On the shores of beautiful Kamloops Lake, just 32 kilometres west of Kamloops, is the Gold Country community of Savona, named after Francois Savona who in 1859 established a ferry service across the Thompson River where it flows out of Kamloops Lake.
Between 1865 and 1885, Savona was the eastern terminus of the BX Stage Coach Line. In addition, it was the western terminus of two steamship lines that provided regular service to Kamloops and ports on the Shuswap Lakes.
The first steamboat ever built in the interior of British Columbia, the Martin, was launched in Savona. The steamship era came to an end when the track of the Canadian Pacific Railroad reached Savona from Port Moody in 1885.
Today this charming community invites you to discover the area’s outdoor attractions, and relive the excitement and romance of the age of the gold mines.
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Castle Rock Hoodoos Provincial Park: From your base in Savona, explore the Hoodoos in Deadman Valley. Formerly known as the Deadman Hoodoos Recreation Area, the park is part of the intriguing Deadman River Valley, encompassing waterfalls, yellow cliffs, fluvial deposits of eroded volcanic ash, and the unusual and interesting rock hoodoo formations.
Discover Kamloops Lake, and enjoy a swim, picnic or waterskiing.
Savona Lakeshore Park: Located off Hwy 1 at the foot of Tingley Street off the Savona Access Road, Savona Lakeshore Park offers a pretty spot for a picnic and a swim. There are tables and a covered shelter, as well as a sandy beach, a band stand, wharves and a boat launch.
Steelhead Provincial Park is located on the southwest shore of Kamloops Lake. Summer recreation draws a crowd, but at other times you’ll have this park and its wonderfully eroded landscape to yourself.
Juniper Beach Provincial Park is one of the few access points to the Thompson River between Savona and Spences Bridge. One of the newest parks in British Columbia, it was created to help protect a desert landscape. Some of the world’s best steelhead fishing is found here. In July, you’ll be able to watch sockeye salmon as they travel upstream to spawn in the Adams River. Visitors can pretend to join them by taking a plunge in a large, natural pool that is separated from the river for swimming. Take Hwy 1 west of Savona for about 10 km.
Painted Bluffs Provincial Park protects reddish coloured painted bluffs on the northern shores of Kamloops Lake, visible from several viewpoints across Kamloops Lake. Fluvial fans cross the low-lying landscape, giving rise to sage and bluebunch wheatgrass. The park is noted for its population of California bighorn sheep. Historic mine sites and native copper diggings still exist within the park, as well as remnants of the Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Brigade Trail, which crossed the northeast corner en route to Carabine Creek. There are no facilities at this park, located 34km west of Kamloops. Access is via Sabiston Road west of Savona.
Golf: Situated on a gentle bluff that traces the washes and swales along the shoreline of pristine Kamloops Lake is the Tobiano Golf Course, just eight minutes drive east of Savona. The site of the historic Six Mile Ranch has been transformed from rugged bench lands into a golf course that is as visually captivating as it is thrilling to play, with four sets of tees evoking the ranch land heritage, named Iron, Spur, Lake and Sage. Alternatively, golfers can head west to tee off at Semlin Valley Golf Course, a lovely 9-hole public golf course located on the hillside just 1 km east of Cache Creek on the Trans Canada Highway. Golfers can also head east to play one of the nine golf courses in the Kamloops area. Kamloops Golf Vacations (High Country).
Farm Guide: Travellers looking for a down-to-earth experience can find a list of resources and activities featured in the Kamloops Farm Fresh Guide. The guide showcases the diversity of life in the Thompson Nicola region, which ranges from wine tasting to guided family horseback rides on a working cattle ranch. Visitors can use the guide (available from Tourism Kamloops) to locate area farmer’s markets and fall fairs, discover fresh-picked fruit and vegetables, farm-raised meat and eggs, and value-added products like honey and jellies.
West of Savona is the historic community of Walhachin, originally established in 1910 as a farming community for British settlers attracted by somewhat exaggerated claims of an agricultural utopia. The new colony was not successful, and today Walhachin is a small community of approximately 100 residents, located off the Trans-Canada Highway, between Savona and Cache Creek. Walhachin has been used as a filming location for the television series, the X-Files.
East of Savona is the sprawling city of Kamloops, situated at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers in the Thompson Valley.
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.