The Top 5 Winter Activities in BC’s Interior - Land of Hidden Waters

The Top 5 Winter Activities in BC’s Interior

Winter travel requires taking the utmost safety measures and preparation before heading out. Always have winter tires, an emergency kit, check road conditions at DriveBC, and follow the Leave No Trace principles and 10 Essentials, all found on our Responsible Travel page. Most of the activities mentioned within this article are best experienced from December-March but be sure to confirm weather conditions and ice thickness before participating.

While in some places winter is synonymous with cold days spent inside, in BC’s Land of Hidden Waters, we welcome this season with open (and bundled up!) arms. Out here, winter means escaping the crowds and prices of popular ski resorts and instead finding effortless winter activities amongst breathtaking snow-globe-like scenery. 

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly day trips, an activity-filled romantic getaway, or a solo adventure session, this region is full of outdoor winter activities — beyond the typical skiing and snowboarding! From ice-fishing and skating to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, affordable outdoor winter adventures are ready and waiting for you in BC’s Land of Hidden Waters.

Candle Creek Trails │ Holly Louwerse Photography

1. Ice Fishing

This region is one of the best ice-fishing destinations in the world and there are hundreds of lakes to choose from right in our own backyard. There’s nothing like spending a bluebird day out on a frozen lake with tasty snacks and warm drinks — even if you don’t catch anything! And while ice-fishing may seem like an activity best suited for the angler pros, the majority of ice-fishers out here are just people looking to get out of the house and spend quality time with friends and family! Not only that, but they’re friendly and love to share their tips and tricks with newcomers. If it’s your first time, we highly recommend booking a guided trip with Campbell from Elevated Fishing Adventures, otherwise, you can rent or purchase the gear at some of the resorts mentioned at the bottom of this article. To learn more about the equipment you’ll need, plus safety tips including how to check for ice thickness, check out this Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC article.

Elevated Fishing Adventures │ Dylan Sherrard/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Ice-Fishing in Kamloops:

Elevated Fishing Adventures │ Candance Hansma/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Ice-Fishing in Wells Gray Provincial Park/Clearwater:

Where to go Ice-Fishing in the South Cariboo & Fishing Highway 24:

2. Ice Skating

If the idea of heading out on a frozen lake excites you but fishing just isn’t your jam, why not try skating instead? Requiring far less equipment (and patience!) than ice-fishing, skating is the perfect option for those looking for a romantic date idea or a family day out. If you don’t have your own skates, you can purchase them new or second-hand at many sports stores in and around Kamloops.

Inks Lake │ Peter Olsen/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Ice-Skating on a frozen lake in Kamloops:

3. Cross-Country Skiing

Thanks to this region’s vast amount of wide-open space, we have tons of cross-country ski trails, all extremely well maintained by local ski groups. If you’ve never tried cross country skiing, otherwise known as nordic skiing, it’s a very accessible sport loved for both its mental and physical health benefits. Imagine gliding through the snow with no sounds around you but the faint crunch of your skis, a bird whistling above, and the faint laughter of someone just learning the sport. Cross country skiing allows you to find peace, serenity, new wilderness areas, and of course a good leg burn! If you need, you can rent gear at Kamloops’ Overlander Ski Club, Harper Mountain, or 100 Mile Nordics. Please note that some of the trails require a membership, day pass or donation to use. Additionally, please check the trail websites prior to visiting for skill level requirements.

Stake Lake Ski Trail │ Tamra Jaeger/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Cross-Country Skiing in Kamloops:

  • Overlander Ski Club at Stake Lake (60 km (37 mi) of expertly groomed cross-country ski trails and 5 km (3 mi) of dedicated dog-friendly trails)
  • Harper Mountain (3 km (2 mi) marked, groomed and trackset forest loop)
Stake Lake Ski Trail │ Tamra Jaeger/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Cross-Country Skiing in Wells Gray Provincial Park/Clearwater:

Candle Creek Trails │ Holly Louwerse Photography

Where to go Cross-Country Skiing in the South Cariboo:

Where to go Cross-Country Skiing in the North Thompson Valley:

4. Snowshoeing

Another super accessible winter activity that we can’t get enough of this season is snowshoeing. Allowing you to hike in the winter, snowshoeing is an awesome activity for young families as well as those looking to see their usual summer hiking spots from a new perspective. Being the undemanding sport that it is, many of the cross country ski clubs and trail systems mentioned above also cater to snowshoers so make sure to check those out. While snowshoes are often fairly affordable to buy, there are tons of places to rent them including at Kamloops’ Runners Sole, True Outdoors, the Overlander Ski Club, Harper Mountain and at Clearwater Lake Tours.

Where to go Snowshoeing in Kamloops:

Bush Lake │ Hike Kamloops/Tourism Kamloops

Where to go Snowshoeing in Wells Gray Provincial Park/Clearwater:

(For the more experienced winter hiker, Wells Gray is home to a vast array of backcountry trails giving you access to some of the most incredible powder in North America. See BC Parks for more information.)

Where to go Snowshoeing in the North Thompson Valley:

Barriere Forks Trails │ Jonny Bierman

5. Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

We couldn’t conclude this winter activities article without the mention of skiing and snowboarding of course! BC’s Land of Hidden Waters is blessed with multiple family-friendly ski hills that boast shorter (or non-existent!) lift lines and cheaper prices than many of BC’s famed ski resort destinations. Don’t be fooled though, these hidden gem ski hills still have epic runs and fluffy powder perfect for downhillers of all levels! With rustic and cozy lodges, rental options, laughter-inducing tubing facilities, and crowd favourite “T” bars, these nostalgic and charming hills will remind you of what family skiing is all about! 

Where to go Skiing & Snowboarding in Kamloops:

  • Harper Mountain (terrain park and night skiing also available) 
  • Where to go Skiing & Snowboarding in Wells Gray Provincial Park/Clearwater:

    Clearwater Ski Hill │ Holly Louwerse Photography

    Where to Stay

    Although these activities can all be incredibly easy day trips for locals, nothing beats booking a cozy accommodation and having the option to try out everything right from your doorstep! Many of the accommodations out here are lakefront with their own pond hockey rinks and ice fishing spots meaning you won’t even have to leave the property! Others have cross-country ski trails directly on site and some are tucked away in the snowy wilderness far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Check them out for yourself and be sure to reach out for winter specials!

    Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

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