Entering Gold Country from the east, you will be welcomed by a land of rugged scenery; mountains with multi-hued lava cliffs, crystal blue lakes and sage filled desert.
MAP OF THE CITY
Savona Ferry, as it was then known, was established in the 1800s, and served as the last stop on the Cariboo Wagon Road from Cache Creek. Travellers would disembark the BX stagecoach to board the steamship for their journey up the lake to Kamloops, or continue on to the Shuswap Lakes. When the Canadian Pacific Railway line was built on the south side of Kamloops Lake in 1885, the community was moved across the ice-covered lake, building by building, to the new south-shore site of Savona.
The Deadman Valley is a traditional gathering place of the people of the Shuswap (Sequa’pmug or Secwepemc) First Nation. With European settlement and the diminishing of First Nations land, a reserve was formed around a traditional winter settlement in the Deadman Valley. The Skeetchestn Reserve was founded in 1877. As for the “Deadman” name, it reportedly dates back to 1817, when Pierre Charette of the North West Company (a fur trading outfit based in Montreal) was murdered by his travelling companion.
Things to Do
Savona Community Heritage Centre
6640 Tingley St.
Journey down memory lane at the nearby Savona Community Heritage Centre, where the folklore and history of the region are shared. Open year round on Wednesdays, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Centre of the Universe
In 1980, a Tibetan monk was sent by his master to Vidette Lake in the Deadman Valley, to help determine whether this location could be the centre of the universe. The monk stayed at the Vidette Vidette Lake Nature Retreat, a former 1860’s Fur Trading Post. Further tests conducted by a group of monks in 1984 and 1988 led to the conclusion that the centre of the universe was located on the resort’s property. It continues to be a site of pilgrimage for Tibetan monks. Call the resort in advance to book a tour of the “Centre of the Universe”.
Deadman Valley Hoodoos
Situated in the Castle Rock Hoodoos Provincial Park, these spectacular formations are some of the finest examples of hoodoos that can be seen from a public roadway in British Columbia. According to ancient First Nations folklore, the hoodoos represent invading warriors who broke a promise and were turned to stone. Due to erosion, please admire the hoodoos from a distance to help preserve them for future generations.
Visit the Deadman Falls, a spectacular display of water cascading down 200 feet into a narrow canyon. The falls are approximately 5km north of the Vidette Lake Nature Retreat on the Deadman Vidette Road.
‘$100 View’ Lookout & Rest Stop
Heading east from Savona along the beautiful shores of Kamloops Lake, you’ll arrive at a stop that offers 180 degrees of spectacular views. From the pull-off approximately 1/2km west of the Lookout, visitors can view the ‘Balancing Rock’: a boulder perched atop a clay Hoodoo pillar that has been eroded over thousands of years. This structure is susceptible to erosion and is of special significance in First Nations heritage, so please help to preserve this site by keeping your distance!
The Gold Country GeoTourism Program is the perfect way to begin your explorations of Copper Desert Country. With hidden caches placed at carefully selected sites of interest, you can discover the rugged trails once taken by fur traders, an abandoned gold mine and much more.
KGHM International hosts Ajax Project site tours. Tours will run every Thursday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m., conditions permitting. Participants will enjoy a tour of the site with a knowledgeable guide and will learn about the site’s long mining history and KGHMI International’s’ plans for the Ajax Project. The Ajax Mine Tour is approximately 90 minutes in length and will begin at the Inks Lake Road overpass along Lake Le Jeune Road.
Gold! Yes, there is gold in Gold Country! The sound of rushing water, as you fill your pan with gravel and sand, the excitement of seeing something glitter in the sun as you work away the sediment and are left with some flakes that spark a smile of satisfaction on your face as you think of all of those pioneers and settlers who came through this region to seek riches during the Gold Rush. Gold panning is a fun, recreational activity for the entire family. It requires patience and oftentimes there may be no golden reward at the end of the day, but you will be rewarded with some lifetime memories that were created while out exploring the waters edge. Seeing fish leaping out in the waves, eagles circling overhead and deer coming down from the mountains to drink the cool water are some of the wildlife experiences you may have while trying your hand at panning.
