The small community of Mara is located on the Shuswap River in the Shuswap region of British Columbia, enjoying a gentle climate, relaxed lifestyle, and abundant recreational and cultural activities. The Shuswap and Okanagan areas are havens for boaters and vacationers looking for a summer holiday on the water. Mara Lake is popular, and nearby Sicamous on Shuswap Lake touts itself as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. Further south, Lake Okanagan stretches all the way from Vernon south to Penticton, with numerous parks and campsites set in the wilderness.
Location: The community of Mara is located on the Shuswap River west of Highway 97A in the Shuswap, between Grindrod to the south and Sicamous to the north. Access to Mara is via Riverside Road, which loops off Highway 97A.
Rosemond Lake is situated at the south end of Mara Lake. Known locally as “Mud Lake”, this small lake is bordered on the east by farmland and on the west by woodland and a recreation reserve. Access to the lake is by canoe or row boat under the railway trestle from Mara Lake; motorboats are not allowed. Rosemond Lake is popular with birdwatchers, as it is the home of eagles, osprey, geese, swans, ducks, and loons. There is a lovely beach with user-maintained picnic tables, toilet facilities, and tent-only camping. Fresh water is available.
The Historic Mara Train Station, built in 1892, was located on the Shuswap – Okanagan Railroad. Before the arrival of the railway, transportation to and from Mara was by way of paddlewheeler up and down the Shuswap River, and by stagecoach that ran along the west-side of Mara Lake. The train station was recently moved across the road from its original position on the railway line to its present location on the banks of the Shuswap River.
Golf: Golfers can tee off at the Birchdale Golf Course in nearby Grindrod, which offers a 9-hole course covering 1,257 yards of mostly level ground. The towering red-tinted lava face of the Enderby Cliffs on the east side of the valley make a spectacular setting for Birchdale Golf Course, located 19 miles (30 kms) north of Vernon on Highway 97A. There are also two golf courses in Sicamous: Hyde Mountain on Mara Lake Golf Course features dramatic elevation changes, phenomenal lake views, and cliffside golf shots. The 18-hole Les Furber course is located off the Old Spallumcheen Road along Mara Lake in Sicamous. Eagle River Golf and Country Club is a picturesque and challenging 9-hole golf course situated along the Eagle River. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Mara Provincial Park is a small 5.9-hectare park situated on the eastern shores of Mara Lake just north of Mara. The park is strictly a day-use area, but offers a variety of recreational activities. The park has a beautiful broad stretch of sandy beach and is popular for fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, watersports, and picnicking.
Larch Hills Cross-Country Area, northwest of Mara, has an impressive 87 miles (140 km) of cross-country skiing trails, about 25 miles (40 km) of which are groomed. To reach the trailhead, drive north from nearby Grindrod on the road to Grandview Bench. Proceed north on Edgar Road for 1 mile (2 km). The club maintains a chalet, which is open to all, the site of the annual ‘loppet,’ or cross-country ski race.
Snowmobiling is good in the area, but it is best in nearby Enderby, home to the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association, which sponsors a number of annual snowmobiling events, including the popular Snowrama in February. This group operates a day chalet and shelter, and has marked groomed and non-groomed trails in the 200 square kilometres of great snowmobiling amongst the alpine meadows and bowls in the Hunters Range east of Enderby. Snowmobilers can also head to the Owlhead/Mara Mountain, northeast of Mara.
Skiing: Silver Star Provincial Park in the Shuswap Highlands is home to Silver Star Mountain Resort , the most northerly winter playground in the Okanagan Valley. Skiers and snowboarders will find a year-round resort here, with hotels, restaurants, a saloon, lounges, and a grocery store all clustered at the base of the resort’s chairlifts. There’s no need for a vehicle once you arrive here, as everything is within easy walking or skiing distance. The park and resort are located 45 minutes southeast of Mara on Hwy 97, then east on well-marked Silver Star Road, for a total distance of 22 km. Skiing & Winter Activities in the Shuswap Lake and Okanagan Valley area.
Northeast of Mara on Highway 97A is the town of Sicamous, situated at the junction of the Shuswap and Mara Lakes in the Eagle Valley. The community of Sicamous is known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada, due to the more than three hundred houseboats that are rented out annually from the marinas on Shuswap Lake.
South of Mara is the small farming village of Grindrod, located on the west bank of the Shuswap River. Set in peaceful and rural surroundings, Grindrod is full of country charm with a storybook setting; a popular destination with visitors.
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.