Travel: Hiking trip near Savona reveals stunning views, secret caves

The following is part of a series of articles by Kamloops travel writer Teresa Cline, author of Teresa the Traveler Tells You . . . Where to Go and How to Get There - a guide to off the beaten path sites in the B.C. Interior. It's available at Walmart, Runner's Sole and Golden Buddha.

Fall is the best time for hiking because the weather is perfect and the fall colours never fail to inspire.
I love hiking trails that provide a great reward at the end, such as a beautiful view, a stunning waterfall or a secret cave.

One of my favourites is to the Savona caves. Not only does it provide a great workout, it has a stunning view, some secret caves and lots of ancient cave drawings.

The local natives once had rituals and celebrations in and around the caves, leaving behind authentic cave drawings for hikers to discover. When you get to the mouth of the second cave, just look up and to see them.

Savona Mountain is an eroded shield volcano and the trail leading to the caves follows eroded volcanic ridges. The beautiful rock formations include agates and green opals, providing countless treasures for rock hounds. The site, which is also the location of a geocache, can be reached by hiking for 1½ to two hours from the trailhead.

Beginning with 15-20 minutes of flat ground, the trail then goes straight up on a slope for about 45 minutes, so make sure to wear good shoes. Don't attempt the single cave to the left without rock climbing gear; instead head for the big crack to the right.

April through November is the best time to climb the two-kilometres trail, which brings hikers close to an elevation of 1,200 metres and can be quite steep.

The caves are within a 45-minute drive of downtown Kamloops.

Follow the Trans Canada Highway toward Savona and continue until the Savona Mill is on the right side. Keep an eye out on the left for Tunkwa Lake Road; it's before the mill and gas station, so if you're past the gas station, turn around.

Take a kilometre reading from the start of Tunkwa Lake Road, and continue along the main road. The road will turn to good gravel; continue until kilometre 10.9.

From here, the caves can be seen in the mountain on the right, high on the ridge. Move on to kilometre 11.1 and turn right off Tunkwa Lake Road and over a cattle guard. Go half a kilometre, past the power lines and 20 metres past another road on the left.

At this point is a fork in the road. The fork is not equal, the left side is the major road and the right is somewhat hidden; also there is a deep rut dividing the main, left road from the right fork. Turn right at this fork and park just inside it. Walk up this right side road, and you will see it ends at a turn-around.

This is the trailhead, and there should be some forestry ribbon, but the trailhead is pretty obvious.

Stay on the main trail, which is well worn in. Cellphone service is usually available from top. For more information and a map, visit www.trailpeak.com.

To discover other interesting day trips in our area, visit Teresa's website at www.WhereToGoAndHowToGetThere.com

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