Sun Peaks in fall: Wildflowers and adventures await
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As the second largest and one of the top-rated ski resorts in British Columbia, Sun Peaks Resort has long been known as one of the best winter destinations in the province. But all that skiable terrain also makes the area a premier hiking destination - only a four-hour drive from Vancouver, seven hours from Calgary or a 40 min drive from the Kamloops Airport. There are more than 18 hiking trails, from easy to challenging, and some of the most abundant wildflower blooms anywhere in B.C., making Sun Peaks a hiker’s paradise.
We spent a full day hiking the beautiful terrain of Sun Peaks, through meadows full of wildflowers and passed alpine lakes to the summit of Mount Tod. Here’s a taste of our experience.
Up to the alpine
Our day started by jumping on the Sunburst chairlift from the Sun Peaks village. The chairlift provides a scenic ride up to mid-mountain at 1,850 metres. We arrived at the Sunburst Lodge (where we enjoyed a post-hike beer) and bathrooms. Once up in the alpine, the only problem is choosing which hiking trails you want to tackle. The hikes are rated like ski runs, from easy (green), to moderate (blue), to difficult (black diamond).
As experienced hikers, we wanted the full Sun Peaks hiking experience, and decided to tackle the summit of Mount Tod, taking quick detours through the Juniper Loop and to Tod Lake.
Hikers starting the day from mid-mountain.
The Wonderful Wildflower route
From mid-mountain, we started our day of hiking by trekking out to the Juniper Loop, to see the wildflowers. Sun Peaks dubs this the Wonderful Wildflower route, and all the trails are clearly marked so it was easy to find our way.
While the flowers can be found all over the alpine, the Juniper Loop provides one of the most densely blooming areas, along with incredible views of the Sun Peaks village and surrounding mountains. A gentle but steady uphill climb took us to the "Top of the World," elevation 2,080 metres, to soak up the incredible views.
Incredible colours on the Juniper Loop.
To Mount Tod
After taking plenty of photos of the wildflowers, we carried along the West Ridge Trail towards Mount Tod. This 1.5-km stretch of trail was one of the highlights of the day, as we strolled through open meadows with wildflowers and views of Mount Tod up ahead. Panoramic views to the south and a gentle grade made for pleasant hiking in this area.
Soon enough, we reached the base of Mount Tod, where the grunt work began, so we could earn even better panoramic views. Mount Tod sits at an elevation of 2,152 metres, and the trail is steep to reach the top.
Enjoying the hard-earned view from the Mount Tod Summit.
Tod Lake adventure
After soaking up the views at the Mount Tod summit, and catching our breath, it was time to head back to mid-mountain. But we weren’t done exploring yet. We decided to make a long loop of the alpine, and detour to Tod Lake to cool down.
Within 30 minutes of summiting Tod Mountain, we reached Tod Lake where we stopped at the picnic bench to enjoy our lunch before going for a dip in the lake.
From Tod Lake, it was about an hour of easy hiking along the forest slope of Gil’s Trail back to mid-mountain.
Once back at mid-mountain, we had a quick beer at Sunburst Bar + Eatery to cap off the perfect day of hiking.
Tod Lake is about a 30-minute hike from the top of Tod Mountain.
Besides all these wonderful hikes, Sun Peaks has plenty to offer in the fall. Mountain biking is by far the most popular activity here.
But the resort also offers golfing, a Mountain Cross Cart course, plus canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals. In the village there is no shortage of restaurants, cafes and bars to relax in after an exhilarating day of enjoying the outdoors.
If you want to combine a weekend of great hiking with some free outdoor music, check out Music in the Mountains with Dan Mangan and Bedouin Soundclash on Aug. 25 and 26.
For more on that, check out FestivalSeekers' story on what’s kicking on Sun Peak’s stage. Read more here.
If you go
To find out about all the special events and things to do at Sun Peaks, head to https://www.sunpeaksresort.com/
Sun Peaks Resort is 40 mins outside of Kamloops, BC - which includes a full service airport and a resort shuttle.
On mountain accommodations on Sun Peaks are abundant, we recommend looking for accommodations right in the heart of the village, car free and streamlined mountain access.