Shuswap River — A ribbon of water

Top 10 Water-Fuelled Adventures

  1. Paddle the river astride a SUP board, paddling from bank to bank
  2. Kayak the quick running water below BC’s interior Skookumchuck Rapids
  3. Feel the tug of a salmon, whitefish or rainbow trout sampling the end of your fishing line
  4. Floating on the river is a favorite past times for locals and visitors alike
  5. Listen to nothing but the sound of water dripping off your paddle and the call of songbirds, canoeing the lower end of the river
  6. Swing your partner round and round to the sounds of Music by the River
  7. Celebrate the Shuswap at the annual BC Rivers Day festival in September
  8. Explore the shore, stroll the Heritage River Walk from Belvidere to Riverside Parks
  9. Take a family time-out for sandcastle building
  10. Feel the squish of sand squeeze through your toes, swimming up to a sandbar

A ribbon of water curling its way across the valley between Mabel and Mara Lakes,  its waters run in the shadow of Hunters Range and Enderby Cliffs, past forested canyons, fields of green and gold, and the occasional wandering herd of cattle. It’s our gathering place, our playground and the heart of our community, where we make memories and new friends, floating, swimming, tubing, and paddling our days away.

Past Passageways

The Shuswap River has always been a liquid highway of sorts…first for the Splatsin First Nation who plied its waters to trade their goods downstream and later, for the loggers who boomed their timber to mills along its shores. Travellers of another era floated the Shuswap aboard paddle wheelers, drinking in the sights along the way. The river’s not much different today. Folks are still floating by, only now on stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and inflatable rafts!

Floating the Shuswap

Tubing the Shuswap is a summer tradition here in the Okanagan. Blazing hot days spent dawdling in cool, running waters have a way of bringing out the kid in everyone. Splash about, go for a swim…escape your everyday world, after all…it’s hard to hold on to your worries bobbing along in the current, soaking up the sun.

Choose Your Route

There are several distinct tubing routes along the river, depending on how much time you want to spend drenched in the river, soaking up the sun. While some may be less than 3-kilometers long, the time it takes to splash your way from put-in to pull-out will vary throughout the season.

Floating 

Belvidere Park to Tuey Park – The most common and most recommended route. The 2.5 kilometer float is perfect for an afternoon of fun. In low water there are very few obstacles and many shallow areas.

Eby’s Hand Launch to Belvidere Park – This route has a few logs and sweepers to steer clear from, the 11 kilometer float has a mix of faster water along with some calm currents.

Paddling 

 Dale’s Hand Launch to Trinity Bridge – Enjoy the serenity of this 11 kilometer paddle and take in the wildlife along the shores. Watch for fast moving and shallow waters.

Trinity Bridge to Belvidere Park – This trip has a little of everything through out the 13 kilometer trip, the option of some fast currents, some logs, and sweepers but mostly calm waters.

Additional water access points include: Brandt’s Hand Launch, Cooke Creek Recreation Site, Riverside Park boat launch, Grindrod Park, and Mara Bridge. Please ensure you respect private property and use the signed designated water accesses.  

Because the river’s depth and speed changes throughout the year you should check in with the River Ambassadors or Visitor Center when you get here — or Visit the Shuswap River Ambassador Facebook Page for up to date River Conditions and safety requirements. 

Water-Fueled Fun

White water raft through the Shookumchuck Rapids with a trained guide. Most river activities take place on the mid-section of the Lower Shuswap, but, for something a little more rowdy, try a tour through the Skookumchuck Rapids. You’ll hear its roar before you see the churning water or feel the spray on your face…but one look at its swirling waters will tell you, you’re in for a good time!

Spring is the best time to suit up and challenge the rapids for an adrenaline soaked, water-fueled ride from the upper reaches of the Lower Shuswap. No ordinary ride on the river, at high water the rapids reach Class IV and Class II in low water. The rapids are never recommended to novice kayakers or inflatable devices.

Guided Tours and Lessons

If you’re looking for expert guidance to master the river, check out the local outfitters who’ll gear you up, providing a lesson in oarsmanship and paddling as a team before setting out to conquer the river! And if you bring the whole family along, they’ll steer you through a gentler float further down the river with just enough fast running water to make it fun without sending anyone in for a swim!

A Gathering Place — Shuswap River Banks

The river is the heart of our community; it’s where we play and where we gather. You’ll find our Visitor Centre right on the banks of the river — make it your first stop when you come to town for expert guidance on all the things to see and do in town.

Riverside Events

Gather with us on selected Sundays throughout the summer for concerts along the Shuswap’s banks. Bring your lawn chairs and a full picnic basket…dance a Newfie Jig or sway to cool jazz notes ringing in the air.