Summer hiking and backpacking adventures exploring the trails throughout Merritt and the Nicola Valley in BC, Canada.

Camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley

Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley

My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada

I have talked about camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley before but this time I want to introduce you to one of my top spots – Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley.  I know we have shifted into winter and camping is probably not high on your list of things to do, but I need to get this down on paper now so you can file this under–“remember for camping season

What do you like to do when camping in Merritt BC?

We like to start our day with a delicious breakfast.  There is nothing better than eating pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and bacon beside a beautiful lake while camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley! Scrambled eggs and gourmet sausages are pretty good too.

Camping in Merritt BC

Great Breakfast With Family

Post breakfast activities

After breakfast we grabbed our bikes and headed out on a little trip along Kane Valley Road.  There are many lakes to see on this road with wild life on either side, especially birds for people who are into this activity.  Bikes can also be used on the 55 kilometers of x-country ski trails with the added bonus of picnic tables and pit toilets in various places along the trail.  These facilities are not maintained in the summer so please be kind to your fellow adventurers and leave the places clean.

Merritt BC Camping

Game night while camping

We interspersed our activities with some serious reading and outstanding meals.  As well, we filled in our night time with Board Games and sitting around the fire.

Nicola Valley campfires

Nicola Valley Campfires and stories

“There is nothing like sitting around the campfire and reading a good book”–Andrea Reynolds

How to get to Harmon Lake in Merritt

From Merritt, BC you take the Okanagan Connector (Hwy 97C) towards Kelowna for approximately 14 kilometers.  You will see the sign for Harmon Lake (if you missed that sign look for the x-country ski sign–it will get you to the same place). Make the right turn onto Kane Valley Rd and follow it approximately  8 kilometers.  At this point you have a decision to make.  On the left you will see the entrance to the east campground.  If you stay on Kane Valley Rd for about 800 meters you will come to the West Campground. (link to map)

experiencemerritt

Heading west

The west campground in my mind is prettier than the east campground and the sites are further apart.  The down side is that it can be windier than its counterpart.  The east side has more amenities such as the boat launch, the campground host, access to the lake and hiking trails.

What you need when you are camping at Harmon Lake

My family prefers non motorized activities and so we bring our bikes, kayaks and hiking boots

Harmon Lake in Merritt adventures

If you like motorized vehicles there are plenty of places to use your ATV, dirt bike or fishing boat with a small motor.

Harmon Lake in Merritt BC

Looking out from the shoreline trail at Harmon Lake

Hiking in the Kane Valley

Hiking is one of our favourite things to do.  The easiest hike is the shoreline trail that takes you around the lake.  One of the bonuses of this hike is that it is located in a Forestry Recreational Area. It has an interpretive site that provides a lot of information on the eco systems of the lake area.  This is an easy hike and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

There are 55 kilometers of ski trails with varying levels of difficulty.  They all provide a great forest experience. Times of these hikes vary with length and difficulty.

Kayaking on Harmon Lake

Harmon is great for this activity.  The lake is small so you are usually not far from any edge of the lake so you really don’t have to worry about falling in the Lake!  It is a beautiful lake but it seems even prettier when you are looking on shore from your Kayak

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cruising on Harmon lake

When all is said and done it is easy to see why one of my favourite places to camp in Merritt and the Nicola Valley is Harmon Lake.

Harmon Lake is camping in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Campgrounds

Winter Hiking in Merritt, Experience  Nicola Valley

Hiking in the winter around Merritt BC.

Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you.

 

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you.  People of all ages and abilities can enjoy higher levels of health and wellness when they have access to nature in Canada. As a result there are health benefits including lowering risk of heart disease, obesity, stress, depression and strokes. Hiking in the winter with or without snow is my true pleasure while living in Merritt BC Canada.

Hiking in Merritt BC

Hiking in Merritt is a “Winter Wonderland”.

Because of what “Mother Nature” can provide us. Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Accordingly “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being while respecting and learning to live in harmony with as little impact or damage to your surroundings. Being encouraged to practice habits that will promote a healthy environment in the “now” as well as in the future. Respecting all living things, animals, trees, vegetation, local biodiversity, water, while we enjoy and Experience  Nicola Valley. 

experiencemerritt

Hiking in Merritt BC

Backyard Trails. Great for hiking in Merritt BC.

Getting the “blues” during winter in Merritt BC?

In addition to lowering levels of  winter depression. Getting out and enjoying nature can reduce stress providing better coping skills for every-day life events. Physical activities which involve nature will promote personal healthy connections that benefits both your health while respecting our ecological environment and the impact we have on it.

 

Hiking in Merritt

Hiking Trails.

Never Fear Trails are Near.

