Shuswap River

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The basin of the Shuswap River (pronounced /ˈʃuːʃwɑːp/) lies northeast of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, originating in the central Monashee Mountains. It is the upper part of the drainage better known to British Columbians as belonging to Shuswap Lake and the South Thompson River. The river's drainage basin is over 1,969 square kilometres (760 sq mi) in area. [1]

Monashee Mountains

The Monashee Mountains are a mountain range lying mostly in British Columbia, Canada, extending into the U.S. state of Washington. They stretch 530 km (329 mi) from north to south and 150 km (93 mi) from east to west. They are a sub-range of the Columbia Mountains. The highest summit is Mount Monashee, which reaches 3,274 m (10,741 ft). The name is from the Gaelic monadh and sith, meaning "mountain" and "peace".

British Columbia province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.016 million as of 2018, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Shuswap Lake lake

Shuswap Lake is a lake located in south-central British Columbia, Canada that drains via the Little River into Little Shuswap Lake. Little Shuswap Lake is the source of the South Thompson River, a branch of the Thompson River, a tributary of the Fraser River. It is at the heart of a region known as the Shuswap Country or "the Shuswap", noted for its recreational lakeshore communities including the city of Salmon Arm. The name "Shuswap" is derived from the Shuswap or Secwepemc First Nations people, the most northern of the Interior Salish peoples, whose territory includes the Shuswap. The Shuswap call themselves /ʃǝxwépmǝx/ in their own language, which is called /ʃǝxwepmǝxtʃín/, but the ethnonym’s original meaning is now lost.



The river is in three sections, an upper part beginning at Joss Pass, at the northern end of the Sawtooth Range of the Monashees and emptying into Sugar Lake southeast of the south end of that range. The next section of the river curves south from Sugar Lake to wind up running north again before entering Mabel Lake, which is a fair-sized mountain lake as typical of much of Interior British Columbia (e.g. Shuswap and Adams Lakes elsewhere in the same season, the original Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lake). Below Mabel Lake is the last stretch of the river west towards the town of Enderby at the north end of the Okanagan Corridor, after which the Shuswap River drains into Mara Lake. Mara Lake is connected via a channel named Sicamous Narrows to the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake at Sicamous which empties via the 3.5 km canal-like Little Shuswap River into Little Shuswap Lake. At that lake's lower end is Chase and the beginning of the South Thompson River.

Adams Lake lake

Adams Lake is a large, deep, coldwater lake. The southern end of the lake is approximately 30 km (19 mi) north of the town of Chase in the Shuswap Country region of British Columbia, Canada. The lake's upper reaches lie in the northern Monashee Mountains, while its lower end penetrates the Shuswap Highland.

Arrow Lakes lake

The Arrow Lakes in British Columbia, Canada, divided into Upper Arrow Lake and Lower Arrow Lake, are widenings of the Columbia River. The lakes are situated between the Selkirk Mountains to the east and the Monashee Mountains to the west. Beachland is fairly rare, and is interspersed with rocky headlands and steep cliffs. Mountain sides are heavily forested, and rise sharply to elevations around 2,600 metres.

Kootenay Lake lake in Canada

Kootenay Lake is a lake located in British Columbia, Canada and is part of the Kootenay River. The lake has been raised by the Corra Linn Dam and has a dike system at the southern end, which, along with industry in the 1950s-70s, has changed the ecosystem in and around the water. The Kootenay Lake ferry is a year-round toll-free ferry that crosses between Kootenay Bay and Balfour. The lake is a popular summer tourist destination.

Tributaries of the Shuswap River include Wap Creek, by which a short pass at Three Valley Gap connects to Highway 1 between Craigellachie and Revelstoke.

Craigellachie, British Columbia Place in British Columbia, Canada

Craigellachie is a locality in British Columbia, located several kilometres to the west of the Eagle Pass summit between Sicamous and Revelstoke. Craigellachie is the site of a tourist stop on the Trans-Canada Highway between Salmon Arm and Revelstoke.

