Kamloops is situated in beautiful British Columbia about halfway between Vancouver and Banff. It is often a one- night stop over for those travelling along the Rocky Mountaineer or driving from Calgary to Vancouver. Our visit showed us that Kamloops is a destination in itself and actually deserves more than one night to fully appreciate all it has to offer.
During our visit to Kamloops, we stayed at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre. The hotel isn’t located central downtown, instead, it’s situated up on a hill that overlooks Kamloops and offers some pretty good views of the city. The hotel has a large indoor courtyard and garden which would be perfect over winter. Amongst the garden is the hotel’s pool and hot tub. You’ll also find all the usual amenities including a restaurant and fitness centre.
The Coast Hotel and Conference Centre is pet-friendly and has four pet-friendly rooms situated on the ground floor, near the back exit as to allow for easy access for toilet breaks. Although the hotel is dog-friendly, dogs aren’t permitted in the pool or restaurant area due to health regulation. The hotel doesn’t have any size or breed restrictions but does charge a $20 per night pet cleaning fee for guests who have pets accompanying them.
During our visit to Kamloops, we checked out the Red Collar Brewery which is located in downtown Kamloops. Named after the owner’s dog, it was the perfect venue for us and I enjoyed a pizza for my dinner and later drinks during our meet & greet. They have both an indoor and outdoor patio area that is dog-friendly, making it perfect for both summer and winter. They don’t serve food or drinks in these areas, but if you choose to take your food or drinks out there, that’s your choice. It was definitely one of the more pet-friendly establishments we have come across in BC and I highly recommend checking it out.
Battle Bluff Hike
One of the first things we did was to try and hike to Battle Bluff for sunset where there is a panoramic view of Kamloops Lake, the Thompson River & the city of Kamloops itself. The hike takes about an hour to get up there & is dog friendly, however dogs need to be on a leash. The trail is mostly a 4wd track with a few junctions. If you mark your trail with sticks, make sure your dog doesn’t carry the sticks away with them like Mya did. About 2/3 of the way there, the terrain started getting really steep & there are some small rocky cliffs. I made the call not to go any further, because I didn’t want to be hiking in that kind of terrain in the dark. Fortunately where we were still offered some amazing views & we watched the sun set (the clouds covered the sun, but as the area fell into darkness it still offered some beautiful views). In hindsight I probably wouldn’t recommend hiking the trail at sunset, but during the day the views would definitely be worth it. Just remember when you head out there that there is plenty of wildlife in the area too.
Kenna Cartwright Park
Heading to Kamloops, one of the big things I wanted to do was go mountain biking. I managed to get a pretty sweet rental mountain bike from Cycle Logic located in downtown Kamloops. The staff there were fantastic and gave plenty of tips for where to go and what trails to take. After getting lots of recommendations, we made our way to Kenna Cartwright Park. It’s a great spot & Mya was allowed off leash, which worked out perfectly for riding. The park has a variety of trails for different skill levels. We went along Red Tailed Hawk, Ridge Trail and Powerline. I really enjoyed the riding, but the trails didn’t quite have as much flow as I would have liked, meaning I got a pretty good work out in.
If mountain biking isn’t your thing, we also hiked the 1.5 hr return Sunset Trail, which offers a beautiful view of the lake and Kamloops. In hindsight this probably would have been a better hike to do in the evening than Battle Bluff. You can find directions to Kenna Cartwright Park here.
BC Wildlife Park
Whilst Mya slept after our morning ride, I made the most of the time to go check out the BC Wildlife Park. The park predominantly has native animals to Canada who are all rescues and have been deemed unsuitable to be released back into the wild. Some of my favourites would be the wolves, coyotes and bears. I was fortunate to hear all about the animals’ backgrounds & see most of them including Clover a rare Spirit Bear.
I felt like we had done a pretty good job of exploring Kamloops, but I still hadn’t checked out Kamloops Lake. To get the full experience of Kamloops, Mya and I made our way to Bruker Marina where we hired a kayak and went for a paddle. We had a lot of fun paddling and taking in the landscape, its completely different from anything else I had seen in BC, parts of it actually reminded me of Utah.
Kamloops Farmers Market
The last thing we did in Kamloops was check out the Farmers Market. It’s pet friendly and held every Wednesday (400 block of Victoria St) and Saturday (200 block of St Paul St) at different locations, so be sure to check that you’re going to the right one first (we got a little lost along the way). They had a bit of something for everyone, fresh produce, arts and crafts, community information. We had a great time, it was nice to be able to have Mya join me, as a lot of the Farmers Markets we had been to lately wouldn’t allow dogs.
Despite having been through Kamloops countless times last year, we learnt so much about it during our stay. The area has a lot more to offer than we originally thought. I would recommend taking the time to actually explore the area, instead of merely passing through, I know we now hope to return over winter to see what else it has to offer.
Stay: Coast Kamloops Hotel| @CoastKamloopsHotel
Play: BC Wildlife Park| @BCWildlifePark
Play: Cycle Logic| @Cycle.Logic
Play: Marina Bruker (Kayak Kamloops Lake)| @MarinaBruker
Eat: Red Collar Brewing| @RedCollarBrewing