Behind the Bench in Merritt BC you will find a network of trails. Just starting? No worries, there are many low impact trails that allow you to choose how far and how long you go. As you progress you can climb higher with trails based on your ability. Hiking these trails in the winter are extraordinary. You feel that your out in the middle of no-where, but literally still within distance of the City.

 

Nicola Valley winter hiking.

Hiking trails near you.

As demonstrated I myself love to “Hike” the trails behind my house on the Bench in the Winter. Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Outward bound in the wilderness. Silence with nature.

I live to hike in the “WinterTania Stewart.

One with nature.

 

Amid the Beauty of the Forest.

Experience winter hiking in Merritt

Merritt BC. outdoors.

Alongside I also have my family join me.

Ricky Mervyn.

Taniaphotos

Jordan.

At the same time your family’s trusted “Friend” will love it.

Merritt has many outdoor parks, a dog park, numerous walking trails, and skate board/ bike park. Participating in outdoor activities provides a personal health wellness that has numerous health benefits. It provides energy, vitality and a greater respect for our natural resources’ and how we can ensure its protection for our children and generations to access and enjoy its splendor. Additionally taking your dog out can be a safety measure.

 

The one and only “Tank”

Windy Canyon Merritt BC.

Across from old Tolko site there is a narrow canyon ascending to the south from the old Middlesbourgh town site at Merritt.  Merrittonian Kevin Griffiths states that this is a historical site that once was home to an industrial coal operation before the 1st World War. Within 15min of hiking you will be transformed into a secret place. True to its name, you will feel and hear the wind as you explore this unique hidden Canyon. Ideally a great place to hike in to during winter months.

 

Windy Canyon. Merritt BC.

Photo by Kevin Griffiths.

Turn technology off for a day. Have one on hand for emergencies. Get out doors with your family. Exercise take a 20min walk around the block or a 2hr hike in the hills.

 

Walk the trails.

Have a seat.

In the woods.

 

 

Furthermore Hiking In the Nicola Valley.

Experiencing The Nicola Valley and all it has to offer including breathtaking beauty, and numerous outdoor activities is why we are lucky to live here. As well as all of the public parks which are easily accessible. Not to mention the mountain trails which are literally in our back yard. But being aware of the limits to our natural resources still has a place. Think of yourself as an Ambassador of Merritt, you are representing your community

 

Outdoor tracks.

Tracking in the snow is easier while hiking in Merritt.

In proximity to Merritt BC is Monck Park.

Hiking in the Nicola Valley

Winter hiking in the Nicola Valley.

Monck Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located at Nicola Lake. There is a 5 km self-guided interpretive hiking trail that loops around the park. There is a  1.3 km trail to the east of the existing upper trails best accessed from the upper end. Sections of this trail are steep and require caution. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. No short-cutting! Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

 

In the distance there is Kentucky Lake.

A 4 km hiking trail navigates the outer perimeter of Kentucky Lake, and it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The trail has minimal elevation and provides different vantage points of the beautiful lake as you walk around it. The hike is kid-friendly and is a great hike for families. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

40 min from Merritt BC. Canada.

As indicated “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being.

Altogether winter hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you. Physical activities which involve nature will promote personal healthy connections that benefits both your health while you and your kids will have a good sleep! Experience Nicola Valley.

 

Walking in the snow.

Take a night walk.

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Experience Nicola Valley hiking our winter trails in Merritt BC Canada

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

Never a lack of things to do while out camping in the Nicola Valley.

Camping in the Nicola Valley is by far one of the best pass times in the spring, summer and fall.

You can start by checking all the provincial and forestry camp sites. There is a great map to look at and see what they have available at each. You can take a look at the interactive map from Ministry of Forests. From there it would be easy to decide on which site has what you are looking for in terms of hookups, power, showers, lake , fishing hiking etc.

I have done this a couple times and it can be very convenient. I may decide to do this again one day. But right now I prefer a little more rustic way of camping in the Nicola Valley. It opens up so many more options and places that you can go.

Provincial Camp sites.

Some great provincial campsites around the Merritt area include Kentucky Alleyne. Located off of highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. There are some great hiking trails, fishing and geocaching. There is also a great kids pond between the two lakes where children can fish in the stocked trout pond.

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Another great site is Monk park on the north west side of Nicola Lake. There is also great fishing here and if you have a boat you can get out into the deeper channels to fish. Rainbow, and kokanee are among the fish you can catch in Nicola Lake. You can get there by following highway 5 from Merritt towards Quilchena. Then take the Monk Park turn off just before the Nicola Lake dam.

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

There are plenty of great forestry campsites through out the Nicola Valley as well. Some of them include Tyner, Boss, Shea, Davis, Kane, Lundbom, Marquart and so many more. Each of these lakes has it’s own pro’s. There are usually quite nice set ups for camping at all of these forestry sites and each lake has good fishing, trails and an abundance of wildlife.

