The old fire lookout cabin at the top of Crowfoot Mountain now serves as an emergency shelter. (Jim Cooperman photo

Column: The Shuswap is a staycation paradise with plenty to discover

Shuswap Passion by Jim Cooperman

By Jim Cooperman

Contributor

As we yearn for some level of normalcy to return, the thought of travelling anywhere for a vacation seems unlikely given the pandemic concerns and the economic downturn.

Fortunately, we live in a region that is also a popular destination for thousands of summer visitors thanks to our warm lakes, magnificent scenery and fabulous recreational opportunities. Thus, this summer can be best enjoyed taking advantage of all that the Shuswap has to offer.

One way to make a staycation special would be to imagine yourself as a tourist who is visiting here for the first time and focus on exploring the area to discover all that is new and exciting. Many residents have lived here for decades and have yet to see every river, every community or every park. There are plenty of guidebooks to help, including the first chapter of Everything Shuswap that includes maps and descriptions for every part of the region.

Vacations often embrace goals, such as visiting every gallery, historical site or park in a far away city. A perfect and also challenging Shuswap staycation goal would be to experience many of the more than 100 trails in our region. These routes range greatly in length, elevation gain, level of difficulty and locale. One day you could climb a mountain and on another hike along a creek with waterfalls or on another walk along a river in the heritage city of Enderby.

A good way to achieve the goal of hiking every trail would be to explore the Shuswap one sub-region at a time as everyone is unique and has special features that deserve attention. Getting to the trails would then include visiting every community and experiencing many of the gravel roads along the way that wind up and down throughout the Shuswap backcountry.

More Shuswap residents have likely been to Disneyland than to Seymour Arm, despite the fact this remote community has so many nearby natural features that deserve greater recognition. With provincial parks next to two of the most outstanding beaches in the Shuswap, a heritage home built by a famous artist, and extraordinary beautiful trails alongside magnificent waterfalls, the tiny village is a delight to visit in the summer.

For the adventuresome, a visit to Seymour Arm could include exploring the wilderness of Anstey Hunakwa Provincial Park via hiking into Wright Lake. Heading north, one could drive up a logging road and then hike to the Grace Mountain alpine plateau where there may still be remnants of the ancient Cottonbelt trail and abandoned mining sites. Two hours north is the overgrown road leading into the Upper Seymour Provincial Park, where the massive antique Interior rainforest remains mostly unexplored.

Read more: Column: New strategies needed for recovery from pandemic

Read more: Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

Read more: B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

One does not need climbing gear to reach the summit of many Shuswap mountains, as for many there are hiking trails that go to the peaks. Most of these peaks can be accessed with a day hike and, given the stellar clear skies due to the decline in air pollution, the views will likely be outstanding. To the north there is Pukeashun, Crowfoot, Queest and Eagle Pass. To the southeast, there is Joss, Mara and English and above Falkland are Estekwalen and Tuktakamin Mountains.

If you can navigate the maze of logging roads above Deep Creek to find the trailhead parking lot, it is a just a short hike to the top of Mount Ida, where the vistas of the valley and lake are absolutely stunning and the unique geology is fascinating. There is also a longer trail through the forest along the ridge to the East peak.

Thankfully, there is an excellent free trail guidebook produced by the Shuswap Trail Alliance and Shuswap Tourism that makes the perfect companion for one’s ideal staycation. The print version is available for free at many locations or the guide can also be accessed online at shuswaptrails.ca.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Shuswap Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

On the trail to Joss Mountain with members of the Shuswap Trail Alliance. (Jim Cooperman photo)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Shuswap Lake algae bloom being monitored, not considered harmful

Dangerous toxins not found in June 30 water quality test

UPDATE: Highway 1 open to single-lane traffic west of Revelstoke due to flooding

The Needles Ferry is also experiencing major delays due to traffic backed up from Highway 1

Driver ticketed and hospitalized after highway crash near Sicamous

The two-vehicle collision took place near Bernie Road on June 26.

COVID-19: Okanagan libraries to reopen for browsing

More than 80,000 items loaned out through curbside pickup program ahead of Phase 3

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Slow season at Okanagan U-pick farms

Lake Country farm owner Bruce Duggan said the rainy weather is turning people away

Not a chef: Cooking in COVID

Okanagan resident Andrew Levangie writes a new food column for Black Press Media

Okanagan man who rescued family from fire says it’s him who needed rescuing

Months after saving Linda Pakfec and her family from a burning building, Gord Portman says he’s clean

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Kootnekoff: B.C. Violated French Education Rights

Lawyer Susan Kootnekoff discusses British Columbia’s only French language school board

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read