Situated at the junction of the North and South Thompson Rivers in the Thompson Valley, Kamloops is the second largest city in the British Columbia Interior with a growing population of 90,000 people. We did not spend much time here, just took an overnight stay to break our 13 hour road trip to Whistler into 2 parts. However, if you’re spending time here you can check out their tourism page for more.
It was a rainy day when we got here, it was not too cold, however the clouds dropped to almost an average building height (a regular occurrence in this part of the world if you’ve read my previous posts). If one happens to drive on a hill or a mountain during this weather, you’d see the clouds beside you, or probably drive above them, a similar experience to that of an airplane.
The surrounding landscapes are similar as our previous destinations, lush mountains and snowy tress all around, however they looked completely different thanks to the weather, almost liking getting a makeover. It’s not the same, but actually just the same.
Kamloops is comparatively a much bigger town compared to our previous destinations, or probably can be called a small city. It has a river going through it, which allows it to have a beautiful waterfront and a small artificial pebble beach. Right opposite the waterfront is a beautiful park. There’s some really nice boutiques to shop from in the downtown area, and a really cool bar right opposite the waterfront where I got to watch some NBA action while chugging a lot of beer.
After Kamloops, we were off to Whistler. Honestly, Whistler was the most beautiful place for me and I could have done with staying here for an extra night or even two.
Whistler is a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Whistler Mountain (2,182 meters) and Blackcomb Mountain (2,284 meters), the two peaks that rise above Whistler Village, boast some of the best skiing in North America.
Fun Fact : The Whistler Blackcomb resort’s combined skiable terrain tops 3,307 hectares with more than 200 runs accessed by 37 lifts.
Indeed, there is too much to cover in one day, which is why many visitors plan to spend a week or so on the slopes. Thanks to summer skiing opportunities on Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier, the Whistler Blackcomb resort also offers the longest ski season of any resort in Canada.
Some hotels provide ski-in access to the two mountains, and multiple restaurants and village eateries are located within ski-boot walking distance of the gondola base (with ski racks set up outside the door and warming fireplaces inside). Snowmobile trips and heli-skiing are also popular winter pastimes at the Whistler Blackcomb resort, and for those traveling with kids, the Coca-Cola Tube Park offers no end of downhill fun.
Besides glacier skiing, in summer, the mountains are busy with hikers, as well as mountain bikers who take to the challenging trails of Whistler Mountain Bike Park. When riding the chairlifts, keep an eye out for bears ambling along the mountain trails in search of berries.
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola : Stunning 360-degree views of Whistler Village, mountain peaks, lakes, glaciers and forests. Ride the special glass-bottom gondola for a bird’s-eye view of the forest
- Shopping : Whistler is a shopper’s paradise, especially for any kind of winter sport equipment or apparel. Spend days browsing the neighbourhoods for fine artwork and fashion, jewellery, the latest outdoor sportswear and equipment, and luxury items – or simply drop in for essential groceries and gifts.
- Ziplining : Fly through the forest on an exhilarating high wire adventure – no experience required. Glide over spectacular creeks and through majestic old-growth trees on a guided tour. Learn about Whistler’s ecology and wildlife. Feel free as a bird with high quality safety systems and expert supervision.
- Skiing and snowboarding : Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are a skierֹs dream destination, the ultimate in big mountain experiences. Over 8,100 acres of snow-covered slopes, 16 alpine bowls, 3 glaciers, world-class terrain parks and 200+ marked trails. Enjoy easy access to the base Village with accommodation, shops and an unbeatable après-ski scene located slopeside.
- Whistler Mountain Bike Park : The ultimate gravity-fed downhill biking experience, drawing mountain bikers from across the world. All levels and abilities catered to with four mountain zones, green trails, technical double blacks, jump trails and more.
Whistler Town is divided into two parts :
1. The Upper Village or Upper Whistler :
Whistler has a local population of approximately 10000 people. If you want to live in a proper hotel, head to The Upper Whistler, you’d find The Fairmont, The Four Seasons, etc.
2. The Lower Village or Lower Whistler :
The Lower Whistler is where lies The Whistler Village. A lot of lodges, and some really luxurious ones are to be found in this area. All the sightseeing, shopping and the activities are located in the Whistler Village. It also includes a lot of really good cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. It basically is the place to be for tourists. There’s Gondola rides to the mountains, ziptreks, bike rides, quad bikes, skiing, snowboarding, cycling on the mountains and terrains, etc.
Peak 2 Peak Gondola
The best and a must do activity here is the Gondola ride which further connects to the Peak2Peak Gondola. How it works is you take a gondola ride from ground level to the peak and then you walk to a separate station and take a second Gondola from that peak.
Fun Fact : The Peak2Peak Gondola is 4.4 kms in length, supported by just 4 pillars that are to the very ends. There are no columns or pillars in between whatsoever. The views are absolutely incredible and if you have time, wait for a car that has a transparent glass floor. Those circulate every 30 minutes.
At the peak, loop-hiking trails introduce the alpine terrain. There is also a tea hut for warm ups, as the temperatures can be cooler at higher elevations. In winter, skiers and snowboarders make use of the Peak 2 Peak gondola to hop between runs on Blackcomb and Whistler.
Mountain Biking & Other Sports in Whistler
Mountain biking is certainly the most popular summer sport in Whistler Village, and visitors will see legions of armor-clad bikers heading up the slopes by chairlift to Whistler Mountain Bike Park. But the region offers many other adrenaline-fuelled activities, too. Ziplining is one of the most thrilling, and zipliners do reach highway speeds while flying across forested valleys.
Another high-speed option is at the Whistler Sliding Centre bobsleigh and skeleton track. Built for the Olympics, the center is also open for self-guided tours. More local thrills are available in the form of bungee jumping above the Cheakamus River, ripping along logging trails on off-road vehicles, and rafting the high waters of the spring freshet.
Hiking & Climbing
British Columbia is renowned for its many hiking trails, and Whistler is no different. Trails range from easy nature walks around Lost Lake to elevation-intense mountain climbs. A well-traveled network of hikes radiates from the lookouts atop Whistler Mountain. Gondolas take hikers above the tree line, where the trails are especially lovely during alpine wildflower season.
Read More : Top-Rated Hikes in Whistler
After our time in Whistler, we set out for the beautiful city of Vancouver, where after a brief stay, The Alaskan Cruises awaited us! Stay tuned, to read about our experience in Vancouver.