Bryce Canyon National Park was the 2nd stop on our hiking trip through Utah. Getting to Bryce After a great time in Zion, we drove on to Bryce Canyon National Park to get close to those otherworldly, orange-tinted hoodoos. Bryce Canyon has the most beautiful 3 mile hike I’ve ever been on! But before we […]
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Have you ever watched a nature documentary show with thousands of brightly red colored salmon splashing and making their way up the river? Ever dreamed of seeing the event for yourself?
Well, we’re fortunate enough to live close to one of the best places in the world to see a sockeye salmon run, at the Adams River Salmon Run in the interior of British Columbia, Canada.
You can find this famous salmon migration event happening around four and a half hours east of Vancouver just off the TransCanada Highway 1, right before the small city of Salmon Arm in late September and October every year.
Still not sure? Well the Adams River not only has one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in North America, but if you show up in a dominant year, chances are you will see thousands of brightly colored salmon only a few feet from you.
Tsutswecw Provincial Park (formally Roderick Haig-Brown)
Every year we visit, we’re wowed by the beautiful surroundings the park, and the spectacle of watching millions of Sockeye Salmon return to their historical spawning beds in the Adams River.
Lucky for us, the Tsutswecw Provincial Park (where the Sockeye salmon Run takes place), is less than a two hour’s drive away from our home base in Kelowna. It makes a great day trip for us and a great excuse to be outdoors.
Formerly known as Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, this British Columbia park has now been renamed Tsutswecw Provincial Park (pronounced choo-chwek) in honor of the original aboriginal name the area was once known as.
Regardless of the name, it’s mind boggling to see the salmon struggling to make their way over 250 miles (400 kms) from the Pacific Ocean upstream, only to lay their eggs and die in the same river they were born in.
Salute to the Sockeye Festival
During dominant years, the Tsútswecw Provincial Park runs a Salute to the Sockeye Festival that runs during peak salmon watching season, usually between late September and late October. You can get exact dates for best viewing times, current events and more directly from the Adams River Society.
The first year we saw the salmon run, back in 2010, it took a bit of research to find the park and even more to find information about what to expect once we arrived there. Back then, after pulling into the free small parking lot, there was only a lovely interpretive area, and a few paths to watch from, but we were largely on our own, even considering that it was a dominant year that year.
In the past few years, the event has grown and there are now many walking paths, including a few that are paved, as well as a huge paid parking area with helpers assigning spots, plenty of signs and information booths, as well as food trucks and even special events daily during the peak days.
When to visit the BC Salmon Run
Since 2018 was a dominant run, 2022 and 2026 will be dominant years as well and would be the best years to visit. 2019, 2020, 2023, 2024 and 2025 are considered sub-dominant years, meaning fewer fish, however plenty of salmon can still be found if you happen to be there then.
During a dominant year, it’s not uncommon for over two million Sockeye to return to the area. In the year after a dominant run, you may see 300,000 or more so it’s still not a bad time to visit.
During our last trip, we witnessed the Salute to the Sockeye Festival in full gear at Tsutswecw Provincial Park. The festival takes place every four years during a dominant run.
There’s a visitors centre, and on-path experts that will tell you all about the salmon you’re seeing in the river, artisans, music, events and even food vendors on site.
Trust us, we were thrilled to see a mini donut truck on site and, judging from the line ups, so was everyone else. Since it was later on a Canadian fall day, getting a warm cup of hot chocolate was also a nice bonus.
It can get pretty busy during dominant salmon years, and organizers have thought of pretty much everything, including an impressive row of port-a-potties to handle the crowds.
The best part is that entry to the festival and the park is free. There’s a small per car fee for parking that goes directly to maintaining the park and grounds, however you can park on the road and do the long hike in for free if you’re looking to save a few dollars. We enjoyed easy access to our vehicle and the fee goes towards a good cause so we opted to pay for parking.
Protect the spawning salmon!
Here’s what a lot of people don’t know: the salmon eggs stay in the gravel in the bottom of the river for 90 to 150 days and salmon actually hatch mid-winter. The alevin (larval salmon) stay in the gravel for several more weeks, and then emerge into the stream as fry in April or May.
