From its hiking its stunning parks to browsing the farmer's markets, there are plenty of free things to do in Kamloops, British Columbia (BC). Whatever your interests are, the variety of fun activities to experience here will inspire you. Kamloops is a fantastic place to visit. Located in the Thompson Valley at the confluence of North and South Thompson Rivers, Kamlops is the second largest city in the interior of BC, with a population of 90,000 people.
Every year a large number of people visit the city and for good reasons: there is so much to do. The landscape surrounding Kamloops is one-of-a-kind, with desert, ponderosa pine forests, lush valleys, freshwater lakes, grasslands, snow-capped mountains, and sandstone canyons. It's a haven for outdoor enthusiasts! The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations have compiled all the information you need to plan your trip, whether you are visiting for business or pleasure.
Where is Kamloops, BC?
Kamloops is a city in British Columbia, Canada, situated on the Thompson River. In 1873, colonizers founded this city on the Thompson River's banks. Kamloops is at the junction of the Yellowhead Highway, the Coquihalla Highway, and the Trans-Canada Highway. The Kamloops Airport is located 15 minutes from downtown, the city's cultural center. It's not difficult to get here. It is suspected that the colonists favored this area because it had an abundant supply of water and fertile soils nearby.
The surrounding area is more commonly known as Thompson Okanagan. Kamloops hosts the Brewloops Beer Festival, the Kamloops Powwow, the Sport Chek Kamloops Marathon, the International Buskers Festival, and other events. Locals enjoy the desert climate of Kamloops by mountain biking through Pineview Valley, hiking in Lac Du Bois Provincial Park, and fishing on the coast from early spring to late fall. The mild winters in Kamloops draw families out on skis, ice skates, snowshoes, and snowmobiles.
Kamloops offers all sorts of activities to please visitors. Here are some top free things to do in Kamloops Canada that you can enjoy with your family and friends.
1. Kamloops Rivers Trail
The Rivers Trail is actually a network of trails that spans around 40 kilometers (25 miles) and can be accessed from various points throughout Kamloops. The trail's official starting point is the High Water Mark sculpture in Riverside Park. That trail continues west for 16 kilometers (9.9 miles), north for 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), and east for 3 kilometers from that point (1.9 miles).
You don't have to walk the complete trail system — we recommend doing it in segments. The Rivers Trail is a beautiful place to walk all year because the city clears the snow during the winter. During the summer, these scenic trails are popular for walking, running, and biking. It's undoubtedly one of the most fun free things to do in Kamloops.
Address: Riverside Park, 100 Lorne St, Kamloops, BC V2B 2C5, Canada
2. Kenna Cartwright Park
A number of parks in Kamloops have some excellent hiking trails. Kenna Cartwright Nature Park is located on the outskirts of Kamloops. With its proximity to town and an extensive trail system that varies from easy to challenging trails — some of which are wheelchair accessible — Kenna Cartwright Park is one of the most popular parks in Kamloops. It is the largest urban park in British Columbia. Along the trails, there are some beautiful viewpoints where you can stop and enjoy the spectacular views of Kamloops, the North and South Thompson Rivers, the Thompson Valley, and Kamloops Lake.
The Kenna Cartwright Ridge Trail is one of the more difficult trails. It offers some of the best valley views. In the spring, you'll see wildflowers and may even see a few deer or a coyote at sundown. The Tower Trail is a 3.4-kilometer hike that is suitable for families and children of all ages. It's classed as straightforward to moderate, so it's convenient for the whole family. Check out the trail map to find a trail that suits your needs, whether it's a graceful stroll or a challenging bike ride.
Address: 2000 Hillside Dr, Kamloops, BC V2E 2T4, Canada
3. McArthur Island Park
McArthur Island Park is a 9-acre park on the banks of the Thompson River. McArthur Island Park offers a wide range of sports activities with its large sports center, baseball stadium, golf course, sports fields, and skatepark. The beautiful trees and coastline make it an ideal location to picnic, walk, or just relax in the shade. The paved path along the river is lovely for walking and spotting wildlife such as marmots, eagles, ducks, and geese.
You can also bring your putters and balls to McArthur Island and play some free mini-golf. This 18-hole city-maintained course is enjoyable for golfers of all ages. Visit the Gregson Butterfly Garden if you're in town during the summer. There are numerous benches throughout the area where you can sit back and take in the natural splendor.
Address: 1655 Island Pkwy, Kamloops, BC V2B 6Y9, Canada
4. Riverside Park - Centre Of The City
Riverside Park is among the most popular areas in the city. It's right on the Thompson River and only a few minutes from downtown Kamloops. This park provides an amazing opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, with its outdoor pool, tennis courts, and children's playgrounds; there are also hiking paths around its periphery that allow visitors to get up close and personal with nature.
Riverside Park in downtown Kamloops hosts free live music each night in July and August. Riverside Park's Concession offers lawn games, food trucks, water bike rentals, and kayak rentals.
Address: 100 Lorne St, Kamloops, BC V2C 1V9, Canada
5. Privato Vineyard And Winery
Privato is a family-run boutique winery dedicated to producing top Burgundian-style wines in the heart of BC's Thompson River Valley. The name Privato is derived from the Italian word for private, which perfectly describes the idyllic setting of this winery. The winery features Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and focuses on small-batch production. The wines, pressed and vinified in small lots, reflect the specific location and terroir from which the grapes are sourced.
For a free outing, stroll through the spectacular event gardens. For a small fee you can book a private tasting. The Privato portfolio now includes additional aromatic varieties as well as sparkling wine. Make a reservation in advance or simply enjoy a glass on the patio, where no reservations are required.