Revelstoke, British Columbia City in British Columbia, Canada

Revelstoke ( is a city in southeastern British Columbia, Canada with a population of 6,719 in 2016. It is located 641 kilometres east of Vancouver, and 415 kilometres west of Calgary, Alberta. The city is situated on the banks of the Columbia River just south of the Revelstoke Dam and near its confluence with the Illecillewaet River. East of Revelstoke are the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park, penetrated by Rogers Pass used by the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. South of the community down the Columbia River are the Arrow Lakes, Mount Begbie, and the Kootenays. West of the city is Eagle Pass through the Monashee Mountains and the route to Shuswap Lake.


The Shuswap River has a long history of use for transporting both people and goods. Log Drives were once an annual event, with logs sent down the river from Mabel Lake during the high waters of spring runoff to the many lumber mills along the banks of the Shuswap River in Enderby, Grindrod and Mara. During the late 1800s, paddlewheelers transported goods and people up the Shuswap River from Mara Lake to Enderby at Fortune's Landing, where they would be transported by stagecoach to Okanagan Landing west of Vernon. Many a paddlewheeler became beached on shifting sandbars in the river, and transportation was slow. With the opening of the Shuswap-Okanagan Railway in 1892, the need for paddlewheelers on the Shuswap River declined.

Enderby, British Columbia City in British Columbia, Canada

The City of Enderby is in the North Okanagan region of the Canadian province of British Columbia, between Armstrong and Salmon Arm. It is approximately 80 km north of Kelowna and 130 km east of Kamloops. Highway 97A passes through Enderby and the Shuswap River marks the eastern and northeastern limits of the City. There are two major schools in Enderby: M.V. Beattie Elementary School and A.L. Fortune Secondary School. M.V. Beattie Elementary School was rebuilt in 2012.


The Shuswap River is now a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking and tubing. The Shuswap Hut and Trail Alliance is proposing a Hut and Trail system which will join the Shuswap River waterway to over 280 km of mountain hiking trails surrounding Shuswap Lake. The Annual Kayak Rodeo is held at the beginning of June at the Kingfisher Rapids near Mabel Lake. Fishing is popular during the annual Salmon Run in late August - early September.

Mabel Lake lake in Canada

Mabel Lake is a lake located in southern Interior British Columbia, Canada, that is fed by and drained by the Shuswap River. It is located southeast of Shuswap Lake, northeast of Okanagan Lake, and west of the Monashee Mountains, and is popular for camping and fishing.

See also

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Columbia-Shuswap Regional District regional district of British Columbia

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Monashee Provincial Park provincial park in British Columbia, Canada

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Quesnel Highland mountain in Canada

The Quesnel Highland is a geographic area in the Central Interior of the Canadian province of British Columbia. As defined by BC government geographer in Landforms of British Columbia, an account and analysis of British Columbia geography that is often cited as authoritative, the Highland is a complex of upland hill and plateau areas forming and defined as being the buffer between the Cariboo Plateau and the Cariboo Mountains, as a sort of highland foothills along the eastern edge of the Interior Plateau running southeast from a certain point southeast of the city of Prince George to the Mahood Lake area at the southeast corner of the Cariboo. Beyond Mahood Lake lies another separately classified area dubbed by Holland the Shuswap Highland which spans similar terrain across the North Thompson and Shuswap Lake-Adams River drainage basins, forming a similar upland-area buffer between the Thompson Plateau and the Monashee Mountains. A third area, the Okanagan Highland, extends from the southern end of the Shuswap Highland in the area of Vernon and Enderby in the northern Okanagan region into Washington State, and also abuts the Monashee Mountains.

