Winter ice fishing in the backcountry wilderness regions of the Nicola Valley in BC Canada.

Merritt Ice Fishing – Fishing Nicola Valley

A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay

A day ice fishing with friends and cousin at Marquart Lake

Merritt Ice Fishing is a great example of why we cherish our year-round fishing destination and winter wonderland. With over 200 lakes to choose from in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley. We chose Marquart Lake. Who would ever think you would be able to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole and a 12 inch thickness of frozen ice.  I am sure the ice was thicker at some of the lakes higher up the mountains but this lake was perfect for a newbie.

Merritt Ice Fishing Prize of the Day

Cousin Guide Jay with his prize

Merritt Ice Fishing in The Nicola Valley

For one, who has only fished in an open body of water, the anticipation and excitement of trying to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole in 12 inches of thick ice was an experience like no other. Although fishing is is a great outdoor sport that is relaxing and fun, ice fishing is a unique experience adding a whole new dimension to excitement and pleasure. I didn’t exactly get to experience catching a fish myself, on this first ice fishing expedition but I did see evidence, that pulling a fish up through that 10 inch hole is how it works. It is a little difficult to put this experience into words, but I can definitely say this. I can see a healthy addiction blossoming real fast.

Ice Fishing through the hole

The Hole That Holds Anticipation

Let’s Go Fishin’

Jay and Dana my cousin fishing guides picked me up and we were on our way. The weather was overcast and snowing, although beautiful when we arrived at Marquart lake, About 10 minutes east of Merritt, BC. Situated on the Lundbom Lake forestry road.

Once we stopped, the cousin guides took 2 big sleds out of the back of the truck. They started loading it with stuff that made me wonder of we were going fishing for a week. Although they had  filled me in a little about the process of ice fishing. They forgot to tell me about the getting ready part. Like what has to happen before you get to the lake.

2 Sleds of gear for ice fishing

The Cousin Guides, Jay and Dana with 2 sleds of gear.

Answers To The Before Fishing Questions

They started out with. “Don’t let the cold stop you from having a fun filled day of fishing.” Ice fishing is a safe winter sport but it does involve a bit of preparation. All you need is some safety tips and tricks, a bit of basic equipment, some warm gear,  and you’re in business.

First Things First

Along with a fishing license, some minor safety equipment and tips are first on the list. It is important to learn to check the thickness of the ice.  Use a spud bar (a long piece of steel, about 4-5 feet in length with a tapered point at the end,) or an auger to check the thickness. If you are able to hit the ice twice in the same spot with a spud bar and the ice remains solid, you know it will be safe to step on it in that area. If you can break through it, the ice is to thin. Continue testing as you walk out onto it. Don’t ever assume all ice is safe because it can be inconsistent thicknesses throughout the lake. Watch for rotten ice. You can spot rotten ice by its discoloration, cracks, holes and any water flows underneath it may have.

Some basic rules to follow for ice thickness:
  • A minimum of 4 inches for people
  • At least 6 inches for snowmobiles and sleds
  • A minimum of 7-12 inches for light cars
  • At least 14-16 inches for full sized trucks

Bare Bone Gear For Fishing

According to the cousin ice fishing guides you will be needing some unique gear and some gear with a different twist:

  • Ice fishing Rod – 24- to 36-inches will make sense for an ice jigging rod when  you hover over an eight to 10 inch hole in the ice. 
  • Reel – popular ice fishing reels are spinning and inline. Even though spinning reels may be the most common, that doesn’t mean they’re the best. As the inline reels continue to gain ground, they will easily become the go to reel for ice fishing.
  • Rod Holder – Rod holders are a handy little gadget. There are a couple of choices. Some fit conveniently on the rim of a five-gallon bucket. The  stand-alone model  elevates your rod and reel just off the ice for easy positioning over the hole. Try both designs and decide which one best suits you.
  • Lures – Trying to find the fool proof lure is nothing less than a process. You have to try various lures to figure out what will work for you. I was told the three best places to get the lures you need to try or need for Merritt and the Nicola Valley was from Ponderosa Sports , Gun Fishing located in Merritt. Lucky Bug Lures  Products and information can be found in above sporting stores as well as on-line. You will need some hooks, split shot weights and a bobber (optimal).
  • Bait – Worms, Corn, Maggots, Krill, Shrimp.
  • Staple Tackle – line clippers, fish grabbers, pliers, hooks, sinkers, weights etc…

Ice Fishing Must Haves

  • Auger and Ice Scoop – Ice auger is what you use to cut the hole in the ice. Gasoline or battery powered augers takes the physical labor out of hole cutting and allow you to cut more holes than you would by using a hand Auger. Augers come in a variety of sizes to create holes ranging from four inches to 8 inches in diameter or larger. Make sure you have a strainer-type ice scoop, to scoop ice shavings and snow out of the holes.
augers in action in merritt

Cousin Guide Dana checking the ice and drilling a hole

Some Handy Extras

Ice fishing exposes a unique set of weather challenges for both the fisherman and his or her equipment. Let’s just say, ice fishing is one of those sports where preparation is just as important as the action of fishing itself.

