This province has many natural wonders--the Hoodoos are definitely among the most exotic ones. More than 10,000 years ago, the clay benches along the South Thompson River formed the bottom and shoreline of glacial Lake Thompson. Centuries of erosion have created these intriguing rock formations, referred to as Hoodoos, only a short distance from the center of Kamloops. The valley in which these majestic sandstone structures are located is easily accessible and can be reached in less than an hour. Take your camera, it’s well worth recording this example of Mother Nature’s wonders.
NEW INFORMATION Parks and CP no longer want you to cross the railroad tracks. There is a safer way. Zero your odometer on the main road leading into the Kamloops Airport. Go west, towards the Tranquille Farm for 2.5 km. Turn Right onto Ord Rd and cross the tracks.
PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY ON THIS SECTION, AS THE ROAD IS DUSTY AND THERE ARE RESIDENCES CLOSE TO THE ROAD. If you see him, please wave to the nice man who has cleared this part of ORD road for our safety. Follow Ord Rd to the end, where there is a cul-de-sac. Park here, at GPS coordinates 50.7188717, -120.4735067 or somewhere along that loop. Those coordinates, at the north of the loop, mark the trailhead. About 60 meters from the trailhead, keep to the right. About 200 meters from the trailhead, keep left for the hoodoos hike, climbing towards the sandstone hills directly ahead.
The trail into the canyon is off and up to the right. The initial climb is steep for about 5-10 minutes. After this section, the route drops down into the canyon and follows the riverbed heading north into the gorge.
The hoodoos are another 10 - 15 minutes along the river. Depending on the season, the dried up riverbed may allow you to go on for several kilometres, especially in mid-summer or fall. Total hiking distance for the round trip is between 6 and 10 km, so allow 1 ¾ to 3 hours.
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Posted By: SpencerB
- Sun Mar 24 00:45:34 UTC 2019
UpsideVery scenic, especially in the canyon. DownsideSteep with loose footing. CommentAs most of this route is up south facing hills it can be a nice early season hike. Once you reach the canyon though ice cleats will be appreciated. The stream bed was ice covered in late March.
Posted By: Fortyylove
- Sat Mar 14 21:34:45 UTC 2015
UpsideGood workout Great scenery DownsideMany steep slippery traverses. CommentMy trailhead was at: 50Â° 43â?? 6.7â?? by Â 120Â° 28â?? 33.4â?? (on shoulder of Tranquille Road)
It was another amazing day for a hike in BC ! Starting at 9:30 at the trailhead (350 m) on Tranquille Road in Northwest Kamloops, it was overcast and 10 Deg C with a chilly wind. As I proceeded up the west ridge of Mara Canyon, the terrain got steep fast and finding good footholds was challenging; however, the group of 9 California Big Horn Sheep staring at me had no problem with the terrain. I made it up to the first viewpoint (600 m) in 70 minutes. The trail is not marked well at all and I am thankful for the gpx track emailed to me the night before by local hiker. After the first peak, I continued across a large hoodoo and northwards along the west ridge. There is little green up there, but there are plenty of cacti, Sagebrush and some Ponderosa Pine. Continuing along the ridge, there are many precarious traverses across slopes with small gravel over bedrock - It was very slippery. A large amount of time I was on all fours, just like the sheep ! I made it to the base of Mara bluff (785 m) at 11:30 and from here the descent into the canyon began. Again, there were many loose rock sections to traverse on the way down. I passed a old rusty car and the backbone of possibly one of the California Big Horn Sheep. Once in the dry creekbed, there were more trees - further down, there was some water in the creek. The views looking up from the bottom of the canyon were equally impressive as the views from the ridge. I finally made it back to the trailhead at 1:15 pm, after climbing through two train cars in a very long line of a stationary train. At the end of the hike, skies were blue and the temp was 18 Deg C.
Posted By: LEB
- Tue Aug 26 19:33:40 UTC 2014
QuestionIt is true that finding the trail from ANY description is difficult. We have tried finding this route from this description and others more than once and missed it until someone showed us the right way. I have uploaded my gps track for you to use. Aren't you lucky?
A few notes:
This track takes you to about the end of the Hoodoos. You can also continue up to a peak that overlook the valley and do a loop back to your car, but that is not on this track.
The GPS is as accurate, as, well, a gps--say +- 5 or 6 meters. Because this path is at the base of a sharp gorge, if you use Google Earth's "adjust track to ground height" when the the trackpoints are a bit off left and right, it will have you climbing sharp slopes and cliffs to the left and right. You are better off not using this feature. Just FYI my GPS has an altimiter, and the incline of this hike is 18.5%.
BTW, we take our Golden Retriever on this hike all the time and it is quite suitable for a dog if he stays on the path. If he runs all over the place, he WILL get cactus in his feet. They are painful, but not harmful. You need to pull them out with leather gloves or a small pliers. We are from the area, and my dog knows cactus and knows to stay on the path, and doesn't need a leash. Adjust accordingly.
ANSWERS are in this forum: Have uploaded GPS Track
Posted By: jenna
- Sun Oct 28 01:19:38 UTC 2007
Commentit's Ord Road, not Orb, hehe. Basically just get on Tranquille and follow it out to cinnamon ridge composting site.. and directly across from there you can pull off to park and you can easily see the hoodoos from the road. there are a few different trails... the one that leads up the creek bed is the most rewarding as far as finding interesting rock features goes!
Posted By: ksteen
- Sun Jun 24 02:45:54 UTC 2007
UpsideNot too difficult to hike, and it was beautiful, very unexpected. DownsideThe directions to get there were a little confusing. Follow Tranquille Rd, as you pass the turn off into the Airport zero your odometer but keep following along Tranquille Rd, it will turn into Orb road. Once your odometer hits 3.5 pull over to your right and park, it's right across the street from a composting site. CommentI loved climbing up the hoodoos to get a better view, be careful of loose rocks when you are climbing!
Posted By: jenna
- Mon Dec 04 19:11:58 UTC 2006
Upsidethe hike isn't very difficult and the hoodoos are so magical when you're up close. you can climb them pretty easily and hang out on top with a great view! Downsidedon't go during the hottest part of the day during a kamloops summer. you'll melt.
Posted By: stewy
- Tue Jun 07 16:26:44 UTC 2005
UpsideBeautiful Star Trekesque hoodoos, spiritual canyon! CommentRelatively easy hike...max 2-3 kms round trip, you can scramble up the chutes (be careful because if you fall, you can get hurt) 2-3 hours. Surprisingly cool in the canyon when the sun is scorching at the trailhead. May see coyotes, deer, and bird species which live here and not out in the desert areas of Kamloops.
Posted By: wanderlust
- Wed Aug 11 22:24:20 UTC 2004
UpsideCool rocks, and interesting flora for those not accostomed to desert plant life. Okay for Kamloops - I'm just partial to real mountains (sorry valley folk!) DownsideNO SHADE.. way too hot for the summer... maybe a good sunset or dawn hike. CommentNOT FOR DOGS. There are tiny cactii everywhere and our poor dogs kept stepping on them. We had to cut the walk short b/c the animals were miserable.