Kamloops is a city of 98,000 people (2021, 114,000 in the metro area) in the central interior of British Columbia. It is billed as the Tournament Capital of Canada. It has hosted Strauss Canada Cup of Curling, Skate Canada, World Fly Fishing Championships, Tim Horton's Olympic Qualifying Bike Race, and World Junior Hockey Championships.
"Kamloops" is the anglicised version of the Shuswap word "Tk'əmlúps", meaning "meeting of the waters"; it is where the North Thompson and South Thompson rivers join to form the Thompson. Shuswap is still spoken in the area by members of the Tk'emlúps Indian Band. Kamloops is also where rail and road routes across the Rockies meet; the Trans-Canada Highway and CPR rail route come from Calgary via Banff while one branch of the Yellowhead Highway and the former CNR route come from Edmonton via Jasper.
Industries in the Kamloops area include ranching, some forestry, and a copper mine (in Logan Lake). Royal Inland Hospital is the city's largest employer. Thompson Rivers University serves a student body of over 25,000 including a diverse international contingent mainly from Asian countries.
- 1 Kamloops Visitor Info Centre (Tourism Kamloops), 1290 Trans-Canada Hwy (take Exit 368, accessed from Hillside Way), ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1811 David Stuart, sent out from Fort Astoria, a Pacific Fur Company post, spent a winter there with the Secwepemc people. Alexander Ross established a post there in May 1812 - "Fort Cumcloups". See fur trade for background information.
The gold rush of the 1860s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which reached Kamloops from the West in 1883, brought further growth, resulting in the City of Kamloops being incorporated in 1893 with a population of about 500. The logging industry of the 1970s brought many Indo-Canadians into the Kamloops area, mostly from the Punjab region of India. In 1973, Kamloops annexed Barnhartvale and other nearby communities.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The January mean temperature is −2.8 °C (27 °F). That average sharply increases with an average maximum temperature of 4.3 °C (40 °F) in February. The temperatures drop below −10 °C (14 °F) about 20 days per year.
Summers are warmer than in many places at lower latitudes, with prevailing dry and sunny weather. Daytime humidity is generally under 40% in the summer, sometimes dropping below 20% after a dry spell, which allows for substantial nighttime cooling. Occasional summer thunderstorms can create dry-lightning conditions, sometimes igniting forest fires which the area is prone to.
Kamloops lies in the rain shadow leeward of the Coast Mountains and is biogeographically connected to similar semi-desert areas in the Okanagan region, and a much larger area covering the central/eastern portions of Washington, Oregon and intermontane areas of Nevada, Utah and Idaho in the US.
Get in Edit
By plane Edit
- 1 Kamloops Airport (YKA IATA), ☏ , email@example.com. Flight operate to Kamloops and from Calgary (1.25 hours), Vancouver (50 minutes), Prince George (1 hour) and Edmonton (seasonally).
- Air Canada, ☏ , toll-free: . Canada's largest airline with hubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
- Central Mountain Air, toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Operates flights mostly in British Columbia and to a lesser extent in Alberta. Edmonton, Prince George, and Vancouver effectively serve as hubs for the airline.
- Pacific Coastal Airlines, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Operates flights primarily in the south coast area of British Columbia with its hub in Vancouver.
- WestJet, toll-free: . Canada's second largest airline services with hubs in Calgary and Toronto. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
By train Edit
- See also: Rail travel in Canada
The old train station in downtown Kamloops is now a steakhouse and no longer serves passenger trains. Rocky Mountaineer luxury sightseeing trains pass through the station but do not stop.
- 2 VIA Rail Canada (Stops at Kamloops North station, 11 km north of downtown Kamloops via Hwy 5), toll-free: . Operates The Canadian up to three trips per week between Toronto and Vancouver with stops in both directions in medium to large cities and tourist destinations such as Sudbury, Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Kamloops. This route can offer a scenic view of the Canadian Rockies, depending on the train schedule, as the train operates day and night. Travel time to Kamloops from Toronto is 3.5 days, from Sudbury is 3.25 days, from Winnipeg is 2 days, from Saskatoon is 1 day 8.75 hours, from Edmonton is 19.5 hours, from Jasper is 10 hours, and from Vancouver is 9.25 hours. This service connects with another route that travels between Jasper and Prince Rupert. This rail operator also offers services that enable travelers to reach Canada's east coast.