  • Ice Fishing Shelter – it’s vital to your comfort, and even your survival, when you’re out in cold for extended periods of time. Of all the gear that you need on an ice fishing adventure, your ice tent may be the most important.
The Nicola Valley Eskimo hut

Cousin Fishing Guide Jay Setting up The House

  • Seat/bucket – Five-gallon buckets are a must piece of equipment. You can use them to carry gear, rest rods, and store your fish. The bucket caps are designed for your seating comfort while you patiently sit and stare at that rod watching for the big hit. The cap also doubles as storage for tackle storage.
  • Propane Heater – When ice fishing, a propane heater is sort of a must-have item for your tent. It takes the chill out of the air and lets you sit and watch that rod in comfort.
  • Comfy Chair – You’re likely going to be sitting for a large part of the day if you’re ice fishing. So your best bet is to choose a chair that is easy to carry, offers custom options when it comes to comfort, is sturdy enough to withstand 200 pounds in weight and can collapse easily for transport.
  • Sled –  An ice fishing sled is often overlooked. Sleds are a rugged and light polyethylene tub designed to haul all of your fishing gear and glide over ice and snow. Pick a size that should be able to  carry everything you need to go fishing. You might need 2 but 1 should be good if you choose the right size.

Electronics for Ice Fishing

One of the advantages to having fishing electronics is to help you find fish faster and mark hotspots for future trips. Having the cream of the crop equipment on the ice makes for a more comfortable, successful on the ice/water.

  • Fish and Depth Finder – Knowing how to use a fish finder for ice fishing is an essential part of your electronic gear. The first step is keeping the hole free of slush and finding bottom by using your depth finder. After you find bottom, slowly drop your lure down the hole. You should be able to find and see your lure as you slowly lower the lure. As you continue to lower the lure further down the water column, it will be easier to find. Reason being the depth-finder cone angle widens as the depth of the water increases. One advantage to using a sonar while ice fishing is you can move until you find or see fish. You are not going to catch fish that are not below you. Fishing without a Fish Finder is like looking for the needle in the haystack.
  • Underwater Fish Camera – An underwater fish camera is an essential tool to be able to  get a full picture of your fishing conditions. Underwater fishing cameras are great for ice fishing. Giving you a real-time video of fish and terrain, they also provide a better view of the lake bottom, including weed beds, and any fish swimming by. 
Reading the depth finder

Using the Fish Finder Checking Depth of Water and looking for fish

Dressing For The Fish

One thing I figured out real quick is that Mother Nature isn’t one of the most hospitable hosts I’ve ever come across. Assuming I was dressed pretty warm with a few layers. I was starting to freeze in about 3 hours. This encouraged me to do some investigating about exactly how to dress for ice fishing.

Cousin Guide Jay said, “Who do you think you’re dressing for? The fish don’t hold fashion shows.”

keeping warm fishing

Dressing for the ice fishing occasion

Ice Fishing Dressing Tips

  • Base Layers – Base layers keep your bodies warmth close to the skin. Long underwear is the most basic base layer and works fine. New advanced fabric base layers are lightweight and very thermally efficient.
  • Outer wear – Despite fishing from an ice shelter. Proper pants and jackets are important,  The best ice fishing jackets and pants are Insulated, windproof, and waterproof. 
  • Headwear – At minimum, you should wear a quality stocking hat. Even better are fur or fleece lined hats with ear flaps. Balaclavas are even better, as they have complete face and neck coverage.
  • Gloves – Fingers need protection from the cold and wind. Ice fishing gloves are waterproof, and have flip open finger covers to make dealing with fishing line easier. Gloves that have wrist coverage and can slide up underneath your jacket sleeves are ideal.
  • Boots – Insulated, waterproof boots are best for ice fishing. Keeping your feet warm is key to keeping the rest of you warm.
The End Of The First Merritt Ice Fishing Experience

Ice fishing is definitely a magical, social, exciting fun filled adventure that tends to get overlooked as a winter activity. Up until now I didn’t have a clue about ice fishing. This experience has opened my eyes to what a healthy, natural outdoor sport it is. A simple sport that you don’t need a boat for and little gear to get started. While this is true at the beginning, I can see adding the bells and whistles as you get hooked on ice fishing.

With Merritt having A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay it is inevitable that Merritt, BC is an Ice Fishing Destination.

Fishing Contest – Enter before March 30th, 2021

Ice Fishing Contest - Wes David ice fishing with Wes David

ICE FISHING PHOTO CONTEST
Win a $100 Gift Certificate for fishing gear and an opportunity for your photo to be used showcasing our Nicola Valley ice fishing season on the Fishing the Wild West TV Show with Wes David (30+ Million Viewers).
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Merritt Ice Fishing Destination

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Outdoor Winter Activities

Adventures for the Family in the Nicola Valley

Winter activities enjoyed by all 

We in the Nicola Valley enjoy our outdoor winter activities despite the dark colder days of winter. Albeit, Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other.  Beating the winter blues with outdoor winter activities in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities

Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities Like Footprint Tag

Play tag as you normally would…but stepping only in others’ footprints. It should be noted to not have Bigfoot play with you. A slight size advantage there right? As a night time game, we would suggest using glow sticks or flashlights so it makes it even more challenging and interesting. 

Foot print tag. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Quewezance.

