Since 1961 there have been, on average, at least 500 reasons for winter sport enthusiasts to love playing outdoors in the Kamloops snow. The area’s two major mountains each receive an average annual snowfall of at least 500 centimetres, and its numerous lakes harden nicely into snow-covered sheets of ice. Fly-fishers can trade their hip waders for parkas and try their patience at ice-fishing on one of several frozen lakes. What were great hiking and off-roading trails in the Summer become snow-packed snowmobile, cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails in the Winter. Whitewater rafting enthusiasts may experience similar thrills in the Winter by tubing and tobogganing downhill through mountains of snow, instead of ploughing through whitecaps. Winter in the Tournament Capital of Canada means that it’s time for skiers to wax their skiis, strap on their snowsuits and blaze a trail on the many snow-packed ski runs. When the ice thaws and the snow melts, Kamloops transforms itself into a Summer playground.
Splish, splash and take a thrilling whitewater rafting bath in the narrow Thompson River canyon near Kamloops. Since 1972, there’s been a boring way and a cool way to get from the BC Interior to the Pacific Ocean: drive the Trans-Canada Highway or crash through rapids, whirlpools and waves down the Thompson to where it meets the Fraser River. According to the British Columbia River Outfitters Association, the Thompson River was one of the first rivers to allow whitewater rafting day and multi-day tours. Diehard rafters can paddle the Thompson’s perfect storm while others may sit back and ride the roller coaster of a motorized raft trip. Only the echoes of screams will drown the rush of rapids as thrill-seekers leap the Frog, enter the Devil’s Kitchen and avoid the clutches of the Jaws of Death. Many good river rafting tours begin at Spences Bridge and end at Lytton about two hours south of Kamloops where the Thompson and Fraser rivers meet.
If chasing a little white golf ball is not your idea of fun, try fly-fishing for a 10-20lb Kamloops trout. According to the Thompson River Journal, the wife of Canada's Governor General, Lady Dufferin, first fly-fished the Thompson unsuccessfully in September 1876. Today's serious fly-fisher knows what Lady Dufferin obviously didn't: trophy trout is located in the clear waters of Pass Lake while Campbell and Scuitto lakes are home to big, fat, healthy Rainbow Trout. Kamloops has some of the best fly-fishing in BC and the world and the first-class Kamloops Fly Shop carries the largest selection of fly-fishing gear in the BC Interior. The fly-fishing season in Kamloops runs from about May 1st until late September or October when frost begins to kill aquatic vegetation.
Fun Factor Family Fun Centre
There are more than just tournaments being played in the Tournament Capital of Canada. Laser tag, arcade games, air hockey, and pool are just a few games that are in action at the Fun Factor Family Fun Centre near McArthur Island Park in Kamloops. The centre is also a fun place to continue a birthday party after lunch, presents and cake with friends at a local restaurant. For stir-crazy, vacationing families, the Fun Factor Family Fun Centre is a great escape from the confines of their Vernon hotel room. Inflatable party & event rentals are also available and can be delivered to a party or special event.
The whizzing noises in Rose Hill Park are a result of frisbees tossed by a disc golfer and not gunfire from a celebrating cowboy or renegade like Bill Miner. Since 2000, disc golfers have been hooking and slicing frisbees around trees at Rose Hill Park’s 18-hole disc golf course. There are also two other courses at Juniper Ridge and Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and these courses help to make Kamloops a perfect summer playground. Disc golf’s popularity in Kamloops prompted the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to offer ‘learn to play’ disc golf clinics to the public. As in golf, a disc golf course typically has 18-holes, and the object of the game is to complete the course in as few frisbee throws as possible. Rather than sinking a golf ball into a hole, disc golfers attempt to throw a frisbee into a large basket or hit a target.
It’s fun to play when the average temperatures in June, July and August are 18.7 °C, 22.1 °C and 21.5 °C respectively, which is what they were between 2000 and 2008 according to Environment Canada’s Kamloops historical climate data. The existence of over 100 freshwater lakes, three big wildlife and nature parks and two big mountains makes Summer playtime in Kamloops a blast. Golf, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, and canoeing or kayaking are a few of the Summer activities awaiting die-hard outdoor enthusiasts visiting the area. The Tournament Capital of Canada is one of Canada’s sunshine capitals, receiving over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, and this makes Kamloops a great Summer playground or Winter wonderland.
Drink a glass of water in Kamloops and you will learn how important the South Thompson River is to the area. Dykes built to protect several Kamloops subdivisions from flooding waters are an indication of how dangerous both the South and North Thompson rivers can be. The clear blue-green South Thompson River and the colder, muddier grey North Thompson River flow from the Rocky Mountains into Kamloops Lake that is located about half an hour from Kamloops. The river then continues southwest from Kamloops Lake as one river, the Thompson River, and it is here where some of the best sport fishing and white water rafting in the world can be found. Many baited hooks have snared Sockeye Salmon, Rainbow Trout or Steelhead fish to name a few. White water rafters from around the world have braved the turbulent Frog, Devil's Kitchen and the Jaws of Death rapids of the lower Thompson.