Kenna Cartwright Park is a great example of just how easy it is to get outdoors and experience nature in Kamloops. Located a short drive from downtown, Kenna has 40 kilometres (25 miles) of trails that wind through fields of tall grass and sagebrush, pine forests and dry, rocky bluffs. Most trails in Kenna are easy enough for even the most casual hiker, while some trails, particularly those that climb to the highest point of the park, are perfect for those craving a good workout.
On a frosty winter day, my mother and I headed up to Kenna to hike off some of the inevitable holiday indulgences. The temperature was perfect, with no wind and a thick hoarfrost settled on everything like powdered sugar. Kenna is a popular park, so, even with winter snow, trails are well used and require only appropriate footwear.
Our route took us on a gentle trail that skirted the mountain, through grassy meadows dotted with blue sagebrush, that, while fragrant in the summer, were now coated with frost. In the north section of the park, an inversion of dense clouds filled the valley, but it was interesting to see the tips of Mount Peter and Mount Paul peeking out across the way. On clear days, the view is spectacular, a panorama stretching across the valley and encompassing the North and South Thompson rivers and downtown Kamloops.
An interesting but sad element of Kenna are the scars left by Western Pine Beetle. The park lost many beautiful ponderosa pines from this infestation and while most have been removed due to safety issues, a few stark skeletons remain as reminders of the tall trees that covered the hills here. Despite this loss, it’s heartening to see new pines growing throughout the park.
The final leg of our hike brought us into snowy woods, where the frosted trees arched above us and the snow crunched beneath our feet. Hiking in Kenna is a great way to explore the unique landscapes around Kamloops, and as it’s so close to the city, even bordering on neighbourhoods in some areas, it’s an easy and quick escape into nature.
More information on Kenna Cartwright Park and its trails is available on the City of Kamloops website.
Hiking in Kamloops, BC