Night time tag or hide n seek! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Golfing in the Winter Snow 

Snow golf anyone? Take some time to smooth out a fairway and a green. Take an open can and plant it in the snow. This becomes the whole in one shot! Make sure to color your golf balls and tee’s. Truly easier to find in the snow. Indeed this is how we do golfing during Canadian Winters.

Winter Bocce Ball 

Bocce ball Covid style. Say what! How cool is this to play in the snow.  Bocce ball sets can be found at local Canadian Tire. Truly a ton of laughter will be heard.  

merrittBC

Bocce Ball.

Outdoor Curling Rink?

Due to Covid19 many avid curlers are without a rink to go to. Build a rink in your own back yard or on a lake. Come together as a family and throw some rocks. Good time safe bubble sport with social distancing. 

outdoorwinteractivities.

Outdoor curling rink. Photo courtesy of Pixel.

Other Winter Outdoor Activities

Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.  This is how you start. Take a picture of an outside recognizable feature. Within the agreed radius. Each participant sends picture to all participants and the hunt is on to locate feature. Clearly it could be a tree or a street name, or even a snowman down the road. Importantly it is an outdoor adventure that is full of fun. Furthermore this winter outdoor activity could include you community. Social distancing while connecting and having fun. Winner’s photo will be shared on social media. 

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Scavenger Hunt. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merrittwinteractivities.

Winter Games. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities for the Whole Family in the Nicola Valley.

Build a snowman or snow fort. How about a snowball fun fight? Round up your neighbors and have a friendly winter competition. Divide and conquer. Snowball fight bring it on! Follow up the fun with a creamy hot chocolate and a backyard winter BBQ.  

 

Feeling Artistic?

Host a snow sculpture competition within your neighborhood. Firstly find some  judges. Snowmen consist of three large snowballs of different sizes with some additional goodies for facial and other features. Common accessories include branches for arms and a rudimentary smiley face, with a carrot used for a nose. Clothing, such as a hat or scarf, may also be included for all!​

Winter Beauty is ours to enjoy! Photo from Tania Stewart.

More Outdoor Winter Activities

Ice fishing is considered one of the most recognized  Canadian winter activities. While some fishermen prefer to stay out in the open, most prefer a shelter.  Equally some people like to go big with luxury fish shacks that have heaters, stoves, beds and even T.V’s. My idea of ice fishing! Experience ice fishing in the Nicola Valley.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing Nicola Valley.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Greg Girard.

There are numerous small lakes that are pure gems for ice fishing enthusiasts. Connect with the great outdoors and spend quality time with friends and family while on your Nicola Valley Ice Fishing Adventure. Safety first when you head out on the ice.

Ice skating and Pond Hockey.

Ice skating is truly a Canadian winter activity. Whether being a backyard rink or a frozen pond. Many Canadians can proudly say they spent many a winter days learning to skate and play on outdoor rinks. Apart from the usual sport, how about elevating it. Alternatively adding “Bowling” into pond skating. Set up some pin’s and bowl with skates on. Keep score and have a bawl with this. 

Merritt Cross Country Skiing 

Truly  cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy a crisp winter day. The Nicola Valley offer’s superb trails. Cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. With over  50 kilometers of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails. Photo by Greg Girard

“First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley.” Greg Girard.

Additionally, there is also sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking and winter hiking, as well as, stargazing. Merritt BC offers some of the best stargazing without big city light pollution. Truly ideal to stargaze. Each year the Merritt Astronomical Society hosts a large and roomy Star Party.  

Perfect Stargazing outside Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing 

Snowshoeing is the new winter hiking. Utilizing and exploring the same summer trails. Equally provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Lastly, snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan a day picnic while  snowshoeing within Merritt’s beautiful backcountry. 

merritt snowshoeing

What a great day to go winter snowshoeing in Merritt. Photo by Pixel Bay

While there is always “Skijoring”

Skijoring,  is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer. Subsequently by the mid 1950’s, skijoring found its way to North America. This time ranchers would attach a long rope to the saddle horn while being pulled on ski’s down a straight-away. Important to note the rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on. Extreme maybe? Fun is what I  would say!

Horse Skiing. Photo “YouTube”

 
In Conclusion it is “Fun”

Despite the dark colder days. Nerveless we can all enjoy outdoor winter activities, especially when living in the Nicola Valley. Albeit Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other. Who is to say we can not enjoy summer activities during winter months. Playing summer games during the winter months can be hilarious as well as a lot of fun.  Ideally the point is to get outside with family and friends and have a lot of fun with a barrel full of laughs. And if feeling really brave try out Big Foot tracking. Enjoy all activities outdoors during our winter months in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Big Foot Tracking in the Nicola Valley. Photo Tania Stewart.

Merritt, BC, Canada

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Winter Activities in Merritt BC

Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley

Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least.

Winter activities in Merritt BC – Albeit we all want to hunker down during the winter months and hibernate, sit back and wait for spring. Truth be told Winter is one of my favourite seasons to become more active and enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley. Although nothing compares to swimming in a lake in the summer, ice fishing on that very lake in the winter is an “AHA moment”. Winter Activities in Merritt BC is an outdoors enthusiasts dream scape. Here in the Nicola Valley there is a winter activity for everyone to enjoy. Get outside and Experience Nicola Valley!