East of Savona, on a bluff overlooking Kamloops Lake, is Tobiano – a golfer’s paradise. Cliffs, canyons and a dusting of sagebrush make this course one of the most picturesque in British Columbia, and an unforgettable experience for any golf enthusiast. Open from April to October.
Savona Community Park
Swim or relax on the beach on a sunny day, enjoy a picnic or a friendly game of horseshoes.
Launch your boat at Savona and set out for some great fly-fishing or an exhilarating day of waterskiing.
Steelhead Provincial Park
Situated with a beach on Kamloops Lake, Steelhead Provincial Park is a beautiful spot for camping and fishing.
Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park
Swimming, fishing, boating, hiking and biking can all be enjoyed at Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park. With a campground and resort onsite, this getaway has all the amenities you need.
Tunkwa Provincial Park
A great spot for trout fishing, Tunkwa Provincial Park has some first rate amenities on offer for visitors year round. For hiking, biking, horseback riding and ATV riding, head to the large trail network behind Leighton Lake (accessible from the parking lot just beyond the entrance to Leighton Lake).
Mount Savona & Savona Caves
Stunning views as well as beautiful seams of agate and green opals make this area extremely popular with hang-gliders, hikers and rock hounds. The caves are situated at the summit of the mountain, an ancient volcano, and were once used for ancient rituals and celebrations. Please respect the pictographs that can be seen in the caves.
Take in incredible volcanic lava cliffs and rolling ranchland as you travel up Deadman Creek Road. This landscape is perfect for hikers, bikers, and rock hounds.
This picturesque farming area is home to equestrian opportunities, hiking, and biking. Popular dirt biking and mountain biking trails can be discovered on Greenstone Mountain, accessible via Greenstone Mountain Road in Cherry Creek.
Located near Paska Lake, Chuwhels Mountain is covered in trails for hikers, dirt bikers, ATV riders and horse riders.
The Overlander Ski Club maintains popular cross-country ski and snowshoe trails around Stake Lake. Kids’ ski equipment rentals and snowshoe rentals for all ages are available. Some of Stake Lake’s cross-country ski trails extend to Lac Le Jeune. Cross-country skiing is also available at Tunkwa Provincial Park. There are numerous snowmobile trails in Copper Desert Country, including Lac Le Jeune, Tunkwa Provincial Park. Greenstone Mountain and the Tranquille Lake/Porcupine Meadows Snowmobile Trail System.
MORE THINGS TO DO +
Visit the Tobiano Golf Course Restaurant (Phone: 1-877-373-2218) for a fine dining experience with Mediterranean and Latin flavours. For casual fare, visit the Roadhouse Café in Savona (1171 Trans-Canada Hwy. Phone: 250-373-2352).
FULL LIST OF DINING OPTIONS
The Deadman’s Creek Rodeo takes place annually in the spring. This family-friendly adrenalin fueled event is held at the Skeetchestn First Nation Band rodeo grounds.
