Sun Peaks, BC: Those in the know, know that this is a must go!


Words and photography by Jim Bamboulis

I met the good people from Sun Peaks Tourism pretty serendipitously in the Spring of 2019. It was over dinner, on the final night of a travel conference. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Sun Peaks before that dinner but after our conversation, I was intrigued, eager to research more about it and over time, actually couldn’t wait to visit.

As it were, my collaboration with Chevrolet Canada was coming together and a trip to BC was being planned. Our itinerary would see us criss-cross the entire southern portion of the province over 12 days, with Sun Peaks square in the middle. Before long, we discovered for ourselves that this not-so-hidden-gem (anymore) is not only Canada’s second-largest ski area but it’s also home to alpine hiking and biking in the summer.

That said, here are five experiences in and around Sun Peaks that re-confirmed that sometimes serendipitous conversations turn out super amazing!

First thing’s first – Settle in!

There are several exceptional places to stay in Sun Peaks that give you a front-row seat to all there is to see and do. That includes the Sun Peaks Grand, a luxury hotel complete with a health club, three outdoor hot tubs, and a heated outdoor swimming pool, among other beauties.

Mantles Restaurant & Lounge located inside the Grand serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Pacific Northwest flavour. Dine in, take your drink to the patio and enjoy it with mountain views and/or get comfortable with fluffy down duvets and thick Terry robes in your room. Whatever your pleasure, getting zen is step one and all part of the process of fully enjoying Sun Peaks!

Explore the Village

Charming, cute and quaint, Sun Peaks village has a distinct Euro feel with a calmness, realness and a down-right authenticity to it. Friendly people with local shops, you can easily spend the day window shopping and people watching.

Despite is cozy size, Sun Peaks is home to nearly two-dozen cafes and restaurants, including Bolacco Cafe, an institution in these parts. Owned and operated the wife-husband team of Elzbieta and Konrad Glowczynski, this Rockies-rustic spot is not only a great place for a coffee, pastry and, conversation but its walls are adorned with memories that have helped embed the couple into local folklore.

Head to the Top of the World

Mountain bike, canoe, kayak, SUP, and/or golf. Sun Peaks offers all that and more. Here’s the more. Hiking they say is the great equalizer and if you’re willing and/or able to put in the work, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views and gorgeous blossoms. Yes, hiking at Sun Peaks will take you all day and will make you sweat. And although you may have second thoughts, in the end, it’s all worth it!

Sun_Peaks
Photo by Jim Bamboulis © 2019

From the village, take the Sunburst chairlift and start your hiking adventure from 6,000 feet above the Shuswap Highlands below. There are 18 hiking trails here that make up 40km of maintained hiking and alpine sightseeing. They range from relaxing strolls to exhilarating summits. During parts of the summer, enjoy the hike with blooms of Indian Paintbrush, Tiger Lilies, and Fireweed. Take the #5 Top of the World Trail and when you get to the top, go the extra half kilometre, do the #6 Juniper Ridge Loop Trail and stand on the edge, between both the Caribou and Monashee Mountains!

Sun_Peaks
Photo by Jim Bamboulis © 2019

Go Mountain Cross Carting

Sun Peaks is home to North America’s first (and only!) Mountain Cross Cart course. A main attraction, its 512 meter long course and 52 meter vertical descent allows you to reach speeds up to 35km/hr. If you’re a fan of tackling hairpin turns, at a high speed, while going down a mountain, then this is your jam.

 

Everyone gets four trips up and down and each run is timed, allowing you to both race the clock and your friends for best time. However, if you’re me, you’re super cautious the first time around. Somehow, you’re cautious the 2nd and 3rd time down, too. So cautious in fact that you supposedly break the record for slowest finishing time since inception. It took me over 3 minutes to come down – making me a running joke among other guests, staff and of course, my lovely lady who kicked my butt the first 3 runs.

No matter, this is a super exciting thrill that anyone 14+ and over 5 feet tall can enjoy. And despite high speeds and a winding, gravity-fed course, the carts themselves offer precise control and a high level of safety thanks to powerful disc brakes, four-point seat belts, roll bars, and padded seats.