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing in Merritt.

 Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Let us begin with cross-country skiing and snowshoe winter activities in Merritt BC.

Importantly and ideally the best place is” Kane Valley” for xc skiing and snowshoeing. It is only located 18 kms south of Merritt, BC, Canada. ExperienceMerritt.com points out that the Kane Valley enjoys a base elevation of 1160 metres (3800 feet). The timbered valley has a micro-climate that can provide ideal Nordic skiing conditions. The snow is generally dry, seldom more than 1 to 1.5 metres deep, and the air temperature is usually between 0 and -15 degrees Celsius throughout the winter. The best winter access to the ski areas is along the Kane Valley road which joins Highway 5A/97C near Corbett Lake, 18 kilometers south of Merritt. 

Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley.

Cross country skiing Kane Valley. Photo by

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

Snowshoes are welcome also at Kane Valley. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowshoeing winter style. Photo by Bonnie Kittle.

Furthermore with Covid19 and self-distancing there has been an increase with people getting back outdoors and enjoying nature. Albeit cross-country skis can be cumbersome to younger children, snowshoes are much easier to navigate and you will forget you are wearing them.  

Now let us look at Snowmobiling. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowmobiling is an outdoor winter activity everyone can enjoy in The Nicola Valley. While experiencing the crisp air and boundless trails. Snowmobiling in the surrounding  Nicola Valley is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Snowmobiling in Merritt BC can be the ride of your life, as stated by EH Canada Travel.

“Come and experience a snowmobiling paradise in Merritt BC, Canada. From rolling hills, groomed trails to immense peaks our snow-covered landscapes offer a variety of snowmobiling adventures for all ages, abilities and desires.”

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain - Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Ice Fishing truly an Outdoor Winter Activity in The Nicola Valley.

Ice fishing is not for the weak at heart. In other words having to deal with the wind, cold, wet feet and even picking the wrong drilling spots can be trying for some. However, ice fishing is a winter delight for many who enjoy fishing as a hobby. This is an activity anyone can enjoy, whether being a beginner or a pro. On the other hand, when the fish are not biting, make it a family day of fun with a hotdog roast and gooey smores. Lastly, make sure to check the depth of the ice. Safety is key! Need more information on ice fishing, go to “Getting Started for Ice Fishing.

Where to Ice Fish in the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Lake located 13km from Merritt is a favourite for ice fishing. Chicken Ranch Lake, another lake, offers great fishing for Brook Trout. The fish average in size around 1 lb but can reach up to 3 to 4 lbs. Alleyne Lake (near Merritt) fishes Kokanee. Generally speaking ice fishing usually starts in mid December as the colder weather brings over 6 inches of hard ice. Along with the fish still feeding because of the high oxygen levels in the water. Ideal ice fishing time!

Photo courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society.

What about Tobogganing? Truly a Winter Activity enjoyed in Merritt BC.

Surely one of the best tobogganing is just before Lundbom Lake. With easy access for cars this is an ideal place with some amazing hills to toboggan down. It is an outdoor adventure with a picnic. A historical fact – the toboggan was originally used as transportation by the Inuit and First Nations groups of Canada. Moreover do not forget the hot chocolate! 

Star Gazing outdoor winter activities in The Nicola Valley.

Star Gazing during the winter months in the Nicola Valley is ideal. Because it is a smaller community there is little-to-no light pollution to cover the stars at night. In effect the Nicola Valley is one of the best location for avid star gazers. Thus if you are a pro star gazer or a beginner this is your destination place.  

Star Gazing. Photo by Alessandro Viaro.

Winter Activities in Merritt.

Photo courtesy of Calwaen Liew.

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Winter Moon. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Even more there is Winter Hiking! 

Hiking Kentucky Lake.

Okay now let us talk about winter time hiking. Merritt is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains with an abundance of mountain trails. Makes for an ideal spot for all levels of hiker’s who like a challenge or just a hour stroll.

In addition the Nicola Valley offers trails that wrap around majestic lakes. Check out Kentucky Lake which offers a scenic hike around it’s lake. Assuredly the Nicola Valley has a wide variety of hiking trails available for all hiking abilities. Iron Mountain located just off highway 97C,  enjoys a 4k trek to the top. Worth the views.

Winter Hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Hiking trails in Merritt. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Tom Lacey Memorial Trail. Located close to downtown Merritt. Truly a fun family hike. Then there is Sugarloaf Mountain which starts at Lundbom Lake. Follow the access road to Hamilton Lake, gives  you the most direct access to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain,

Winter in Merritt BC 

Winter activities in Merritt BC are numerous.  Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least. As previously stated winter in the Nicola Valley offers ice fishing, tobogganing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and star gazing. Further more Merritt has numerous Hotel accommodations for travelers along with a great selection of downtown shops with fine eateries for all. Let us bring back skating on lakes what about outdoor hockey with masks.  