- 3 Rocky Mountaineer (Stops at their own rail yard north of the VIA Rail station), toll-free: . Luxury sightseeing trains run by private company Rocky Mountaineer make overnight stops in Kamloops when travelling between Vancouver and Banff, or Vancouver and Jasper. Passengers travelling on these trains are transferred to hotels to spend the night, and asked to make their own dinner arrangements in town.
By car Edit
British Columbia roads have been vulnerable to natural disasters such as major flooding in November 2021 and wildfires in August 2023. You can check with DriveBC for up-to-date road conditions and road restrictions after clicking the Major Events tab.
Both major highways in western Canada pass through Kamloops. Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) comes from Vancouver, passes through the Fraser Valley to Hope, then up the Fraser Canyon to Lytton, and through Cache Creek to Kamloops. East of Kamloops it goes through Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, the Rogers Pass and Golden in BC, then on to Banff and Calgary in Alberta.
Highway 5 (South Yellowhead Highway) leads to Kamloops from Jasper and Edmonton. This road is a branch; the main Yellowhead Highway (#16) runs east-west from Prince Rupert through Edmonton to Portage la Prairie. Highway 5 is not part of the signed Trans-Canada Highway system.
Highway 5 (Coquihalla Highway portion of Yellowhead Highway) provides a much quicker route from Vancouver to Kamloops (4 hr by car). This freeway takes you through Hope and Merritt; it is considerably less scenic than the Trans-Canada route. The downside of the high-altitude road is that it can become dangerous in the winter as sudden weather changes may make the road icy, snow covered or impassible. Check the road conditions before you set out.
By bus Edit
- Ebus, toll-free: . Operates several bus routes:.
- Daily between Kamloops and Vancouver with stops in Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey. Travel time to Kamloops from Vancouver is 4.5-4.75 hours, from Abbotsford is 3.25 hours, and from Hope is 2 hours.
- Daily between Kamloops and Kelowna with stops in Chase, Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Enderby, Armstrong, and Vernon. Travel time to Kamloops from Kelowna is 2.25-3.25 hours (some trips do not make all stops), from Vernon is 1.5-2.25 hours (some trips do not make all stops), and from Salmon Arm is 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Between Kamloops and Prince George with stops in Savona, Cache Creek, Clinton, 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Hixon. Travel time to Kamloops from Cache Creek is 50 minutes, from 100 Mile House is 2.25 hours, from Williams Lake is 3.25 hours, from Quesnel is 5 hours, and from Prince George is 6.5 hours.
- Rider Express, toll-free: . Multiple days per week service along the Trans-Canada Highway from between Calgary and Vancouver with stops in Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Sorrento, Chase, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey. Travel times to Kamloops from from Calgary is 8.5 hours, Banff is 7 hours, from Lake Louise is 6.25 hours, from Golden is 4.5 hours, from Revelstoke is 3 hours, from Salmon Arm is 1.5 hours, from Hope is 2.25 hours, from Abbotsford is 3.75 hours, and from Vancouver is 4.75 hours. From Calgary, this service provider offers routes that enable passengers to reach Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon.
- Thompson Valley Charters, ☏ . In partnership with Ebus, operates twice per week service between Kamloops and Edmonton with stops in Barriere, Little Fort, Clearwater, Avola, Blue River, Valemount, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Jasper, Hinton, and Edson. Travel time to Kamloops from Clearwater is 1.75 hours, from Valemount is 3.75 hours, from Jasper is 5 hours, from Edson is 7 hours, and from Edmonton is 9.5 hours.
Inter-city buses stop at the Petro Canada truck stop:
- 4 Kamloops Travel Centre (5 km from downtown on Trans-Canada Highway), ☏ .
Get around Edit
By public transit Edit
- BC Transit (Kamloops Transit System), ☏ . Getting around to almost anywhere in town is possible on the adequate, if not stellar, bus routes. The cash fare is $2, or $4 for a day pass (2020). Drivers do not carry change.
- BC Transit (Clearwater Regional Transit System), ☏ . Operates a bus route two days per week between Kamloops and Clearwater (2 to 2.25 hours).