Address: 5505 Westsyde Rd, Kamloops, BC V2B 8N5, Canada
6. Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area
If you want a good view of Kamloops, the Lac Du Bois Grasslands Area is the place to be. In fact, the Lac Du Bois Grasslands is many people's favorite early-season hike in Kamloops. Located in the highlands above Kamloops behind Batchelor Heights, the Grasslands offer hiking and mountain biking trails as well as native wildlife and countless places to explore.
Lac Du Bois' extensive trail system takes you across sage-filled meadows, small groves of Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine forests. Explore on your bike or on foot. Because it is a protected area, the local wildlife thrives, making it a great place to spot Western bluebirds, bighorn sheep, and mule deer.
Address: Savona, BC V0K 2J0, Canada
7. Kamloops Farmer's Market
Many locals frequent the Kamloops Farmers' Market, and it's a fun place to visit while you're here. You'll be able to purchase fresh produce, baked goods, meat, and other items to get a taste of Kamloops.
For over 40 years, the Kamloops Farmer's Market has been a place where local consumers and producers can gather. Hundreds of vendors now sell everything from local crafts to kombucha, honey, soap, and even perogies. During the summer, the market is a festive gathering place for families with live music and entertainment.
The Kamloops Farmers' Market should not be missed. From the end of April to the end of October, the main Kamloops Farmers' Market is held on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Saturday markets are held on the 200 block of St. Paul Street from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday markets are held on the 400 block of Victoria Street in front of the library from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the winter at 471 Okanagan Way in the Purity Feed Greenhouse.
Address: 245 St Paul St, Kamloops, BC V2C 2J2, Canada
8. Monte Creek Winery
Monte Creek Winery is the largest winery in Kamloops and offers stunning views of the river valley. The winery is an ideal location for wine tasting and has a beautiful wine store selling farm products, books, natural honey, a variety of gift items, and, of course, bottles of wine. Their tasting room is open all year round.
Try one of their French oak-fermented Chardonnays from 2018 or a Cabernet Merlot with hints of orange, plum, and dark chocolate. During the summer, you can dine at The Terrace Restaurant or have a picnic on the ranch's beautiful lawns. In 2020, this boutique winery was voted the best wedding venue and a wine-tasting spot in Kamloops. The architecture of the stone buildings is breathtaking, with scenery to match.
Address: 2420 Miner's Bluff Rd, Monte Creek, BC V0E 2M0, Canada
9. Harper's Trail
Kamloops' first winery. Harper's Trail Estate Winery is named after the cattle drive "trail" of visionary rancher Thaddeus Harper. Harper's Trail Estate Winery is located on the banks of the South Thompson River on the outskirts of town. The vineyard is surrounded by sage-covered hills and is set against a dramatic backdrop of limestone, hoodoo formations, and a natural spring.
Harper's Trail wines are cultivated and made in the Thompson Okanagan and reflect the region's terroir, with stunning minerality and crisp acidity. Visit the exterior covered sitting area or the completely separate picnic patio with breathtaking views.
Address: 2761 Shuswap Road, Kamloops, BC, Canada, V2H1S9
10. McLure Ferry
The McLure Ferry is a cable ferry that crosses the North Thompson River in British Columbia, Canada. It is about 43 kilometers north of Kamloops. The ferry is operated under contract with the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation, is toll-free, and runs on demand between 0700 and 1820. It can transport up to two cars and 12 passengers at the same time. The crossing is about 100 meters (330 feet) long and takes about 5 minutes to complete. The ferry does not run during high water or a winter freeze.
Address: Ferry Road, McLure, BC V0E 2H0, Canada
11. Back Alley Art Gallery Tour
The Back Alley Art Gallery Tour in downtown Kamloops features more than 30 murals, all of which can be found by strolling through Kamloops' alleys. The majority of these murals can be found in the alleyways that connect Lansdowne Street to Victoria Street and Seymour Avenue. Walk down Victoria Street to the lane on the north side of 2nd Avenue. Continue until you reach 6th Avenue, then repeat for the southern alley.
Touring these wonderful pieces of art is one of the best free things to do in Kamloops. These back alleys provide an unexpected canvas for unique visual art. Discover the different artistic styles as you find the 30-plus art murals in downtown Kamloops in this outdoor art tour.
Address: 465 Victoria St #101, Kamloops, BC V2C 2A9, Canada
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the Best Time to Visit Kamloops?
Although Kamloops is popular with tourists all year, the summer months are considered the best due to the pleasant weather and abundance of outdoor activities. The months of May to October are ideal for travel. Winter also draws visitors because of the snow and the outdoor activities. The best skiing and snowboarding can be found nearby Harper Mountain or Sun Peaks Resort during the winter months, between December and March.
Is it worth visiting Kamloops?
Yes, if you're looking for a destination with a good mix of scenery, outdoor activities, and culture, Kamloops, British Columbia is a must-see. There's plenty to see and do here, the scenery is stunning, and the people are welcoming.
What is Kamloops best known for?
Kamloops is positioned as Canada's Tournament Capital. Every year, it hosts over 100 sporting tournaments (hockey, curling, baseball, and so on) at world-class sports facilities such as the Tournament Capital Ranch, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Tournament Capital Centre.
Why do people go to Kamloops?
Kamloops has a variety of unique and wonderful attractions. People come here to enjoy endless hours of adventure, with unending hiking trails and 100 lakes within about an hour of the City Centre. It is also a stop for the Rocky Mountaineer.
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