Located southeast of Lillooet, Cliff and Gorge Vineyards offers amazing wine tasting and a beautiful scenic landscape including two signed walks to heighten your experience. Reviews: 5/5 star averageJeanette Freiberg5/5 stars 3 weeks ago"A hidden gem, a fabulous host, and the most breathtaking scenery! Eckhard was so welcoming and accommodating. He’s a great conversationalist and made us feel right at home. We took a 25-minute walk around the gorge (accompanied by the best dog!) and caught stunning views. Eckhard then joined us for a picnic (we brought our own food) and we stayed well into the night. A wonderful experience. Thank you!"Sulliman Aïad5/5 stars 11 months ago"Amazing views, amazing hike, amazing chat with the owner and overall amazing experience at Cliff and Gorge. If you're looking for a wine tasting where you can take your time, enjoy the sun, and have a leisurely chat with the owner, you've found the right place - and, I believe, one of the only places in BC where you can get this kind of personal experience."Brandi Read5/5 stars 2 years ago"My favourite winery experiences are those that feel like you've pulled up to someone's barn and then they surprise you by pouring a delicious glass of wine from their farm. Cliff and Gorge is no flashy big-time winery. It is local, thoughtful, delicious small batch wines cultivated in a rugged and beautiful part of the country. The whites and rose are perfume-y and I could sit all day under those big trees sipping and staring at the weather systems that roll along that beautiful mountain range. Worth the trek."Visit Cliff and Gorge Vineyards at18460 Texas Creek Rd, Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0250-256-8000www.cliffandgorge.com/#SupportLocal #ExploreGoldCountryBC #ExploreBC #Geocaching #GreenLake #70MileHouse #BigBarLake #LoonLake #ClintonBC #HatCreek #CacheCreek #Savona #Walhachin #Ashcroft #Lillooet #LoganLake #SpencesBridge #Lytton... See MoreSee Less
The Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) is a fascinating freshwater gastropod mollusk that can be found in ponds, lakes, slow-moving rivers, and marshes across Europe, parts of Asia, and North America. As a popular subject of study for biologists and nature enthusiasts alike, these snails boast a range of unique characteristics and behaviours. Let's dive into the world of Great Pond Snails and learn more about these intriguing creatures!The Great Pond Snail is one of the larger snail species, with adult individuals typically reaching a size of about 1.5 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) in length. They have a spiral-shaped, coiled shell that is usually a light to dark brown colour, with prominent growth rings. The shell serves as protection for the snail's soft body and can be withdrawn entirely inside when threatened.Great Pond Snails are primarily aquatic creatures, preferring still or slow-moving freshwater bodies. They are adaptable and can be found in various habitats, from clear waters to more nutrient-rich, eutrophic environments. This widespread species has been introduced to many parts of the world, sometimes unintentionally through the movement of aquatic plants or fish.These snails are herbivores and predominantly graze on algae, which they scrape off rocks and other submerged surfaces. They use their radula, a specialized tongue-like organ with tiny teeth, to rasp away at the algae. Additionally, Great Pond Snails have been known to eat decaying plant matter and detritus, contributing to the ecosystem's nutrient cycling.One of the most intriguing features of Great Pond Snails is their respiratory system. They possess a specialized structure called a "pulmonary cavity" that functions as a lung, allowing them to breathe oxygen from the air while being submerged. To facilitate this, the snails surface periodically and extend a small snorkel-like tube, known as a "pallial siphon," to the water's surface to breathe.Great Pond Snails are hermaphroditic, which means each individual possesses both male and female reproductive organs. However, they still require a partner for mating. During mating, both snails transfer sperm to each other, and each can lay eggs fertilized by the partner's sperm. The eggs are deposited in gelatinous masses attached to submerged objects and vegetation, providing protection for the developing embryos.Great Pond Snails play a crucial role in freshwater ecosystems. As algae grazers, they help to control algal blooms and maintain the ecological balance in their habitats. Additionally, they serve as a food source for various predators, such as birds, fish, and insects, contributing to the food web's dynamics.Though they lack eyes, Great Pond Snails have a well-developed sense of touch and chemical sensing. They utilize tactile and chemical cues to navigate their environment, locate food, and detect potential threats.While Great Pond Snails are generally abundant and not considered endangered, their populations can be affected by habitat destruction, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species. Efforts to preserve and protect their habitats are crucial to maintaining healthy freshwater ecosystems. Photo: Water snail Rex 1 Public Domain, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=219513#WildlifeWednesday #ExploreGoldCountryBC #ExploreBC #Geocaching #GreenLake #70MileHouse #BigBarLake #LoonLake #ClintonBC #HatCreek #CacheCreek #Savona #Walhachin #Ashcroft #Lillooet #LoganLake #SpencesBridge #Lytton... See MoreSee Less
The Paska Lake Paddle "Trail" is a 4Km long route excellent for paddle sports. Be sure to bring your kayak if you're headed to the beautiful Paska Lake.#TrailingTuesday #ExploreGoldCountryBC #ExploreBC #Geocaching #70MileHouse #GreenLake #BigBarLake #LoonLake #ClintonBC #HatCreek #CacheCreek #Savona #Walhachin #Ashcroft #Lillooet #LoganLake #SpencesBridge #Lytton... See MoreSee Less