By taxi Edit
- Yellow Cabs Kamloops, ☏ .
By ride hailing Edit
- 1 BC Wildlife Park, 9077 Dallas Dr, ☏ . Mar-Oct: daily 9:30AM-4PM (open until 5PM during summer), Nov-Feb: weekends & holidays 9:30AM-4PM. Local zoo with many animals from around BC, such as bears (black & grizzly), wolves, cougars, bighorn sheep, and rattlesnakes. There's also a miniature train ride ($1 per person), birds of prey demonstration and playground with splash park for the kids. $11-15 (child-adult). Rates $3 cheaper in winter.
- 2 Thompson Rivers University, McGill Rd & University Dr (main entrance "Westgate" is at Hillside & McGill (Hillside becomes University Dr W), "Eastgate" is McGill & University Dr E). Summer campus tours daily, and Wednesday night 'Friends of the Gardens' tours of the largest botanical collection in the interior of BC.
- 3 Kamloops Blazers, 300 Lorne Street, ☏ . Competitive Western Hockey League team. The Blazers play at the Sandman Centre.
- 4 Kamloops Art Gallery, 5th Avenue and Victoria Street, ☏ . M-W F Sa 10AM-5PM, The 10AM-9PM. Wheelchair accessible. Adults $5, seniors (62+) $3, children and students free, admission free on Th.
- 5 Kamloops Museum and Archives, 207 Seymour Street, ☏ .
- 6 Kamloops Symphony, 330 St. Paul St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 7 Western Canada Theatre, 1025 Lorne St, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Kamloops is also well-known for its public art including numerous pole carvings and murals.
- 1 Kamloops Heritage Railway, 40 Mt Paul Way, ☏ , email@example.com. July: Th F Sa 7:30PM; Aug: Th F Sa 7PM. A one of a kind steam locomotive pulls you on a one-hour excursion from the historic former CNR station. On the 8-km round trip, you may encounter a visit from feisty Saloon Girls, seasoned First Nation Storytellers and possibly Billie Miner, the infamous train robber, and her Bad Land Bandittas. Fares include train ride, entertainment, drink, and snack. Spirit Of Kamloops Railtour: adults $25, seniors $22, children $15, family $70.
- 2 Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, Lac du Bois Rd or Tranquille Rd (For Lac du Bois and the middle of the park, head north on 8th St (from Fortune Dr in town, or from Halston Ave if you're on Hwy 5) and it becomes Bachelor Hills Rd and then Lac du Bois Rd; for the southern areas (which have most of the hiking), head west on Tranquille Dr and then Red Lake Rd (sometimes called the Tranquille-Criss Creek FSR)). A park northwest of town that protects a large area of the region's natural grassland. There are a handful of trails for hiking and mountain biking inside the park and an area for ATVs at the southern boundary (ATVs are not allowed inside the park). The scenery and flora are spectacular — many small lakes, wildflowers in early summer, red lava cliffs, bighorn sheep, deer and moose — but be watchful of your step while hiking, this is rattlesnake country. The roads in the park are gravel (some 4x4 only) and can be used by logging trucks so be aware of road conditions and on-coming traffic. No user fees.
- 3 MacArthur Island Park, Island Parkway (accessed from the southern end of 12th St or the western end of MacKenzie Ave). Large park with many sports facilities (sports fields, curling and skating rinks), skatepark and short 9-hole golf course. There's a paved trail around the perimeter of the island that provides views of the river and city.
- 4 Riverside Park, 100 Lorne St (between Lansdowne St and the river, next to the Interior Savings Centre). Where the North and South Thompson rivers meet. Stroll along the beach, swim or bring the kids to the playground and water park. There is a water park for children and an enclosed swimming area on the river. The Thompson is, however, swift and cold and the swimming area is not always patrolled.
- 5 Kenna Cartwright Nature Park (access trails near Aberdeen Mall or Walmart). Hiking and mountain biking trails up Mount Dufferin with great views of the city.
- 6 Peterson Creek Nature Park (access trails from downtown near 6th Ave). Hiking trails under the Trans-Canada Highway and up to Bridal Veil Falls.
- Climb -- While not as popular among the rock climbing crowd as Squamish or Penticton, there are several areas that offer climbing in the Kamloops area. Climbing information can be found in a free online guide available at CLIMBKamloops.ca.
