Sometimes when it’s rained for months, and you just want to see some sun and have fun outside without rain, it’s nice to have a road trip getaway to a different environment that isn’t too far from home. A winter weekend in Kamloops BC is a favorite of mine because you don’t have to plan far ahead and it’s an affordable destination (especially if you’re a cross country skier like me!) with lots of sun. Read on for how to spend a winter weekend in Kamloops BC! Kamloops and the surrounding area are the lands of the Secwepemc First Nations people.
Where is Kamloops?
Kamloops is located northeast of Vancouver BC and is about a five hour drive from Seattle. It’s a long drive (and you can encounter winter weather along the way) so I recommend having at least two nights to stay. Kamloops is drier and sunnier than Seattle and Vancouver as well as colder in winter and warmer in summer. Kamloops also makes a great stop on the way to Kootenay National Park.
Where to stay for a winter weekend in Kamloops
I’ve stayed at several excellent hotels in Kamloops. The Sandman is walking distance to everything downtown. The Riverland Inn and Suites is a more budget option that is also on the river and walkable to downtown, though a little further away.
My favorite place to stay in the winter is actually not in Kamloops at all but about an hour east near the town of Chase. The Quaaout Lodge and Spa is at a golf course on the shores of Little Shuswap Lake in a beautiful and quiet setting. They have good rates in winter since there’s no golfing! They also have an excellent restaurant. They have rooms with jacuzzi tubs and gorgeous views of the lake too!
Where to eat on a winter weekend in Kamloops
My favorite places to eat in Kamloops are Tim Horton’s (TIM HORTON’S FOREVER!!) for breakfast or lunch and the Noble Pig for dinner. Tim Horton’s is a chain restaurant across Canada and I go every chance I get. They have legit good coffee too! They are known for their donuts but also have breakfast sandwiches and soup and salads for lunch. The Noble Pig is a brew pub of the amazing Canadian variety. Canada does brew pubs so well! Their house made mac and cheese is divine, along with everything else on the menu. They are also a micro brewery and have really good beer.
If neither of those are quite to your liking, there are lots of restaurants and shops downtown and the whole downtown area is super walkable.
Where to go Cross Country (nordic) Skiing near Kamloops?
There are so many options to cross country ski on a winter weekend in Kamloops! Three that I’ve tried and loved are
- Stake Lake: Operated by the Overlander Ski Club, Stake Lake has 60 km of groomed cross country ski trails and is about half an hour from Kamloops. Some of their trails are lighted for night skiing (highly recommended!) and they have a separated dog friendly loop. It costs $15 to ski here for the day.
- Skmana Lake: Bring $5 in cash (canadian) to pay at the trailhead to enjoy the quiet solitude of the 18 km of trails here about an hour east of Kamloops (closer to the Quaaout Lodge).
- Larch Hills: Further away from town (an hour and a half from Kamloops, an hour from the Quaaout Lodge) is the spectacular Larch Hills Nordic Society trail system. This is one of the most extensive and perfectly groomed places I have ever skied! Watch out, some of the trails are HARD (there are also trails for beginners). They have a big warming chalet near the parking lot which is great for eating lunch or just taking a break. Bring $15 cash for the trail fee and enjoy as many of the 170km (yes, you read that right) of trails as you can!
Other Things to Do
If you’re not a cross country skier, or you need a break or something to do before or after, here are a few other ideas
- Kamloops also has amazing downhill skiing and snowboarding! Sun Peaks is a world class resort (they also have groomed cross country ski trails so if you’re there with downhill skiers that’s a great option) and Harper Mountain is a more mellow and low key place to ski and snowboard.
- Kamloops has several wineries and is a good place to go wine tasting. Monte Creek Ranch is open year round just east of town with a big windows and a gorgeous view of the river and surrounding landscape.
- Craft beer and cider are in abundance as well! Find one that looks like a good fit for you.
- Take in a hockey game: The Kamloops Blazers are a Western Hockey League team and are really fun to watch!
Electric Vehicle Charging
Canada has a great network of fast chargers! You should be able to make it as long as your range is more than 75 miles (this is the longest stretch of the drive without fast chargers between Hope, BC and Merritt, BC).