Winter in Merritt, BC, Canada

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Fall and Winter Outdoor Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada 

The whole family can enjoy outdoor activities in Merritt BC

Merritt outdoor adventures and attractions

Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC does not have to stop with the end of summer. Because of our favorable climate, along with long hours of sunshine and little precipitation throughout the year, we are truly blessed with many Merritt, BC Canada outdoor activities. This alone makes the Nicola Valley a destination place during the fall months as well as the winter months. In addition, Merritt is the gateway to the Interior of B.C, due to the Coquilhalla Highway and only a three hour drive to five international airports, giving Canadians and world wide visitors quick access.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Fall color’s. Tania Stewart.

Lundbom Lake in the Fall. Photo courtesy of Greg Girard.

Fall is a fresh start. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”—F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Sights, Smells and Sounds of a Merritt Autumn

Every thing is so crisp. Watching Autumn colors fall to the ground,  jumping in leaves as a child and those blustery fall winds bringing in Ole Man Winter brings even more promise of fun to be had. All is good in the Nicola Valley. Playing outdoors throughout the Nicola Valley has always been seasonal. Time to bring this back. Experience the Nicola Valley!

Hiking surrounding Nicola Valley Mountains.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Fall mountain biking. Photo Merritt Mountain Biking Association.

To Say Nothing of Hiking on a Crisp Winter Day 

Having a dry climate, the Nicola Valley’s is frequently under the lights of the sun.  Get yourself outdoors now as breathing in that fresh air helps you combat those upcoming winter blues.  Family fun time, alone time, or taking a hike with your dog… why not make outdoor activities during the fall and winter months a season of exploration.

winter hiking in merritt

Winter hiking in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Experience Nicola Valley.

Sunny winter day of hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature. Edna O’Brien.

Despite the Temperature Change Life Goes On

Following the summer heat, Merritt’s cooler fall weather is truly a welcome reprieve. Clearly with having some of the best and  sometimes under-appreciated hiking trails, it is impossible not to be challenged even if you are a seasonal hiker. Without a doubt hiking trails for beginners will treat you to Fall colors, as well as, trails for the extreme will treat you to views over looking forests of Fall colors.  

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park will amaze with it’s beauty!

Colours of Kentucky Lake

Colours of Kentucky Lake. Photo courtesy of Tom Reynolds.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park Hiking Trail. Photo by Tom Reynolds.

Iron Mountain

The main trail carries over 4 kilometers to the top of Iron Mountain, with 2 lookouts that gives you a scenic view. There are also many shorter hikes and mountain biking trails  available within Merritt that make for a great way to exercise the legs. There are a wide variety of recreation trails available in and around Merritt for each season and all abilities. Five prominent mountains surround the city of Merritt, each with its own extensive network of trails. 

Hiking Trails Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Tom Lacey Memorial Trail

Swakum Mountain is located close to downtown Merritt. This trail is truly a family hiking and mountain biking destination. Starting at the top of the Flagpole Access Road. Were you will be greeted with amazing priceless views of the Nicola Valley farms and the City of Merritt before you even begin hiking. Allow yourself about 1 – 3 Hours of family fun within nature. Connecting with many other trails, Swakum Mountain gives you the choice of how long or short your hike will be.

 

Whether snow shoeing, fat biking, xc skiing, snowmobiling or hiking, the Nicola Valley during the winter is an ideal destination place. Lots to do. No crowds, Amazing scenery. Top notch trail networks. Due to these crazy times, outdoor adventures have become even more popular.

Merritt XC Skiing and Snowshoeing

The Nicola Nordic Ski Club is based in Merritt, BC. and maintains the Kane Valley Ski Trails. The Kane Valley lies twenty minutes south of Merritt. It’s an hour west of Peachland and an hour north of Princeton. A Nordic experience at Kane Valley is an ideal day trip. You can enjoy the area for days, because 50km of fantastic classic skiing on wilderness groomed trails provide ample diversity. Bring on Old Man Winter!

 

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

merritt snowshoeing

What a great day to go winter hiking in Merritt. Experience Nicola Valley Photo.

Winter Hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In Conclusion

Outdoor activities in Merritt BC. does not stop with the end of the summer. As a result of having a favorable climate along with long hours of sunshine and little precipitation throughout the year… the Nicola Valley is open for adventure all year! See you on the trails and/or in the back country sun, snow or ice. 

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Fall and Winter Adventure sin the Nicola Valley

 

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Destination Merritt in the Winter
Tourism Nicola Valley.

Merritt BC Canada in the Winter 

“Go were no man have hardly gone before.” Tania Stewart, eco blogger with Experience Nicola Valley

Merritt in the Winter can become a top destination point for Tourism in Canada. 

Make Merritt in the winter your destination. Why not? There are no crowds. Outdoor winter adventures are plentiful like xc skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and snowshoeing.  Why not make the Nicola Valley your “New” winter spot during the snow season.  Merritt is alive and well in November, December, January and even into March in the mountains. Indeed just ask Jason Pake and his wife Trina Hall along with daughter Jasmine Ashley who Experienced the Nicola Valley in November.

merritt in the winter months

The Nicola Valley under some Living Skies

Albeit The Nicola Valley it so Beautiful!

Taking part in winter activities has so many benefits. For example, a good winter activity can help ease the winter blues while boosting your body’s immune and respiratory systems.  And… if you have children, you already know that winter adventures tires them out so they go to bed sooner and sleep better during the night. The result is a quieter, more romantic and peaceful cuddle around a fire with your other half. 

outdoormerrittbc

Make Merritt your destination. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

In fact take a look!

wintermerrittbc

Your winter backcountry awaits you. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To clarify, Merritt is an ideal base camp, for day tripping.  

