This is a nice little day paddle located just outside the city of Kamloops British Columbia. A beautiful lake, surrounded by history, makes for an interesting little outing. Kamloops Lake is a fairly large body of water, measuring roughly 1.6 kilometers wide and 29 kilometers long. It sits at an elevation of 335 meters (1100 feet) and has a maximum depth of about 150 meters (500 feet). The lake is fed by the combined flows of the North and South Thompson Rivers and from the western end of the lake resumes its flow as the Thompson River which eventually feeds into the mighty Fraser River.
Just before reaching the parking lot you will pass by a series of now rundown buildings in various states of disrepair. This is the site of the former King Edward Sanatorium n Tranquille which at one time was thought to be among the finest hospitals of its kind in all of North America. Here for many several decades patients were treated for Tuberculosis from 1907 to 1957 before the facilities closure. The facilities were again later used as a hospital for the mentally handicapped until 1984. Take a look around either before or after hitting the water, it is an interesting place, full of history and is situated in a beautiful setting!
Once in the parking lot, it is a short walk down to the waters edge where you will launch your canoe or kayak. The focus of this article is the north shore of the lake although I will soon be posting an article on the entire lake based on a circumnavigation. For now though, we will concentrate on a smaller section of the north shore of the lake and, in my opinion, one of the best sections along the entire lakeshore.
Once on the water, you will head off in a westerly direction and will soon come to a beautiful section of rugged cliffs. You will see a CN rail track carved out of the cliffside as well as tunnels where the trains cut through the sheer cliffs. You will paddle past some rocky beaches where you can stop for breaks if you wish as you proceed down the lake. After approximately 8 kilometers, you will come to a rocky beach with several small isolated homes just above the lakeshore. This is the suggested turn around for this trip although you can easily extend the trip by proceeding further. Again though, the focus of this trip route is a shorter outing of just over 16 kilometers return. A trip that can be completed in a relatively short period of time that encompasses some spectacular scenery along this beautiful and rarely paddled paddle lake.
As is the case when paddling on any large lake, be aware of changing weather conditions as the lake is prone to high winds and the resulting breaking waves. I've seen things go from dead calm to three foot breaking waves and countless whitecaps in just over an hour! Be especially aware of breaking waves when paddling near the sheer cliffs.
I've personally paddled this lake many times. Most recently was an outing with my friend Wally who was paddling in his Simon River Sports Laser, a very fast little kayak to be sure! Myself, I was paddling in an older solo marathon racing canoe, a Clipper, that I picked up over the summer back in Alberta whilel living in Banff National Park. In the spring of '07, I'll pack up some camping gear and head off for a trip around the lake and catch a good night's sleep under the stars and will write a route report on doing the entire lake. YeahÂ….life is good!
So go pack a lunch, grab the camera, load on the boat and make your way out to Tranquille and get yourself out on the water! You'll be glad that you did!
The put in, on the north side of the lake, is at the very end of Tranquille Road itself, roughly 18 kilometers west of Kamloops. From Kamloops, you head for the North Shore side if the river, North Kamloops, and get onto Tranquille Road which is one of the main arteries. Follow it in a westerly direction out of town and watch for the fork in the road at Red Lake Road. Veer to the left here, staying on Tranquille Road and proceed down what is now a dirt road to the parking lot at the end of the road. This is where you will park and start the days paddle from.
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Posted By: jonathangough
- Sat Oct 29 17:39:14 EDT 2011
QuestionI am interested in canoeing Kamloops Lake as part of a longer trip from Clearwater down to Savona. Do you know of any good camping spots along the way. We will probably be a group of about 20 to 25.ANSWERS are in this forum: Kamloops Lake