Lundbom is a great place to camp for those who love to take their horses along. There are corrals and some great trails and open range land. Makes for an amazing camping trip.

Rustic Camping

We usually just drive to a nice spot in the bush by a lake and camp. No power, no hookups, no water. Sometimes we are not sure if our trailer will make it in but we do. If for some reason the road it not safe to take the trailer we will take the tent.

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

We always bring our own water, propane, battery or solar lights. We even make a portable out house. And last camping trip we lined the path to the outhouse with solar lights. It was great.

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

All of these lakes would be great to take your canoe, kayak, boat, belly boat or even pontoon boat. They are all easy to access. There are so many lakes close to these lakes as well so you can travel a short distance to a new lake and a new experience.

Loons

We love going fishing to catch our dinner or just catch and release. It’s all about getting out and enjoying the day. One lake we go to has a resident loon that will come and try to steal the fish right from the side of your boat or belly boat. You have to be very careful and keep a watch or your fish will either get taken or have some pretty good marks in it from the loon’s beak. It is quite exciting and kind of scary at the same time. You can get some great photos of the loon though.

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

I remember another lake where you had to be careful as the resident bald eagle likes to come and steal the fish right off your line. Have to keep your eyes open and reel like crazy to get the fish in before the eagle steals it. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

We are seriously so lucky to have what we have in our back yard. I remember setting up camp one summer and just going back and forth to work right from camp.

Bruce the Spruce

I have to tell you a fantastic little story about Bruce the spruce grouse. While out driving around, there is one road we always take to see what wildlife we can capture. Once particular day when we stopped at our normal corner I heard a grouse. I started to call it to see if it would come closer and what do you know. This grouse came right out strutting his stuff. He would follow me and even the truck for a little ways up the road.

NO WAY!!!

On our way back down I didn’t see the grouse again but told my boyfriend to stop and I would try calling him again. My boyfriend said no way is it going to come back again. I got out of the truck and started to call “Bruce…come on Bruce where are you” Well, wholly crap. Here comes Bruce strutting his stuff again. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I got a few more photo’s before heading home for the day.

Week Later

Thinking there is no possible way Bruce would still be there I decided to take my daughter for a ride up the road a week later. I needed some better photo’s. The ones I took the first time were not as good as I wanted. We got to the corner and I got out. My daughter must have though me to me crazy to be calling a grouse. “Bruce, come on Bruce, where are you” My daughter was just floored as out of the bush comes Bruce the Spruce. I got some better pictures this time. Had a little visit and left for home.

When my boyfriend got home and I started to tell him that Bruce was still there. My boyfriends daughters were listening couldn’t believe that I was calling this grouse in. I let them know that we would go out again as soon as we could so they could also see.

Couple weeks after that

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got to head out again. I thought for sure this time Bruce would be gone. But he was still there and came out when I called him. My step-daughters thought it was the craziest thing. I also thought it was pretty wild how this grouse would come out when I called it. He was there and kept coming out for about a month and a half. We would go up and visit for a while and get some photo’s and a couple video’s.

I am not sure what ever happened to Bruce but he finally did disappear. It was a sad day when I went to see him and when I called he no longer came. I can only hope that he just moved on.

Gardening

I was pretty much ready to start planting a garden out there. Although we were back and forth I did plant some potato’s and lettuce. Our trailer stayed out there from April until the first snow in October. It was the best summer I have ever had. I think  this year I will bring some planters out and have a bit of a container garden.

Property

Now we live on property and I thought by having property I wouldn’t want to go camping in the Nicola Valley anymore. So I started to get animals to sustain us on our own land. Well, I was wrong. I miss camping in the Nicola Valley. Quading, fishing  going on hikes from out in the bush some where. There is absolutely nothing like it. I love being able to see all the amazing wildlife when I am camping in the Nicola Valley.

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

Usually we always camped at Helmer Lake. Unfortunately there was a bad flood that took out most of the camp sites as well as the road. Forestry has not fixed it for the past 3 years. So on to new and exciting places.

We decided to sell all the animals so we can do some serious exploring again. Some of the lakes that we are looking forward to checking out this year are forestry camp sites. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to picking fresh berries and catching my supper again.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I have experienced over the spring, summer and fall and which ones we love. There are so many places to check out when you go camping in the Nicola Valley. Some you may have heard about. Some maybe you haven’t. I will tell you about all of the ones I visit and what I see and experience at each.

Take Care

Please take care of our country so that others may also enjoy it for generations to come.

I would like you to make a promise. When you go into the back country please, leave it like you were never there.  Always make sure your camp fire is out before you leave. If you see someone else has left a mess behind, please make an effort to clean it up then make a note and message me at Experience Nicola Valley. I will make a point to go back and see if there is anything else I can do. Thank you all so much.

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.