Set on the remote northern arm of beautiful Shuswap Lake, Silver Beach is a destination for boaters, anglers and beach-goers who desire great views and sparse crowds. The park hugs the banks of Seymour River estuary, offering quick access for swimmers, canoeists, windsurfers and kayakers who want to enjoy the lake's crystal-clear waters. For waterskiiers and power boaters, there's a convenient boat launch in nearby Seymour Arm. This charming, unincorporated village was a bustling boom town, called Ogden City, during the heyday of BC's gold rush. History buffs can view some of the relics from that era scattered across town.
Shuswap Lake is famed for its fishing. The lake is home to 19 species of freshwater fish, over a dozen of which are prized game species. Shuswap boasts quantity as well as quality; every fall, a massive congregation of sockeye salmon occurs at the outlet of the Adams river. Some two million fish can be seen here annually. Visitors can take in the unbelievably massive gathering from a boat, or they can see it from under the surface - scuba diving is popular in the Shuswap as well!
Silver Beach's well-wooded campground is accessible by land and by lake. Drive an RV or trailer up the long forest service road which hugs the lake's western edge, or sail right up to a spot. There are 35 sites in total, and all are first-come first-served.
Seymour Arm, the town adjacent to the park, is located at the remote northern tip of Shuswap Lake. To get there requires a long drive along the lake's western shore. From the small town of Squilax, which is just off of BC-1 (the Trans-Canadian Highway), it is a 52 mile (83 km) drive to Silver Beach. Of those 52 miles, half are on a gravel road. Though the route is well-maintained, it is narrow at parts and travelers, especially those hauling larger rigs, should drive cautiously. Check with the park's website for up-to-date information on the road's condition, as landslides and flooding do occasionally shut sections down.
The park's layout is simple, with the main access road leading straight to the campground. Sites are back-in but are well-separated and should present few challenges to those driving small to moderate sized RVs and trailers. Limited day-use parking is available near the beach, too.
Silver Beach’s campground, located in a lovely wooded stand of Douglas fir and aspen, is picturesque but primitive. Thirty-five sites are accessible to vehicle, tent and even boat campers. The former two can reach the park via a Forest Service road from Anglemont, while boaters can simply motor up the northern arm of the lake, into the estuary and right up to a campsite.
There are no water, electric or sewage hookups available at Silver Beach. No sani-dump stations are available in the park either - for those, you’ll have to head into town. The campground does have a few pit toilets, and there is potable water available from spigots located at a nearby pair of baseball diamonds. The quiet town of Seymour Arm offers food and camping supplies.
The campground is open from April to October, with regular services being offered from mid-May through early September. All sites are first-come first-served.
The sparkling waters of Shuswap Lake form a massive playground for watersports enthusiasts. There are over 120 square miles (310 square kilometers) to explore. Enjoy a placid paddle in a canoe or kayak, or zip across the glassy surface on a pair of water skis. On blustery days, you may even see windsurfers out and about on Shuswap.
There are several public boat launches located around the lake, though the nearest launch to Silver Beach is at the marina in Seymour Arm. Make sure you stay aware of current regulations - sometimes, temporary boating restrictions are put in place by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Silver Beach is one of the finest stretches of sand on all of Shuswap Lake, and the relatively calm waters at the estuary where the park is situated make for great swimming conditions. Summer temperatures can stretch into the 80's Fahrenheit (27+ Celsius), making a dip in the lake an attractive proposition. Sunbathing is a great option too - it’s hard to imagine a more scenic spot to work on a tan.
Silver Beach does not have any lifeguards on staff, so make sure children are supervised at all times.
Shuswap is a popular scuba diving destination, boasting many great dive sites and attractions. Several wall-dives showcase the lake bed’s geology and surprising depth. There are wrecks to be explored too, including those of a tugboat and an old railway barge.
Perhaps the biggest draw for divers, though, is the astounding salmon run that occurs during late September and early October. Every year, where the Adams River flows into the Shuswap, over two million sockeye salmon congregate as they prepare for the last leg of the journey to their spawning grounds. Divers can immerse themselves in the teeming waters and gain a unique and spectacular perspective of one of nature’s grand events.
Shuswap Lake and its surroundings support a wide range of fauna, and you’ll be almost certain to encounter some fascinating wildlife during a visit to Silver Beach. Iconic megafauna that may be seen in the area include black bear, moose, mule deer and even the occasional grizzly bear. Smaller residents include pine martens, beavers, porcupines and fishers. In spring and fall, many species of migratory songbirds and waterfowl fill the trees and waters, respectively. Shuswap is also notable for its biological diversity - 19 freshwater fish species inhabit the lake. Canoeing, scuba diving and, of course, fishing are great ways to observe the large and often beautiful fish that swim in the lake’s rich, cool waters.
There are few lakes in British Columbia which can rival Shuswap in terms of diversity. While many lakes host two or three game species, Shushwap boasts over a dozen. These include rainbow trout, lake trout, bull trout, burbot, kokanee, chinook, Dolly Varden, northern pikeminnow and several more. The lake’s expansive waters and long, meandering coastline mean every angler should be able to find a spot to themselves. And in addition to rich fishing grounds, the lake offers fantastic views of the surrounding forests and mountains.
As is always the case in British Columbia, make sure you have a valid fishing license before making your first cast.
British Columbia’s mining history is as rich and storied as that of the American West. Throughout the later half of the 19th century, prospectors scrambled across the region’s rugged, unforgiving terrain in search of gold, while mining towns were founded and abandoned at breakneck pace. Seymour Arm used to be the site of Ogden City, a once-thriving gold rush community. Today, the sounds of pick-axes no longer echo across the lake, but there are many traces of the past left around town, including a historic graveyard and several archaeological sites.