The North Okanagan region is situated between the Okanagan Valley and the Shuswap, in the interior of British Columbia, stretching from Vernon in the south to Grindrod in the north. Incorporated in the North Okanagan are the communities of Armstrong, Cherryville, Coldstream, Enderby, Grindrod, Lumby, Spallumcheen, and the city of Vernon, the oldest community in British Columbia’s interior. With a moderate climate producing warm spring weather, hot and sunny summers, mild autumns and temperate winters, the North Okanagan boasts a limitless variety of year-round recreational activities. Vacation time is family fun time in the North Okanagan.
Location: The communities of the North Okanagan are located on or near Highway 97A, which runs from north of Vernon to Sicamous, at the junction with Trans-Canada Highway 1. The region can also be accessed on Highway 97 from Kamloops, and Highway 97B from Salmon Arm and the Shuswap.
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Presiding over the fertile dairy and ranch land of the Spallumcheen Valley, is the small community and commercial centre of Armstrong. Agriculture and ranching are the traditional economic ventures of Armstrong, named after E.C. Heaton Armstrong, a London banker who helped finance the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway in 1892, and local development at the turn of the century.
A vibrant and diverse community in the foothills of the Monashee Mountains, Cherryville offers fascinating places and features to explore, and some of the most beautiful scenery in British Columbia.
One of the first areas settled in the region (incorporated in 1906), the community of Coldstream, is located on Highway 6 on the eastern border of Vernon. Vernon and Coldstream are sophisticated and cosmopolitan, yet intimate and friendly. The Coldstream Valley stretches eastward through rolling hills and rich agricultural land to the community of Lavington. Coldstream boasts several parks, including the beautiful Kalamalka Provincial Park, with great hiking trails and beautiful beaches. Cycling opportunities abound, with many interesting backroads and byways to explore. Several boat launches provide a getaway to adventure on Kalamalka Lake.
Located south of Mara Lake on the banks of the Shuswap River, the idyllic riverfront community of Enderby is nestled below the steep volcanic Enderby cliffs, which tower high above the city. When viewed from Enderby, local legend has it that the ridge resembles the head of the Neanderthal Man who guarded the northern gateway to the Okanagan Trench in the days of yore.
Nestled amongst valleys and rich farmland is the quaint and friendly little town of Lumby, known as the Gateway to the Monashee, the Mountains of Peace. The view from Lumby is wonderful, as the picturesque Coldstream, Trinity and Creighton valleys all converge here. The awe-inspiring Monashee Mountain range and the varied landscape of streams and lakes beckons the avid outdoor enthusiast.
Located 4 miles (6 km) north of the Vernon city limits, Spallumcheen is one of the finest agricultural areas in BC, cloaked in rich green alfalfa and golden grains, with diverse farms nestled into the pine-clad hillsides. The name “Spallumcheen” is derived from the First Nations word meaning “beautiful valley”. Incorporated in 1892, Spallumcheen is surrounded by recreational activities on nearby mountains and lakes. Forestry, agriculture, and tourism are the mainstays of the local economy. A “must see” in Spallumcheen is a visit to the Historic O’Keefe Ranch.
Ideally nestled between the beautiful Swan, Kalamalka, and Okanagan lakes, is the city of Vernon, the oldest community in British Columbia’s interior. Originally inhabited by the Interior Salish People, the discovery of gold and the luxuriant growth of bunchgrass in the valley attracted both gold miners and cattle ranchers to the region in the 1860s and 1870s.
Skiing: A major attraction in the North Okanagan is the Silver Star Provincial Park in the Shuswap Highlands, home to Silver Star Mountain Resort, the most northerly winter playground in the Okanagan. Skiers and snowboarders will find over one hundred designed trails and 2,491 feet (760 m) of vertical drop in which to defy gravity. One of the most popular ski resorts in BC, the park and resort are located northeast of Vernon on Hwy 97, then east on the well-marked Silver Star Road, for a total distance of 22 km.
Outdoor Adventure: As with most regions in British Columbia, the North Okanagan offers a diverse range of outdoor activities. Recreation and Outdoor Activities in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia.
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.