As summer unwinds and we all settle into new fall routines, it’d be too easy to let ourselves get wrapped up in work and school, all but forgetting about the laid-back local trips we embarked on these past warm months. All work and no play, as they say, is not good for anyone.
As it turns out, fall is the perfect time to hit the road and head to the Interior for some outdoor adventures, delicious dining, and inspiring cultural experiences. Whatever your vacation vibe is this fall, Kamloops should be on your radar.
Located just three and a half hours from Vancouver, the city nestled in the Thompson Valley is more than just a stopover — it’s a quaint and affordable destination that deserves to be explored.
Pack your mask and your sanitizer and check out these itineraries for your personalized Kamloops visit.
For the outdoor enthusiast
Didn’t get to spend enough time in nature this summer? Press pause on your busy schedule and take to Kamloops’ wide open spaces, where winding trails and placid lakes make for easy adventuring.
With more than 100 lakes within a one-hour drive of the city, Kamloops is the ideal getaway for those looking to do some fall fishing, canoeing, or other lakeside activities. Fall provides some of the most consistent lake fishing options, too, making it a good time to cast a line. Edith Lake, Monte Lake, and Tunkwa Lake are worth investigating — just remember to follow safety protocols, like keeping two metres away from others and washing your hands often around communal facilities.
You’ll want to spend a few days exploring the many hiking trails here – trust us on this one. With its desert-like setting, characterized by sandstone canyons, fragrant sagebrush, and Ponderosa pine forests, Kamloops offers enchanting landscapes for every kind of hiker. Head to Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, the largest municipal park in BC, for stunning views of the Thompson Valley, stopping for a mid-hike lunch break at one of the many picnic tables along the trails. Added bonus: the park is off-leash dog-friendly, so your furry friends can come, too.
For a bit more of an adrenaline rush, take a ride on one of Kamloops’ mountain bike trails, which range from cross-country to technical downhill. The area’s rugged terrain makes it a destination spot for mountain bikers – an appealing draw for those put off by other destinations’ hefty price tags.
For the hungry and thirsty traveller
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to seek out the best local fare, hop from brewery to brewery, and stock up on local, in-season produce at the farmers’ market, then this is for you.
Start your day with a morning cup of coffee and a visit to the Kamloops Farmers’ Market. On both Saturday and Wednesday mornings until the end of October, you’ll find locally grown items, artisan products, and home-baked goodies.
Drink your way through Kamloops by checking out the city’s five micro-breweries, and its first craft cidery. Start your crawl at Bright Eye Brewing, where innovative beers, like Alexander the Grape, are poured alongside snacks including the brewery’s famous crispy Brussels sprouts – a local favourite! Stop for a sip at Iron Road Brewing, a railroad-inspired brewery across from Thompson Rivers University, and don’t forget to check out Alchemy Brewing Company for their twelve rotating taps, chill patio, and street tacos.
In addition to being a beer-lover’s paradise, Kamloops also has an impressive wine trail. Monte Creek Winery, Harper’s Trail Winery, and Privato Vineyard and Winery are located on the outskirts of the city, set along the banks of the North and South Thompson Rivers. With dramatic views and world-class wines, it’s worth spending an entire afternoon just wine touring.
Do yourself a favour and make a reservation at Brownstone Restaurant, where hearty dishes like elk meatloaf with mushroom-brandy sauce are the ideal accompaniment to leafy fall walks and beer-laden afternoons. The restaurant has an emphasis on locally-grown produce and rustic, ingredient-driven menus, all set in the historic Bank of Commerce building in downtown Kamloops.
For the arts and culture aficionado
All you have to do is walk around the streets of Kamloops to get a sense of the city’s artistic inclination. The Back Alley Art Gallery isn’t an art gallery in a traditional sense; instead, it’s a self-guided collection of over 30 murals on the sides of buildings and tucked in alleyways.
No visit to Kamloops is complete without a trip to the Kamloops Art Gallery, located inside the downtown Kamloops Library, where the collection of more than 3,000 works of art and 12 exhibitions a year offer guests memorable and provocative art experiences.
The gallery also puts on Luminocity, an art exhibition happening this year from October 23 to 31. The week-long video art installation showcases work from artists across the country by projecting videos onto buildings around the downtown core — an inspiring and COVID-friendly art experience.
Other highlights include the Kamloops Museum and Archives, which provides a historical context to the city and its inhabitants; the Kamloops Film Society, which has returned with their Thursday Film Series and private theatre bookings; and Western Canada Theatre Pandemic Playhouse Series, starting late October with a series of small shows featuring local artists. Be sure to check out the local safety protocols in place before visiting any museum, gallery, or arts experience.
Kamloops is a hidden gem for nature, food, drink, and culture, with the added benefit of fewer crowds, wide-open spaces, and budget-friendly accommodation. Feel like a road trip yet?