On Napier Lake - Kamloops Trails

On Napier Lake – Kamloops Trails

Doug Smith  June 2, 2020 at 9:37 am

I have driven past Napier Lake many times, but had never paddled it; the challenge was to find access to launch a boat.   After a number or stops along the road, I settled on a steep grassy slope near the north end of the lake.   There was a small pullout there to unload.   I attached wheels to the back of the kayak and pulled the boat down the steep hill, across some scrubby shrubs, then to the lakeshore.   Getting down there was not too bad, but I wasn’t looking forward to getting back up.

The Napier Lake Ranch is on the north end of the lake, but there is a small riparian zone on the northwest corner with a small gravel beach.   A rough launch, but once on the water, its a different matter.   When I launched into the lake, there was a steady wind from the south so I paddled into the headwind for 3.5 km.     The lake is a scenic paddle, but the wind dictated a route close to the shoreline, paddling in the lee of a series of hills.

At the south end of the lake, Droppingwater Creek cascades into the lake through a narrow canyon.   The creek originates on the eastern slopes of Hull Hill and flows through the Bute Lakes.   At the other end of the lake, the drainage goes into Ritchie Lake, then Trapp Lake, then Shumway Lake, and down Campbell Creek.

Colorful cliffs, mossy slopes,  and red ossier dogwood at the inlet on the southwest corner of the lake makes this an inviting place to paddle.

Strong tailwinds carried me back to the narrows.   Even the ducks took refuge in sheltered bays.

On the way back, the skies started to clear, and the sun shone on rocky hills rose above grassland slopes.

The final leg of the 7 km paddle was in light winds, passing the beautiful and open but steep slopes on both sides of the lake.

After landing, hauling the 18 foot kayak up a very steep slope was hard, but I will do it again just to paddle this fine valley-bottom lake.


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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.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at: http://www.kamloopstrails.net/

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