Destination Merritt in Winter

Jason Pake with Trina Hall.

Make Merritt BC your base camp when exploring the region. Merritt sits at the junction of 4 major highways heading north, south, east and west. Ideal for winter day trips. For instance leave early and spend a day hiking in Whistler BC. It is a 4 hour or so drive to Whistler from Merritt BC.  Plus image the time and money saved with restaurants , accommodations and convenience when Merritt is your base camp.

Accommodations in Merritt, like the Best Western Plus , Comfort Inn, and others in the Nicola Valley provide top amenities and services at a fraction of the price.  (Here is a link to a full list of accommodations and contact information)

Additionally taking in Merritt’s Activities.

Bowling in Merritt

Friday Night’s in Merritt BC can be a lot of family fun too at the local Bowling Alley. Bring your “A” game though! As a matter of fact Merritt’s Bowling Alley has provided decades of “Fun” for many generations. There are 8 lanes  5-pin bowling along with the venue being fully licensed. 

Nicolanes Bowling is open everyday of the week for a lot of fun with friends, family, or colleagues. For instance, go bowling for staff parties, birthdays, family reunions, or just a night out on the town.  That is come meet new people while being active. Truly “Bowling is fun for ALL ages!”

Explore Merritt in the Winter

Before making Merritt your winter destination, plan out your Nicola Valley winter activities – outdoors and indoors.  This includes day-tripping Merritt’s neighboring communities, visiting our art and culture venues and events, as well as, exploring any of our top notch xc skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing destinations. 

Merritt Snowmobiling. Photo courtesy Experience Nicola Valley.

 
Merritt Snowmobile Club is open to all “Sled Head’s.” Snowy trails.
merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley.

 

 

It is All in the Attitude

outdoornicolavalley

Sharing nature with your family!

Plan a winter adventure and then the after party. After a winter hike, skiing cross country trails, shredding snow in a snowmobile or sitting back in your ice shack ice fishing why not finish your day around a cozy campfire sharing stories. Or… a bonfire like our photo. 

“Winter activities, like snowmobiling, xc skiing and snowshoeing will release some of that pent-up energy, and cause your body to burn fat.”

You should know… one of BC’s top snowmobiling destinations is just up the road from Merritt BC. Snowmobiling around Merritt is truly spectacular. It is

MerrittBCwinter

Outdoor winter activities for kids!

called “The Coke” which is short for Coquihalla Highway. I am going on a limb and say, “Merritt is the “Powder Capital of Snowmobiling in BC”.

Consequently, just south of Merritt are the Kane Valley XC Ski Trails. “Cross Country Skiing” at Kane Valley is a must for all lovers of the winter backcountry. Bring a camera for the picturesque scenery along the trails and, yes, there are warming shelters along some of the xc ski routes as well.

Even more impressive, is our four-pronged approach to winter adventures here in the Nicola Valley. Rounding out at #3 is the  “Ice Fishing” opportunities in the region. We enjoy over 200 lakes in the area. Many are ice fishing lakes. And #4 is snowshoeing. Pick a backcountry road or head to Kane Valley.   

“Before heading out for a winter activity, be sure to dress accordingly — ideally, in layers, and let someone know where you are going and always carry emergency back up supplies, ” says me, Tania Stewart.

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Destination Merritt Exploration in the Winter. photo Tania Stewart.

Make The Nicola Valley your Destination Home Base.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails.

winter in merritt bc

Winter snow time! Photo credit – Experience Nicola Valley.

Just So You Get It.
Merritt BC is centrally located.

Accommodations are affordable in the Nicola Valley compared to many of the surrounding bigger cities and communities.  Merritt has “Base Camp” written all over it.  Enjoying sightseeing day trips without the hassle or added expense of moving from one accommodation to another is a big plus when exploring from Merritt. Spending a lot of your time unpacking and packing up, over and over again, can be a big time waster on any vacation.

Day Trip Destinations

Nearby Kamloops is 87 km with one hour travel time from Merritt. Here is the plus. There are 2 main roads leading to Kamloops from Merritt. The quick and fast Kamloops connector (Highway 5). It is an up-and-over highway through the mountains. The other route (Highway 5A), is a little bit longer, many say more scenic, cuts and snakes its way around the mountains passing by lakes, ranches and grasslands. It makes for a perfect day trip with two routes of scenery. 

Kelowna Day Trip

Sun Peaks Resort.

Kelowna, best accessed from Highway 97C,  is just over the mountains to the south of Merritt BC. The distance to Kelowna is 127 km and about only 1 hr 36 minutes away. In Kelowna there are 2 ski resorts to enjoy as a winter day trip – Big White Ski Resort and the other is Silver Star. 

Feel the Need to Ski?

Sun Peaks Resort and Harper Mountain.

Beyond is Hope BC.

Othello Tunnels

While the drive is spectacular. Its only 120 km – 1 hour drive from Merritt to Hope BC. Incidentally Hope has many attractions. Many with no crowds and most are very outdoorsy. Take the Othello Tunnels. It is a series of tunnels through mountains over a gorge providing scenery and some history. You know what tunnels mean right? They can be enjoyed in sun, rain and snow and you stay dry. 

