As Louise and I spend the majority of our time in Banff, escaping the summer crowds is something we look forward to just as much as summer itself. There are two ways to escape; either disappear into the backcountry or head to some of the smaller, lesser known Canadian towns. This summer, one of our scheduled escapes is to a beautiful town called Sun Peaks, in British Columbia.
If you’ve heard of Sun Peaks, there’s a good chance that it’s for the annual Snowbombing winter festival, an incredible winter music fest in the BC interior, or for the skiing (Sun Peaks is the 2nd largest ski area in Canada)!
But did you know that Sun Peaks is a great summer spot too? In fact, for anyone looking for a taste of the outdoors but isn’t ready for the big mountains in the Eastern Rockies, it’s the perfect starting point.
Here are 9 things we’re looking forward to checking out at Sun Peaks this summer:
Sun Peaks is another one of those ski resorts that uses its ski lifts in summer to make way for incredible mountain biking. The lift whips you up to 6,000ft where you have a choice of 40 different mountain biking trails and 2,000 ft of vertical to choose from. You can even add another 2,500ft if you’re willing to hike a little further.
Sun Peaks has such a rich history of mountain biking that they’ve had time to develop plenty of terrain for all abilities.
Click here to buy your summer lift ticket!
Sun Peaks has such a rich history of mountain biking that they’ve had time to develop plenty of terrain for all abilities. Being a bit of a beginner myself, I’m looking forward to taking it easy and cruising down some gentle terrain. Louise, being a bit more hardcore might get herself into something more challenging. I plan to enjoy the brand new “Green Flow Trail”; a 9km easy trail that takes you right from mountain top to valley floor.
Summer in BC is legendary for golf, and Sun Peaks is famous for having BC’s highest elevation golf course. As we’re not strong golfers, usually we like to play 9 holes and have a couple of drinks, and we’re already certain we’ll be booking in to the Sun Peaks 9 and dine option; play 9 holes for $60 and get a $15 food voucher for a post game meal.
The golf course also boasts some of the best sunset views around, so a late afternoon/evening round can be absolutely spectacular.
For such a small town there’s a huge variety of food available, and as there’s no need to drive, there’s a fantastic après vibe (even in summer!). I’m a big fan of pub grub, so I’m looking forward to checking out Powder Hounds and their patio! As if that wasn’t good enough, there’s also a chocolate factory! It’s a good thing we plan to hike so much or else I might be punching a couple of new holes in my belt.
4. Voyageur Canoe Tours
There’s nothing more Canadian than a canoe tour, and it turns out that you can do that in Sun Peaks with Voyageur Canoe Tours. It’s a nice way to explore the area, learn a little about the history of exploration in this very Canadian mode of transport, and do some wildlife sightseeing at the same time! With moose, bears, cougars and much more in the area, it’s a great place to watch safely.
If you’re new to the outdoors, don’t want to go too hardcore or just want to experience a bit of the outdoors without anything too extreme, then Sun Peaks has a number of fantastic beginner hikes. There are over 29km of trails and 16 hikes to choose from, and all lead back to the town (again, no driving after a long hike). The best part is, you can save your legs and take the chairlift straight up to the top, or you can save your joints and take it back down – all the views without the exhausting elevation gains!
If you come during the summer (when we’re visiting), there’s the added bonus of all the mountain wild flowers, and if you’re here from July 28-30, there’s the stunning annual Alpine Blossom Festival to check out.
Throughout the summer, Sun Peaks abounds with events and activities. Here are a few of them:
Sun Peaks Market
There’s the Sun Peaks Sunday market each week, where you can buy local produce and crafts, or catch a live band or educational speaker.
Between July 16 and August 10, the town puts on various free events for children. Activities include nature walks, time on the driving range, plays, trampolining, science demonstrations and more. Find something great for your kids to do and free yourself up for some of the more adventurous activities!
Music in the Mountains
Music in the Mountains is just one of the many concerts taking place in Sun Peaks over the summer. Acts this year include Bedouin Soundclash and Dan Mangan. This year’s concert takes place on August 25-26. There are plenty of other music events too, so be sure to check the event schedule.
If you’re looking for something a little more competitive or just want to watch something epic, then Sun Peaks hosts a variety of fantastic challenges/races over the summer; including the “North Face Dirty Feet Mountain Run” and the “Yeah Bru! Grass Dual Slalom World Cup”. Keep checking the event schedule for other sports events!
7. Ditching the car
Sun Peaks is a small area, so there’s really no need to use the car at all. “You park your car, and you’re done”. It’s one of those great resort towns where everything is within walking distance and you really start to feel like you’re on vacation. It makes for a whole lot more patio time..which I’m very excited about, and it also means that once you’re back from your hard day of activities, you can grab food and waddle back to bed without having to worry about driving a long way afterwards.
8. Mountain Cross Go-Karts
This concept sounds totally unique and you can guarantee I’ll be first in line when we arrive; it’s like something out of Whacky Races. A full on downhill course in your very own gravity assisted go-kart. There’s even a clock at the bottom for added competition. Louise and I are probably going to fall out over who the better driver is but we’re excited to try something so unique.
9. Take a Day Trip
Sun Peaks is very close to the Okanagan Valley and as a result it’s a great home base if you’re looking to head out for a day trip during your stay. As Sun Peaks is so close to the Okanagan region, it’s a great place to try a wine tour or two. It’s also a great opportunity to check out some of Canada’s incredible wildlife!
One of the best options combines the two and is run by a company called Tastefull excursions. Their Wildlife and Wine tour takes you to two fantastic wineries, followed by a visit to the BC Wildlife Park after lunch. It’s a great way to experience two very different sides to British Columbia, and the best part is that Tastefull excursions can pick you up from the resort! Book here!
Aside from wine and wildlife tours, you can also find plenty of other activities in the surrounding area, such as zip-lining.
There are plenty of things to do in Sun Peaks, and Louise and I are excited to explore our list over the coming weeks. Our wedding this month was absolutely exhausting, and we’re pumped to spend a few days relaxing at Sun Peaks. Hopefully our post has given you some great ideas now too!
This post is sponsored by Sun Peaks resort, but all opinions are our own.