The road through Nicola Valley connects Merritt to Kamloops and covers zillions of acres beyond. The history goes way back and has some very interesting connections to the past. Nicola was named by the fur traders after the most prominent of the chiefs of the First Nations people as they couldn’t pronounce his name properly.
Hwy 5A follows this scenic valley and passes by several lakes as we drive through the valley. The Nicola Lake is the first one we see when we leave Merritt. It was glacially formed and it was this lake that attracted the Nicola people to settle in this location. Nicola Lake wanders the curve of the valley for 22 km offering several locations for vacationers to enjoy.
Stump Lake offers some good fishing in the Spring and fall with Rainbow and Brook Trout and Kokanee. They’re not as large as they once were but still big enough for a good meal after a successful fishing day. There is a boat launch just off the highway and a day use site for the public to use but that wasn’t visible due to high water when we were here on this day. Stump Lake Ranch, established in 1883 is still in these ranchland hills but much smaller than it was at one time.
The approximately 100 km (60 mi) of road though the Nicola Valley passes by several lakes. Between Merritt to Kamloops, they include Nicola, Stump, Napier, Ritchie, Trapp and Shumway Lakes. Other lakes are accessed by side roads off of 5A. This photo was taken on a previous trip when the eagles and their young were enjoying the flooded fields. We stopped to watch their playful time before moving onto find another group, as well.
The scenery we see while driving through the valley is very picturesque, great to enjoy on a nice summer day and imagining the history of this beautiful valley. Trapp Lake is not known for fishing nor for recreational although paddlers have access to the lake and as we follow them, we see it makes a nice scenic drive for a motorcycle ride, too.
There are several ranches throughout the Nicola Valley, some of which are very famous. The Nicola Ranch, Quilchena Ranch, Stump Lake Ranch and Douglas Lake ranch likely the best known, have all existed for a very long time and with interesting history, as well.
Kamloops has several groups like the Kamloops Canoe and Kayak Club who call Shumway Lake home. During the 25 years that KCKC have been, they’ve produced some successful paddlers and events as well as collected several awards. They’re not active due to the CoVid virus at this time so the lake is very quiet but we did see one kayaker making her way down the lake.
Now ends our scenic tour of the Nicola Valley and the history lesson of this pretty valley. Just another reason to see why there is no place like home.