Winter in Merritt BC

Notably the Nicola Valley is becoming a better recognized winter destination for the region. The secret is out.  November, December, January or February are home to many outdoor winter attractions as well as many indoor ones. 

|Some of the indoor venues to visit during the winter months include Merritt’s Aquatic Center with a pool, 2 x hot tubs, a sauna and a fully equipped fitness room. For all avid shoppers, Merritt boast’s a downtown hub full of shop’s, cafe’s, historical pubs, gift stores, services, and nail salons.

Time your visit right, and you can come a enjoy a local hockey game with a Junior Hockey Team – the Merritt Centennials . So… the question is, “What are you going to do in Merritt in the winter months?” The answer better not be a “Couch Potato”.

Check out further information at Experience Nicola Valley.

Winter in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley and Merritt Winter Attractions and Day Tripping

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

Top Winter Things To Do and Activities in Merritt BC

“… we have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada!”

Merritt Winter Attractions! Yes, Merritt has many. As a result we have highlighted 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures worthy of your time this season. In fact, Merritt winter adventures, is a hidden gem in British Columbia. However, people are beginning to take notice more and more with the increased search engine presence educating travelers on the first-class winter adventures available here in the Nicola Valley. Haven’t you heard?

“Merritt BC Canada is “Adventure Ready”!

Powder Winter Attractions

The Nicola Valley – with its vast wilderness backcountry forests, network of gravel roads and hundreds of lakes – is an ideal playground for enjoying snow and ice winter adventures. Most noteworthy our snow is generally light powder snow. What does that mean? It means it is easy to maneuver around in the snow making for good winter adventure conditions. As a result many regions in British Columbia experience fog, rain and clouds during the winter months… Merritt tends to see sunshine more than most.

“Merritt is a hidden gem for winter attractions and adventures. When the world learns what Merritt has to offer, winter enthusiasts will converge on this small winter wonderland in a heart beat.” Greg Girard

Experience Community Program

For just under 2 years I have had the opportunity to work with the many good people at Tourism Nicola Valley and in the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. Together we are building a stronger and more versatile 4-season tourism industry under the “Experience” brand. The “Experience Community” program is a very successful small and rural content marketing program we here, at eh Canada Travel, have introduced to the community on Merritt. Hence, now we have a group of positive and passionate locals participating in the marketing of their community through story telling and experiences via a living website and community blogsite.

“This has been the best thing that has happened in Merritt in the last 10 years!” Shelley Sanders – Canadian Country Music Heritage Society.

experiencemerritt

Creating Jobs In Merritt

We have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada! Bold right! Well I believe it and many around me believe it too. A stronger Merritt winter attraction and adventure season has many benefits including establishing a consistent flow of new money into the community therefore supporting the current stores, accommodations, and restaurants… as well as, attracting new stores and services to the community. Consequently, there is that “creating jobs” thing too. That is pretty important. Where is the bad in that? There is none.

Learn Through Positive Partnerships 

In working with the front line businesses in the community we have met so many good people and key stakeholders who have taught us so much about the Nicola Valley. Some of the associations we have been fortunate enough to work with include Tourism Nicola Valley, Vision Merritt,  Community Futures, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and Chamber of Commerce. Therefore, these are the groups we would recommend working with on any Merritt BC decision making process. It has been a positive experience working with them. They are really, the true ambassadors of Merritt BC Canada!

What To Know About Merritt Winter Attractions

The top winter things to do in Merritt BC, based on my humble opinion, are listed below. I have selected 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures which will “Wow” your socks off. Included below are links which connect you to maps, tips, photos, videos, contact information and plenty of descriptive text. The links to the preferred Merritt resources below provide you everything you need to know to plan and book one of Merritt’s first-class winter attractions and adventures.

5 Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

merritt snowmobiling adventures

Another great snow day snowmobiling in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT SNOWMOBILING / SLEDDING

Throughout the Nicola Valley snowmobiling is getting a lot of positive press lately. Therefore more and more people are finding out about their little snowmobile retreat. In fact, Merritt sledding has made a few top magazines in British Columbia for snowmobiling.

“Sledding around Merritt is an adventure worth seeking out.” Snoriderswest.com 2016

The Merritt snowmobiling adventure destination most noteworthy in this region is the Coquilhalla back country. You have heard of the Coquihalla Highway but did you know the backcountry is a hot spot for snowmobiling? Likewise there are other sledding destinations in the region as well. Stoyoma, Honeymoon Lakes, Hooshum Ridge and, near by, Thynne Mountain (Brookmere) are considered worthy sledding destinations as well. If you want to ride steep and deep or enjoy a day of boondocking, you’ll find plenty of sledding action in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SLEDDING IN MERRITT.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

MERRITT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley. Why is this important? Because cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. The valley has over 50 kilometres of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING IN MERRITT.

merritt snowshowing

What a great day to go winter hiking (a.k.a snowshoeing) in Merritt

MERRITT SNOWSHOEING

In our minds snowshoeing has always been a winter version of summer hiking. It is in many ways winter hiking. Likewise snowshoeing involves exploring the same summer trails but provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Personally, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your adventures through a seasonal lens. Finally snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan properly, and one can also snowshoe the vast network of hiking trails and gravel roads available in the backcountry.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SNOWSHOEING IN MERRITT.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT ICE FISHING

