It’s March in Alberta and you know what that means – we are still knee deep in snow. I do enjoy the winter season, however, now that spring is right around the corner, so is summer! And that means heading out to British Columbia’s Shuswap Lake region for some excellent hiking.
There are so many trails to choose from whether it be a short stroll along the shoreline in Salmon Arm or a challenging climb to the top of McArthur Heights. There is a hike for everyone, with varying distances and difficulty levels. With any hike, you will find yourself immersed in nature, with bird calls for music and serenity for your soul.
Here are a few hikes I have done over the years.
Balmoral Bluffs – there are a number of options when starting out at the Balmoral Bluffs trailhead. The short lower loop will take you to a lookout point and is perfect for a short afternoon stroll. Longer hikes will lead you to the Blind Bay Lookout or White Lake. If you hike to White Lake or the Blind Bay Lookout, neither are loop trails, so have a vehicle waiting for you at the White Lake or McArthur Heights trailheads, or just plan appropriately for a return trip. All trails are well marked and have various elevation points and scenic views. You are definitely in the middle of the forest for these trails.
Enderby Cliffs – this is a phenomenal hike and not for the faint of heart. The hike starts off at a gradual climb leading to switchbacks and ever changing scenery. Hiking to the summit is just shy of 4000 ft in elevation gain so make sure you are prepared with proper footwear. Once you arrive at the summit you are treated to a magnificent view of the countryside below. Hiking to the summit and back is approximately 4 hours so make sure you pack some snacks and bring plenty of water. I promise, once you get to the top you will want to stay for a bit to take in the view.
Adams River – there are various hikes to take from the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park and all are beautiful. The Upper Trail System and Beer Creek Flume trails wind through the forest, sidling along the river at times. These trails have a number of old wooden stairs and walkways interspersed throughout the trail. Close by is a well known, easy walking trail frequented by visitors and locals alike. One of the highlights of this trail is the annual salmon run which takes place in October. Be ready for the competing colors of autumn and the red river of spawning salmon.
Blind Bay Lookout – this is a challenging hike filled with switchbacks to the top of McArthur Heights for spectacular views of Shuswap Lake. There are two access points for this hike – start at either the McAurthur Heights trailhead for a short but strenuous hike or the Balmoral Bluffs trailhead for a longer hike with various levels of difficulty.
Herald Park and Margaret Falls – no trip is complete without a visit to Herald Park and Margaret Falls. The trail system at Herald Park has been built out quite a bit and is an easy stroll along the creek. If you start at the lake and continue following the trail, you will come to Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road. Across the road is the trailhead to Margaret Falls. This trail has been around for many years and is a very popular trail for a short walk. Your reward is at the end of the trail, which of course, is Margaret Falls. Note: as per the Shuswap Trails website, Margaret Falls is currently closed due to damage caused from the 2017 spring run-off and subsequent mudslides. Hopefully they will re-open for the coming 2018 season.
This is only a short list of available hikes in this region, but they are some of my favourites. If you seek to do some hiking in this area, be sure to plan appropriately – bring your hiking gear, camera and bear bells as not all wildlife is as friendly as this little guy.
This is bear country after all and you should be prepared if you do happen to encounter a bear.
To see the extensive list of trails, check out ShuswapTrails for all the latest trail info, safety guidelines and updates.