 

Canada’s Waterfall Park – Wells Gray Provincial Park

Drive 1.5 hours north along BC’s Yellowhead Highway and enjoy a day trip like no other. Wells Gray Provincial Park is a massive park that has something for everyone but most notably, it’s known for its waterfalls. Nicknamed “Canada’s Waterfalls Park”, it’s home to at least 39 waterfalls within its boundaries, including Helmcken Falls, Canada’s 4th largest!

View this post on Instagram

If you’re taken by the sense of freedom and exploration and after extraordinary experiences, then the Helmcken Waterfall at 141 meters is just the place for you. Located in Canada, the waterfall is one of the hardest ones to climb in winter. Start preparing for this adrenaline-filled adventure! Photo: @avisionphotography #helmcken #canada #skylifemagazine – Özgürlük ve keşif hissi ağır basıyorsa, sıra dışı deneyimlerin peşindeyseniz, 141 metre yükseklikteki Helmcken Şelalesi tam aradığınız yer. Kanada'daki şelale, buzlanma yüzünden kış mevsiminde tırmanılması en zor şelalelerden biri. Adrenalini yüksek bu macera için hazırlıklara şimdiden başlayın. Fotoğraf: @avisionphotography #helmcken #kanada #skylifemagazine

A post shared by Skylife Magazine (@skylifemagazine) on

View this post on Instagram

"You inspire me. And strangers, probably. Also friends and stalkers. You are an inspiration to many." – @dailyoddcompliment Earlier this week we went to check out one of my favorite spots in Wells Gray – Silvertip Falls! Seeing this mountain of water pumping at full force with high water is truly something else!! I had all intentions of getting right into it, but you know, it's still May, and it was late in the evening, which means it's freaking cold!! And the spray was way to much past a certain point… My camera started crying. literally. High water in Wells Gray is spectacular! If you like watching the ocean waves crashing, guarantee you will enjoy just sitting by the river, or waterfall, and watching the power of high water. Just be sure to bring a rain jacket 😉 #HollyLouwersePhotography #HL_Landscape #SilvertipFalls #WellsGray #ClearwaterBC @tourismwellsgray . . . . . #getoutstayout #exploremore #theglobewanderer #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #bcisbeautiful #naturephoto #landscape_captures #awesome_earthpix #natureaddict #pnwonderland #waterfall #dontgochasingwaterfalls #pnw #pnwonderland #explorebc #hellobc #explorecanada #sharebc #explorecanada @explorecanada @hellobc @imagesofcanada #bcparks #ourplanetdaily #nakedplanet #thompson_okanagan #norththompson @norththompsonbc

A post shared by Holly Louwerse Photography (@hollylouwerse) on

If you’re hungry after a day or two of water falling, head to Clearwater’s most popular joint, the Hop ‘N’ Hog Tap + Smokehouse. This place is known around the province as having some of, if not the best, Kansas City style smoked BBQ grub.

 

Be it the Loaded Smokehouse Nachos or award-winning Beer Fest Brisket Bun, it’s best to bring your appetite and your total willingness to order just about everything on the menu. It’s THAT good!


About me

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 5.20.43 PMHey y’all. I’m Jim. That kid went on to spend 16 years in the broadcast media world before starting up Travel Mammal, a site dedicated to working with brands to promote travel, food, and cultural experiences.

I’ve created content and collaborated with everyone from Chevrolet, Lonely Planet, Trivago, Nevada Tourism and The Weather Network to New Brunswick Tourism, Yellow Pages, Tourism Toronto, and Airbnb. Safe travels, y’all.


I’d like to thank Chevrolet Canada for supplying the vehicle for our travels around central BC including of course, Sun Peaks. Bright and beautiful, #TheNewBlazer in cherry red gave us the chance to #FindNewRoads, including the one that led us to this year-round gem of a city!

Thank you also to Sun Peaks Grand for having us for 2 whole nights! What a room, what a place, what a town, thank you!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.