- Ski -- Sun Peaks is a 45-minute drive north of Kamloops along Highway 5.
- Golf (approximately 11 18-hole courses, with "Tobiano" being the latest opened June 2007)
- Mountain bike -- With the hilly and mountainous terrain that varies from wide open to thickly wooded, Kamloops is one of the more popular locations for mountain bike riding in western Canada.
- Go fishing
- Kamloops Brewery Tours.
- 1 Aberdeen Mall, 1320 West Trans Canada Hwy, ☏ . A large two-floor upscale mall. It has quite a few attractions, mainly clothes stores. Navigation is also somewhat easier than other malls.
- 2 Treasures, 12-700 Tranquille Rd (Inside the Northills Shopping Centre), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 10am-5pm. Treasures sells native designed items such as wraps, gloves, boots, blankets and wallets. For jewellery they sell abalone/glacier pearl, B.C. jade, hematite/Alaska black diamond, gold plated stainless steel, etc. If you want knives, lamps, or other interesting items they have that too.
- 1 Frick and Frack Tap House, 577 Victoria St (across from the casino), ☏ . Tu-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight, Su-M 11:30AM-10PM. Lively atmosphere with a large menu, including a kids menu. There are a variety of beers on tap (mostly Canadian beers, with a couple of imports). Starters $10-20, mains $15-30.
- 2 Harold's Family Restaurant, 1771 Trans-Canada Hwy, ☏ . M-Sa 6AM-9PM Su 7AM-9PM. A local favourite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This place doesn't look like much but has a great feel, awesome service, and tasty home cooked meals. $7-16 (breakfast), $10-20 (lunch & dinner).
- 3 Jamaican Kitchen, 451 Tranquille Rd. Good Jamaican food on the north shore. Several vegan options.
- 4 Peter's Pasta, 149 Victoria St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 5PM-9PM. All pastas and sauces are handmade on-site. Peter is often present and is always happy to answer any questions or even just make pleasant conversation. Very popular with the locals — arrive early as they do not take reservations.
There are a range of lower end and mid-range chain motels in Kamloops, particularly on Columbia St West (exit 369 if heading east on Hwy 1, Summit Dr exit 370 if heading west).
- 1 Delta Hotels Kamloops, 540 Victoria St, ☏ , toll-free: . In the heart of the city. On-site restaurant and lounge, outdoor rooftop pool, hot tub, modern fitness centre. From $160.
- 2 Scott's Inn and Restaurant, 551 11th Ave, ☏ . In a quiet residential area. On-site family restaurant, pet-friendly rooms, free parking, airport shuttles, high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi access, indoor pool, hot tub, laundry machines. From $124.
- 3 Knights Inn Kamloops, 625 West Columbia St, ☏ , toll-free: . Fairly basic clean rooms although a bit dated. Most rooms have a small fridge and microwave. $70 and up.
- 4 Thompson Rivers University Residence & Conference Centre, University Dr (enter campus at Westgate (McGill & Hillside), at the traffic circle take the third exit (North Gate) and the residences will be on your right), ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM-midnight, check-out: 11AM. Offers accommodations for groups and individuals on the TRU campus from May through Aug. Two and four bedroom options. Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and fitness center. The rooms have kitchenettes, full kitchens are also available on the 2nd, 5th and 10th floors. Excellent transit connections to all areas of the city direct from campus. $99 for double occupancy, $10 per additional person.
Go next Edit
- Vancouver is approximately 355 km (220 miles) to the south west via Hwy 5. There are trains, flights from the Kamloops airports, as well as two major highways connecting the two cities.
- Sun Peaks - an alpine ski resort 50 km north of Kamloops.
- Cariboo-Central Coast, BC's cowboy country and dude ranch region is a one-hour drive west of Kamloops
|Routes through Kamloops|
|Vancouver ← Ashcroft ←||W E||→ Clearwater → Edmonton|
|Hope ← Cache Creek ←||W E||→ Chase → Banff|
|Jasper via ← Clearwater ←||N S||→ Merritt → Hope|
|Prince George ← Cache Creek ←||N S||→ Vernon → Kelowna|
|END ←||N S||→ Merritt → Princeton|