Canoeing and Kayaking in the Shuswap
Shuswap Lake Marine Provincial Park is among of the most popular boating and canoeing locations in the Southern Interior. One of the best places to begin exploring Shuswap Lake is at Sicamous, the ‘houseboat capital of Canada’ and the service centre for Shuswap marine park. Marinas and watercraft rentals are located here. Of note is the MV Phoebe Ann, which can hold 40 passengers (and canoes or kayaks) and acts as a vehicle barge. This vessel stops at numerous lakeside locations year-round, except when ice makes travel impossible.
Shuswap Lakeis shaped like an addled H and is made up of four large arms: the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Salmon Arm, Anstey Arm, and Seymour Arm. The product of the glacial scouring that also rounded the surrounding Shuswap Highlands, all four arms converge at Cinnemousun Narrows, northeast of Sicamous. Protected waterways, secluded beaches, and more than 1,000 km of shoreline make enormous Shuswap Lake a busy water-sport haven during summer. Those mariners interested in an extended visit will find 14 campsites, some vehicle-accessible but most the preserve of boaters and paddlers.
Good vehicle-access sites on Shuswap Lake include Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, about 12 miles (20 km) northeast of Hwy 1 at Squilax. On Salmon Arm, launch at the public wharf in Canoe, about 4 miles (6 km) east of Salmon Arm on Hwy 1, or in Sicamous, 13 miles (21 km) farther east on Hwy 1. There’s also gravel-road access from Hwy 1 to Seymour Arm at Silver Beach Provincial Park.
Wilderness campsites with basic facilities include Two Mile Creek, Albas, and Fowler Point on the northeast shore of Seymour Arm; Anstey View on the northwest shore and Four Mile Creek and Anstey Beach on the south shore of Anstey Arm; and Marble Point on the south shore and Hermit Bay on the north shore of Salmon Arm.
Canoeing and Kayaking in the Similkameen
A chain of lakes flows southwest from Manning Provincial Park‘s Lightning Lake, the biggest in the series, where there is an unpatrolled beach and swimming area. Visitors are urged to mind their water safety: Never swim alone and be vigilant when children are near or in the water. Lightning Lake provides good canoeing – there is a launch ramp at the day-use area, but powerboats are prohibited in the park.
For a refreshing dip or paddle in the cool waters of the Similkameen River on a hot summer day, stop at Bromley Rock Provincial Park or Stemwinder Provincial Park west of Hedley. Watch out for poison ivy along the riverbank. Bromley Rock features a large picnic/day use area, and Stemwinder is also popular as a picnic stop for travellers along Hwy 3.
Canoeing and Kayaking in the Kettle Valley
In summer, the Kettle River, accessible from the Kettle River Recreation Area, is excellent for canoeing and inner-tubing, although potential hazards such as submerged sweepers do exist. Don’t attempt this river during spring runoff.