Vancouverites who flocked to Salmon Arm the past weekend for the annual Roots and Blues Festival might have also noticed the stunning natural environment of the city – hard not to with Mount Ida framing the festival grounds with gorgeous mountain vistas!
Situated on the shores of idyllic Shuswap Lake, Salmon Arm is unique in its particularly close proximity to nature. Just a short ten minute walk from the downtown core leads you to hectares of rare wetland habitat. With its abundance of cycling and hiking trails, campsites, and fishing and boating options, Salmon Arm is the perfect get-away for those looking to escape from the city for a weekend.
The highlight of our trip was hiking the Foreshore Trail, which traces the wetland and mudflat habitats along the waterfront of the Shuswap Lake. The trail starts off nice and easy, crossing several concrete boardwalks erected directly through the marshes that provide direct views of the pristine lake and of Bastion Mountain across. Soon after, the trial winds through Salmon Arm’s nature sanctuary, leading you through towering marsh grasses and past a number of ponds where beaver sightings are a common occurrence. The trail also includes a way to access the man-made Christmas Island, which hosts an osprey nest in addition to other various bird habitats.
Bird-watchers will find this trail to be an absolute delight. Even as complete amateurs, we were impressed by the sheer number of casual sightings – we managed to spot several ospreys and a blue heron within the span of just ten minutes. Be sure to take advantage of the numerous detours along the route, which lead to various viewing platforms, nesting spots and towers. We went early in the morning and were treated to the sight of hundreds of ducks and Canada geese huddled together wing-to-wing at one of the nesting points by the marina.
Best of all? The trail started directly behind the Prestige Harbourfront Resort which we were staying at, allowing us to get going from the very instant we left the hotel.
Summers tend to be fairly cool in Salmon Arm reaching a high of about 26 degrees, making it a great way to beat the heat. [Editor’s Note: Margaret Reynolds and Jen Vandervoort, both long-time Salmon Arm residents, wrote in to tell us that summer temperatures can soar up to “mid to high 30’s” (Margaret) and even “40+ degrees celsius in the summer, -35 in the winter” (Jen). Thanks for the clarification.)
Otherwise, temperatures year-round remain fairly moderate, making the town a comfortable home base for winter activities in the chillier mountain regions in the winter. The town itself is a five hour drive away from Vancouver, an easy and scenic drive that winds through the Trans Canada Highway.