Shuswap Highland

The Shuswap Highland is a plateau-like hilly area of 14,511 km2 (5,603 sq mi) in British Columbia, Canada. It spans the upland area between the Bonaparte and Thompson Plateaus from the area of Mahood Lake, at the southeast corner of the Cariboo Plateau, southeast towards the lower Shuswap River east of Vernon in the Okanagan. The highland is not a unified range, but a combination of small uplands broken up by the valleys of the Clearwater, North Thompson and Adams Rivers and also by the lowlands in the southwest flanking Shuswap Lake. In that area of the valley are the towns of Falkland, Westwold, and Monte Creek along Highway 97. This area also includes the Spa Hills, and the other isolated pockets of hills and mini-plateaus between the Thompson Plateau proper and Shuswap Lake. The highest point of the Highland is Matterhorn Peak in the Dunn Peak massif at 2636 meters.

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The Shuswap Country, or simply the Shuswap is a term used in the Canadian province of British Columbia to refer to the environs of Shuswap Lake. The upper reaches of the Shuswap basin, southeast of Shuswap Lake and northeast of the Okanagan, are generally considered to be part of Okanagan or of the Monashee Country rather than "the Shuswap". Roughly defined, the Shuswap Country begins on its west at the town of Chase, located on Little Shuswap Lake, west of which is the South Thompson area of the Thompson Country, and includes Adams Lake to the northwest of Shuswap Lake as well as communities in the Eagle River area as far as Craigellachie and/or Three Valley Gap, which is at the summit of Eagle Pass, beyond which eastwards is the Columbia Country.

Mara Lake lake in Canada

Mara Lake is a lake in the Shuswap Country of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada, located immediately south of the community of Sicamous and to the north of the community of Enderby. It is the outlet of the Shuswap River, which begins in the Monashee Mountains to the east. Its own outlet is Sicamous Narrows, which is a short canal-like stretch of water connecting to Shuswap Lake and passing beneath the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline at Sicamous. All are part of the drainage of the South Thompson River, which begins at the outlet of Little Shuswap Lake.

Adams River (British Columbia) river in Canada

The Adams River is a tributary to the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in British Columbia, Canada. Beginning in the Monashee Mountains to the north, the Upper Adams River flows mainly southward and eventually reaches Adams Lake. The Lower Adams River begins at the southern end of the lake and flows into the extreme western end of Shuswap Lake. The river is one of the most important sockeye salmon breeding areas in North America. The run occurs in mid-October and can bring millions of fish to a concentrated area near the river mouth. Excavations of Secwepemc villages on the river have shown a long tradition of habitation and salmon fishing in the area. The river also served as an important transportation route for early logging operations in the watershed.

The Sawtooth Range is a subrange of the Shuswap Highland area of the central Monashee Mountains in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. It is located between Mabel Lake (W) and Sugar Lake (E) and bounded on the south by the upper Shuswap River. Its northern boundary is just south of the Three Valley Gap area of Eagle Pass, which is the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline and the Trans-Canada Highway. To the east, across the uppermost Shuswap River above Sugar Lake, is the Gold Range of the main spine of the Monashees, to which it is connected by the col of Joss Pass. To the west, it is adjoined by the rest of the Shuswap Highland, of which it is a part and is an intermediary mountainous plateau between the Monashees and the northeastern Thompson Plateau.

The Seymour River is a river in the North Shuswap of British Columbia, Canada. It begins in the Monashee Mountains north of Shuswap Lake, and flows south into the northern end of the Seymour Arm of the lake.


  1. "Shuswap River Water Use Plan" (PDF). BC Hydro. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 16, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2008.

The BC Geographical Names is a geographic name web service and database for British Columbia, Canada, which is run and maintained by the Base Mapping and Geomatic Services Branch of the Integrated Land Management Bureau. The database contains official names and spellings of towns, mountains, rivers, lakes, and other geographic places. The database often has other useful information, such as the history of geographic names, and their use in history.

Coordinates: 50°43′00″N119°03′00″W / 50.71667°N 119.05000°W / 50.71667; -119.05000