Located in British Columbia, Canada, the Shuswap Highland is a 5,603 sq. mile plateau-like area that contains mostly low-elevation hills and peaks. In fact, the most prominent peak in the Shuswap Highland is Mara Mountain, that sits at just 7,382 feet in elevation and the tallest mountain, Dunn Peak, reaches 8,638 feet.
Interestingly, the Shuswap Highland is not a unified range, but a combination of small uplands that are broken up by the valleys of Clearwater, North Thompson, and Adams Rivers. In fact, the Shuswap Highland is often referred to as a foothill area that lies between the incredible summits of the Monashee Mountains and the Cariboo Mountains, as well as the interior plateau region.
Nevertheless, the Shuswap region remains a popular summer destination for hiking, swimming, boating, and other outdoor activities. The Shuswap Lake system, which sits in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, contains over 3,000 feet of shoreline and spectacular scenery to explore. This is arguably the most popular destination for visitors to the Shuswap Highland. This H-shaped lake system also boasts the largest houseboat fleet in Canada, making it the perfect destination for visitors looking to hang out on the water.
It’s not uncommon to hear locals refer to the Shuswap Highland as ‘the Lake Country,’ because the area is home to thousands of lakes and is renowned for its incredible beaches like Narrows Village Beach and Sicamous Sands Public Beach Park. Although there are just 90 named mountains in the Shuswap Highland, noteworthy summits like Dunn Peak, Mara Mountain, and Pukeashun Mountain serve as both idyllic and scenic landmarks of the region.
Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, which is unofficially known as the cycling capital of the BC Parks system, is a very popular destination for camping, hiking, boating, paddling, swimming, sailing, and (of course) biking. There are more than 1,000 km of shoreline, several secluded beaches, and miles of protected waterways to explore in this region. Copper Island, which is located 2 km offshore from the park, features a 2.8-km hiking trail that leads to an amazing lookout point. The park is also open during the world-famous Adams River salmon run.
Silver Star Provincial Park is a 13,771-acre park that sits just 14 miles northeast of Vernon, B.C. Silver Star Mountain, a recognizable feature of Okanagan, is the star of the park and a combination of slope and snow conditions make this an excellent destination for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. In fact, there are more than 30 miles of snowmobile trails and ski trails to explore. During warmer months, the park offers a range of hiking trails and easy access to remarkable subalpine meadows and lakes.
Home to the highest peak in the Shuswap Highland, Dunn Peak Provincial Park is packed full of backcountry recreation potential and incredible Mountain scenery. The park is an important wildlife habitat, so it’s not uncommon to find yourself on large stretches of roadless terrain and undisturbed old-growth forest. There are also a variety of pristine lakes, tarns, and even swamps. Dunn Peak Provincial Park is a lot more primitive than other parks on this list, so you can expect wet, muddy, and somewhat challenging trail conditions and terrain.
St. Ives Resort is a Silver Crown Resort and a renowned four-season destination on the sunny shores of Shuswap Lake. St. Ives is not only a popular destination for water sports but is also within close proximity to Shuswap Provincial Park and the ‘Narrows,’ where four arms of Shuswap Lake converge. During winter months, the resort offers snowmobilers easy access to Crowfoot Mountain, a premium destination for winter recreation.
SilverStar Mountain Resort features 9 hotels and lodges, as well as a variety of amenities, restaurants, and shops. From June to September, an impressive network of trails and Canada’s second largest bike park attracts downhill bikers of varying abilities and a high-speed bike chairlift provides easy access to technical, well-maintained terrain. There are 10 miles of trails, each offering panoramic views of Silver Star Mountain and the surrounding region.
Just 20 minutes from Vernon, Sparkling Hills Resort is the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Inspired by holistic wellness and the natural landscape, Sparkling Hills is known for its premium amenities which include a health spa and on-site dining. The resort also features approximately 16 miles that begin right on the property, so visitors can meander through the woods or explore nearby lakes and valleys.
Vernon is often referred to as sunny North Okanagan due to its incredible outdoor recreation opportunities and diverse community. The city sits within the Okanagan Valley and is surrounded by three lakes – Okanagan, Kalamalka, and Swan. Not only is this region popular amongst locals and outdoor enthusiasts, it’s only a few hours from both Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean, and the U.S. border. Vernon is the perfect mix of urban amenities, world class resorts, and stellar recreation potential.