The Shuswap region takes its name from the local Indigenous people, the Secwépemc, known in English as the Shuswap people. The region offers unlimited opportunities for cottaging, camping, and boating/watersports.
- 1 Salmon Arm — a summer tourist town, with many beaches, camping facilities and house boat rentals
- 2 Chase — on the shore of Little Shuswap Lake, it offers beaches, boat launches and a large pier provide access to the lake and South Thompson River
- 3 Sorrento — hosts the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts in July, and the Sorrento Bluegrass Festival in late August
- 4 Sicamous — the self-proclaimed 'houseboat capital of Canada'.
The Shuswap Country (called Secwepemcúl̓ecw in Secwepemctsín) refers to the environs of Shuswap Lake. The upper reaches of the Shuswap basin, southeast of Shuswap Lake and northeast of the Okanagan, are generally considered to be part of Okanagan or of the Monashee Country rather than "the Shuswap".
Roughly defined, the Shuswap Country begins on its west at the town of Chase, located on Little Shuswap Lake, west of which is the South Thompson area of the Thompson Country, and includes Adams Lake to the northwest of Shuswap Lake as well as communities in the Eagle River area as far as Craigellachie and/or Three Valley Gap, which is at the summit of Eagle Pass, beyond which eastwards is the Columbia Country.
Get in and around
From Seattle, in the United States, follow Highway 2 east to Highway 97 to the Canadian border, where it remains Highway 97 and goes north through the region.
- Ebus, toll-free: . Travels daily between Kamloops and Kelowna with stops in Chase, Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Enderby, Armstrong, and Vernon. Service provider also operates routes between Vancouver and Kamloops, and between Vancouver and Kelowna. Travel time to Salmon Arm from Kamloops is 1 hour 20 minutes, from Vernon is 50 minutes and from Kelowna is 2 hours 10 minutes.
- Rider Express, toll-free: . Multiple days per week service along the Trans-Canada Highway from between Calgary and Vancouver with stops in Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Sorrento, Chase, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey.
By public transit
BC Transit (Shuswap Regional Transit System), ☏ . Salmon Arm has a basic public transit system that operates shuttle buses on half-hour or hour-long frequencies, during daytime hours. Some routes within Salmon Arm operate daily and some operate Monday to Saturday. All lines converge downtown in front of Askew's supermarket.
- Bus route 23 Canoe bus will bring users to the main public beach. Route operates Monday to Saturday.
- Bus route 41 operates on Wednesdays, making two round trips between Salmon Arm and Enderby. Travel time from Enderby to Salmon Arm is 30 minutes. This bus route enables connections with BC Transit (Vernon Regional Transit System) bus route 60, a more frequent route between Enderby and Vernon, that operates from Monday to Saturday. Bus route 90 operates multiple times daily between Vernon and Kelowna. Using those three routes, a traveler can travel between Salmon Arm and Kelowna in about 3 hours.
- Bus route 43 operates on Thursday, operating one trip each way between Salmon Arm and Eagle Bay via Blind Bay.
- Bus route 43 operates on Thursdays, operating one trip each way between Salmon Arm and Sorrento via Blind Bay.
- Inland Ferries. Operated under contract for British Columbia's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, inland ferries are vehicle ferries that connect roads across rivers and lakes. Routes operate throughout the year, but some river ferries may not operate during parts of the Spring due to river conditions. Free. Ferry in this region:
- 1 Adam's Lake Cable Ferry. Available daily 24 hours per day, though is only available for emergencies between 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM. The ferry is near the south end of Adams Lake, about 20 km north of Hwy 1, between Chase and Sorrento. It replaced a nearby bridge that was destroyed in the 1995. Crossing time is 6 minutes. Operates on demand.
The North Shuswap is home to many artists, craftspeople and authors. Their work can be found at markets and local festivals year-round, or at their studios, many of which display the artisan identification sign.
Craigellachie (pro. cray-gull-ah-key), 25 km east of Sicamous on Hwy 1, is where the 'last spike' in the Canadian Pacific Railway's transcontinental line was driven. There is an information centre and a gift shop.
The Three Valley Lake Chateau and Heritage Ghost Town includes a 200-room hotel, a collection of heritage buildings, an antique car museum, enclosed railway roundhouse with antique rail car exhibit, and attached grounds with helicopter tours offered. It is closed during the winter months.
In October, the Adams River turns red with migrating Sockeye salmon.
The Dreamcycle Motorcycle Museum, at 3096 Trans-Canada Highway in Sorrento, has more than 50 classic and modern motorcycles on display, and a motorcycle-themed cafe.
Shuswap Lake is a popular recreational destination in BC. It offers 400 km (250 mi) of beautiful shoreline, provincial parks and endless water-related recreation opportunities. The surrounding mountains provide miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, mountain-biking and hiking. There are more than 100 hiking or mountain biking routes covering over 700 km (435 mi) of trails of all levels.
You can rent a houseboat at the Salmon Arm Wharf, or in Sicamous.
Salmon Arm hosts a roots blues festival every August that attracts 30,000 people.
Enjoy the many beaches around Sicamous.
The Shuswap grows many varieties of grapes, and its wines reflect the terroir of the region. The wineries, found just north of the 50th parallel, grow cool-hardy and quick-ripening grapes for their varietals. There are six to visit:
- Larch Hills Winery, Salmon Arm — the highest vineyard in North America. Mar-Dec: daily 9AM-5PM. The tasting room is open throughout the winter.
- Ovino Winery, between Salmon Arm and Vernon. Late May-Oct 15: daily 11AM-5PM, or by appointment.
- Marionette Winery, Salmon Arm — featuring varietals that are not typical of the Shuswap (Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Zweigelt), taking advantage of their property’s unique micro-climate. Close to downtown Salmon Arm. May-Oct: daily noon-5PM.
- Sunnybrae Vineyards and Winery, North of Salmon Arm — pretty views of Shuswap Lake and Mount Ida from their outdoor patio. May-Oct: daily 10AM-5:30PM.
- Recline Ridge Winery, West of Salmon Arm. Owner Graydon Ratzlaff often shows up in the tasting room. Daily: Apr May Oct from noon-5PM; Jun Sep: 11AM-5PM; Jul Aug 10AM-5PM.
- Celista Estate Winery, Celista, on the north shore of Shuswap Lake — call ahead if you're arriving by houseboat. May-Oct: daily 10:30AM-5:30PM. Vineyard tours every Wednesday and Saturday at 11AM.
If wine's not your thing, visit Crannóg Ales in Sorrento, Canada’s first certified organic farmhouse microbrewery.
90% of the Shuswap is provincial park and undeveloped, so there is almost zero chance of being robbed while camping or house boating. The same goes for the bigger cities like Salmon Arm.
|Shuswap Indian Reserve|