Located at the southern end of Little Shuswap Lake in the mountainous eastern region of the South Thompson River Valley, is the little town of Chase, known as The Gateway to the Shuswap, a region known for it’s spectacular scenery, beautiful lakes, recreational splendor, and fabulous four seasons.
Mount Scatchard and Mount Boysee dominate the southern horizon, while the northern side of the South Thompson River Valley is defined by the Shuswap Highlands that rise to 1,830 meters.
Chase was named in honour of a New York carpenter Whitfield Chase, one of the more unlucky prospectors. After originally coming to Canada during the 1858 gold rush, he settled in the area in 1865 to try his hand at ranching, becoming the first non-native settler that farmed and raised a family in what was then called The Shuswap Prairie.
Before the town of Chase existed (pre 1908) the main town centre was called Shuswap, and was located approximately five kilometers west of the current site. During the days of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chase functioned as a turnaround terminal for steam engines used to power eastbound trains over the hill on the east side of town.
On the western edge of the famed Shuswap in the heart of the BC interior, Chase offers a beach, campsites, a floating dock, and boat launch facilities. Boating, kayaking, fishing, golfing, hiking, and mountain biking are popular pursuits in the warm and sunny climate of Chase.
Location: Chase is located on the Trans-Canada Highway 1 in the Shuswap region of BC, at the confluence of Little Shuswap Lake and the South Thompson River, approximately 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Kamloops and 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Salmon Arm.
Reflect on life as it was on this land beside Little Shuswap Lake, at the Chase Museum & Archives. Catch a glimpse of the hard work, the primitive living conditions, and the challenge of survival that faced the early settlers. View displays on early ranching, logging, the Canadian Pacific railroad, and Shuswap First Nations history. The Chase Museum is located in a former church building on Shuswap Avenue.
View the Chase Falls by following Chase Creek a short distance from the Chase Creek Rest Area, on the east side of Highway 1.
At the rest area is a sign describing the remains of some Shuswap Indian semi-subterranean log-roofed pithouses used during winter, called kekulis. The word kekuli derives from kickwillie or keekwulee, the Chinook jargon word for beneath or under.
In the Shuswap Highlands region southwest of Sorrento, hike the gentle trails in Niskonlith Lake Provincial Park in fall to see a host of migratory birds. The park offers camping in a lushly forested environment, sheltered by towering cottonwoods. Spring wildflowers bloom in extraordinary profusion, as birds make their northern migration through this area of the Shuswap Highlands. Come fall, the birds are back again. The park is open from April to October. Fishing and easygoing hiking are both good reasons to camp here. Take the mostly gravel road off Hwy 1 about 15 km northwest of Chase.
Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park has several beautiful walks and low-key hikes; the Lower Trail System provides access to viewing the salmon run along the Adams River. You shouldn’t miss the Reinecker Creek self-guided nature walk here, which leads to Margaret Falls. Roderick Haig-Brown was a magistrate, writer, angler, and conservationist dedicated to preserving, among other wildlife, the sockeye salmon so key to British Columbia’s economy. He even wrote a poem about salmon, which appears in its entirety on a plaque in the park named in his honour. This 988-hectare park encompasses the entire length of the Adams River, the site of the largest sockeye salmon run on the West Coast. There’s an excellent interpretive area that explains the whole phenomenal trek. A ‘dominant’ run happens every four years, followed by years of much smaller runs. The sockeye are joined by chinook, coho, and pink salmon. The timing of the late summer/early fall salmon run depend on temperature, rainfall, and water levels. If you want to see it at its best, call BC Parks’ district office in Kamloops. Many wild critters live in this park, among them bears, beavers, and river otters.
Shuswap Lake Provincial Park is wildly popular. Everything you need for summer fun is right here: camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, paddling, swimming, hiking, windsurfing, sailing, houseboating, water-skiing, nature study, photography, visitor programs, and bicycling. With 12 kilometres of paved trails, Shuswap Lake may also be the cycling capital of the BC Parks system. The park is open in the fall during the Adams River salmon run.
Golf: Sunshore Golf Course on Hysop Road on the shores of Little Shuswap Lake offers a challenging 4,865-yard, par-67 public course set in beautiful surroundings. Arrive by car, or dock your boat adjacent to the 8th tee! Shuswap Golf Vacations in the Shuswap, BC.
The family-friendly Harper Mountain ski hill located 10 miles (16 km) east of Kamloops offers great Okanagan Powder for downhill skiers and snowboarders, as well as night skiing, cross country trails and snowboarding – all at affordable prices.
Canoeing & Kayaking: Canoeists put in at Chase for the 60-kilometre canoe trip down the Thompson River to Kamloops.
East of Chase is the lakeside vacation community of Sorrento on the shores of Shuswap Lake. Like Chase, Sorrento offers a fabulous array of recreational activities during both summer and winter.
South of Chase is the community of Falkland. A side trip to Falkland is not complete without stopping at Pillar Lake. Hikers, rockhounds, photographers and nature lovers will enjoy The Pillar, a 90-foot unique geological conglomerate of dirt and rock that can be reached via a short hike. A giant bony finger, the Falkland hoodoo, points skyward, balancing a precariously perched eight-tonne boulder on its tip.
West of Chase is the sprawling city of Kamloops at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers in the Thompson Valley. Water isn’t the only thing that meets here; the Trans-Canada Highway, the Yellowhead Hwy and Highway 97 all meet in Kamloops, as do the two national rail lines, CP and CN.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in British Columbia.