If you are new here, there is one thing you should know. Throughout the Nicola Valley there are over 200+ lakes! Yes, you heard me right, 200. As a result the word is getting out that you can ice fish, “A lake a day for as long as you stay” when visiting Merritt BC. Merritt ice fishing season starts in mid-December as the colder weather sets in and 6 inches of hard ice covers the lakes. And… do not forget to get your fishing licence.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ICE FISHING IN MERRITT.

courthouse gallery merritt

Paintings on display at the Courthouse Gallery in Merritt

MERRITT WINTER ENTERTAINMENT

After the days filled with enjoying our first class Merritt winter attractions and adventures you deserve some quality down time. What better way to enjoy the nights than by attending some of our great entertainment venues and dining establishments. Certainly one of the many pubs, restaurants, open mics, spas, junior hockey game, live music, art galleries, and/or community events will entertain you and your group. Hence why Merritt is a good host day and night. Therefore the community will keep you active and entertained during your winter vacation here in the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO MEET OUR ENTERTAINMENT ATTRACTIONS IN MERRITT.

Top Winter Things To Do In Merritt BC Canada

Best Merritt Winter Adventures

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC

Merritt, not just for summer

There is no better way to spend a winter day than to get out and enjoy what there is to offer with your family.

There are so many winter activities around Merritt BC. You don’t have to wait until summer to come on vacation and enjoy what there is to offer here.

I’d like to take you through some of my favorite winter activities around Merritt, BC. As I go through them you will notice that some will over lap with others because it’s so easy to incorporate more than one at a time. Can’t get any better than that.

Snowmobiling

There are a number of excellent places around Merritt to go snowmobiling. I personally love to take off to some of the different lakes like Helmer, Nicola or Mamit. We love to take the kids out and do some snowmobiling on the frozen lakes. Gives them a place to have fun in wide open spaces.

You can also get a hold of the Merritt Snowmobile Club. There are a number of trails that they look after that would be great to check out.

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Ice Fishing

Another one of my favorite winter activities around Merritt BC is ice fishing. There are some really great lakes to go to including Mamit, Nicola, Marquart, Hamilton and Helmer. I am looking forward to checking out a lot more of the lakes in the coming years.

ice fishing hole, drilling, winter fun

Drilling down

ice fishing on Merritt, BC lakes

Line in – soon – fish on

Combine Activities

The best part about getting into some of these lakes is that you get to combine winter activities around Merritt by snowmobiling into the lake to ice fish. There have been many times we have packed up gear and the kids and taken off the for the day. We love going out and having a campfire to roast hotdogs while we ice fish and snowmobile around the lake. Its a great way to spend the day with your family.

snowmobiling Merritt BC lakes

Big boys turn at the snowmobiling.

A few more winter activities around Merritt, BC

X-Country Skiing

X-country skiing is a great winter activity and is also great exercise as well. Kane Valley has some great groomed trails for all levels of skiers.

learning to x-country skiing family fun at Kane Valley

Alisha learning to x-country ski. She did great her first time out.

If your more into adventures and breaking your own trail, you could check out Lundbom or Marquart lakes. Blazing a trail from one to the other or over the beautiful open country side would be a great trip. You could also take your skis with you when you snowmobile out to the lakes and go on a ski from the lake. So many different combinations of winter activities around Merritt BC.

x-country skiing Kane Valley Merritt BC

Michelle Bacon enjoying winter activities around Merritt, BC

Tobogganing

Now here is a fun winter activity the whole neighborhood can enjoy and believe me we do. A great place to get together and do this is towards Lundbom lake. There is some amazing hills to toboggan down and family’s usually start a fire and roast hotdogs and make hot chocolate. It’s such great day.

Do you love skating?

Another awesome winter activity around Merritt, BC is pond skating. There are a number of lakes and ponds that are set up to do this. Although I haven’t actually had the opportunity to try it, I have seen people having  what looks like a lot of fun out skating and playing hockey on the lakes. Logan Lake has a couple rinks set up and I have also seen people on anther lake towards Kamloops where a girl was figure skating and doing some pretty amazing twirls and jumps. My camera would have been great to have.

I really love all the winter activities around Merritt, BC.  I hope that you will also make the trip here and enjoy the Nicola Valley in the winter. We have so much to offer no matter what  time of year it is.

Bird or Wildlife Watching

Bird watching is a fun activity around Merritt in the winter. You can take the trails along the river around Merritt. Or check out some of the bird sanctuaries in the area. Along some of your drives you might want to keep your eyes open for other wildlife as well. Heading towards Mamit Lake you may get a glimpse of the wild horses. And at the lakes where you are ice fishing you may be treated to the bald eagles.

wild horses, merritt bc

Wild horses along highway 97C towards Mamit Lake from Merritt.

bald eagle ice fishing Nicola Valley

Bald eagle waiting to see if it will get a gift of some fish from people ice fishing.

Check out Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers for more great blogs, activities and places to eat and stay in and around the Nicola Valley.

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC