Cooney Bay - Kamloops Lake Loop

Cooney Bay – Kamloops Lake Loop

Doug Smith  April 29, 2020 at 9:58 am

On a calm early April day we launched our kayaks from Cooney Bay and paddled into the rivers flow, down to the lake.   We rounded the corner and followed the shoreline of Cooney Bay.   Our route continued past a few fishermen, rocky bluffs, gravely and shingled shoreline beaches, and railway fixtures toward Battle Bluff.   We passed the tunnel under the bluff and continued around to the west side of the bluff.

The sheer cliffs of Battle Bluff were bleached white in the low-water conditions of early spring.   When it is windy, we can tuck in behind the bluff for sheltered paddling.   The wind whips out around the point so on those days, we veer out and enjoy the wind-assisted return voyage.   But on this day, conditions were warm and calm, so we rounded the point and started the 1.5 km crossing of the lake.   We don’t recommending crossing the lake in windy conditions, nor in a small boat.   Our kayaks are ocean kayaks, seaworthy, with rudders and structural stability.


We crossed over to the beautiful stone arch, constructed with quarried blocks in the 1880s, still in use today by the CPR.   We paddled right underneath, but it is rocky in low water.

We returned on the south shore right up to the river delta which was all sandbars and islands.   Sandhill cranes whooped overhead, a bald eagle tried to grab ducks in Cooney Bay, making multiple attempts, an immature eagle perched on a sand island, ready to attack.     People were arriving at Cooney Bay for a dog walk, a family picnic, or to fish.   We landed and completed our 10.4 km paddle.


sandhill cranes overhead

bald eagle attacking ducks

immature eagle on patrol

blind arch trestle


We try to paddle the lake when calm conditions are forecast, launching out of Cooney Bay, Tobiano, or Savona.   We also paddle downstream from town, landing in Cooney Bay, with a shuttle system.   In freshet, we launch just east of Tranquille at a parking area and paddle out over the fencelines into the floodlands at the river delta, usually in June.



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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

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