous Visitor Centre (3-446 Main St.) will provide more information about things to do, accommodations, and dining out options. If you have golf clubs, try the Hyde Mountain Golf Course with it views of Mara Lake and the surrounding mountains.
The 31km drive to Salmon Arms from Sicamous along the Trans-Canada is essentially through forests along Shuswap Lake.
Just north of Salmon Arm, the town of Canoe has a pebbly-sand beach on Shuswap Lake with big shady trees, a roped off swimming area, beach volleyball courts, grassed area for picnics, boat launch washrooms and change facilities.
With a population of 16,300 Salmon Arm is one of the most charming communities in the Thompson-Okanagan region. Its topography consists of farmlands, forested highlands, mountains and Shuswap Lake – one of its primary attractions for tourists.
It has one of Canada’s most celebrated golf courses (Salmon Arm Golf Club), an equally spectacular layout in the Canoe Creek Golf Course, cross country ski trails, wetlands and organized bird watching, and one of BC’s most popular music festivals, the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.
There’s a compact, walkable downtown. An ivy-covered, brick building houses the Public Art Gallery and the Shuswap Lake waterfront development has a variety of condos, commercial space, and art gallery. Walk the wharf at the end of Marine Park Drive in mid-town for spectacular views of Shuswap lake. Stroll the boardwalk for a close look at wetland birds.
Check with the Salmon Arm Visitor Centre (20 Hudson Ave NE, Suite 101) for information about accommodations and attractions and will provide maps and brochures. The centre is housed in a heritage building referred to as the Old Courthouse and has retained its heritage appearance. The facility has computer access, free wi-fi, and RV parking.
Driving west along Trans-Canada Hwy-1 takes you along Shuswap Lake and past the communities of Blind Bay, Sorrento, Shuswap Lakes Estates, and Chase, each with entrances to the
Stop off at Shuswap Lake Estates for a meal at its restaurant and play a round at its championship golf course – unique for the fact it has a grass runway for small aircraft between holes 14 and 15. A sign warns you to look both ways for landing aircraft before crossing.
Take the turnoff at the junction of Big and Little Shuswap Lakes, (Squilax-Turtle Valley Road over the bridge) to Quaaout Lodge and Talking Rock Golf Resort. Owned and operated by the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, it is one of the premier all-purpose waterfront resorts in BC with a superb golf course, on-water facilities and a variety of cultural activities.
Just beyond the resort lies the entrance to Roderick Haig-Brown Park, 7.6 km via Little Shuswap Lake Rd and Squilax-Anglemont Rd. The park is a fascinating place to visit at any time of year, but particularly in early October during the run of the Adams River sockeye salmon. Every 4th year is a dominant run, with millions of fish to be seen (2018 and 2022 will be dominant runs).
Further up Squilax-Anglemont Rd. is the 160 acre Celista Estate Winery, Canada’s most northerly winery. In recent years, it has won numerous awards for its products. The garden patio has tables and chairs to sample wines accompanied by fresh bread, gourmet cheeses, crackers, and Belgian chocolates.
The town of Chase (Pop: 2400) is at the western end of Little Shuswap Lake along the Trans-Canada and the last major stop before Kamloops. It’s named after an American from New York State who came to Canada during the 1858 gold rush and was the first non-native settler here. Hiking, cycling, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, the sampling of First Nations culture, and bird watching are major activities. During the corn-growing season, several farms on the outskirts of town sell their fresh harvest at inexpensive prices.