This means that if you step in the river, or let your dog or children step in the river, you could be destroying thousands of salmon eggs and even face a fine, so please stay out of the water. Also remember not to throw rocks since that can disturb spawning rituals.
How many salmon will I see?
It varies year to year how many salmon come back to the same river to spawn. That said, we’ve never been disappointed. We were lucky enough to see a river teeming with salmon eight years ago, and were still thrilled to see plenty of salmon last year.
Check out our video below, of what the Salmon Run looked like back in 2010 at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, which was also during a dominant run, and happened to be one of the largest salmon runs in recent history.
Every year, the river can change course, and viewing angles can change. We took that video from a viewing platform that was no longer in place at the river in 2018.
Here’s a pretty raw video we took of the Salmon run on the Adams River in 2018. There are definitely less salmon than when we were there back in 2010, but there’s still plenty to see!
What’s the best place in the park to see salmon?
Tsutswecw Provincial Park is a big place, and the river takes a long, circuitous path through the park, making for a lot of potential area to view the salmon spawning.
Depending on a lot of factors, including river volume or past flooding damage, the Adam River path can change year to year. That means it can be a bit tricky to find the best place to see the salmon.
We got the best views of salmon by walking along the river bank, rather than on a viewing platform.
There are 26 km of trails in the park, but we stuck to the 3 or 4 km of trails closer to the parking lot.
Tip! There aren’t a lot of daylight hours in October in Canada for salmon viewing. Sunrise is usually around 7:50 am, with sunset around 4:30 pm. We arrived at around 3:00 pm, and it was already getting cooler. We’d suggest arriving earlier in the day for peak sunshine and warmth!
The easiest access to viewing salmon close up is to take the Lower Trails to the right of the parking lot. Look for the sign for the Island Loop trail to the left at about 200 meters (give or take). The Island Loop trail takes you right along the Adams River, on somewhat flat ground. You will however, need to walk over some loose river rock to access the river so wear good shoes.
Towards the end of the Island Loop trail is a small, shallow creek with hundreds of salmon half out of the water. This was one of the busiest areas, but also one of the best to get a clear view of the salmon themselves.
You should be able to find the most up to date trail map here on the BC Parks website.
If you’re looking to see salmon jump through a waterfall, there’s an area of the park where the Adams River squeezes through a canyon on Bear Creek. You can see the waterfall from the Flume Trail system, though we’ve never visited it. Your best bet would be to chat with park staff to find out more details.
CAUTION: Some portions of the river bank can be dangerous and unstable! Use caution and observe any warning signage!
For 2019 and later, there are a few viewing platforms that should remain stationary. At the east end of the main viewing area, taking the Lower Trails to the left of the parking lot, there’s a large platform that looks down on the river.
Since it’s pretty high up, you won’t get to see salmon up close from here, but it is a really pretty view of the river.
While salmon are the main draw, there is plenty of other wildlife in the park, including beavers, river otters, mink, black bears, and deer. You may even get lucky and see eagles feasting on salmon in the river!
While most of the trails lead to the river, with few amenities, there is a trail that leads from the left of the parking lot, where you can relax at picnic tables near the river. The kids are enjoying they’re hot chocolate from the mini donut food truck!
The main parking area is on flat land, with dirt and gravel cover, with access to the main Salmon Society log cabin.
There’s also a fully accessible trail that’s a little over 30 meters long that winds through the forest and ends at the viewing platform over the river. When we visited, it was a flat trail with gravel (not paved).
That said, we saw the most salmon by walking along the rivers edge, which is a dirt track covered with loose river rock, and quite narrow in parts. We had to walk slowly to get along, so wheelchair access would be impossible right next to the river here.
Where to stay near the Adams River Salmon Run
Since the park is in the wilderness, there are no hotels (or camping, even) on site.
You can camp at Niskonlith Lake Provincial Park and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, which are both within a 20 minute drive. In mid-October it can get well below freezing at night in the Canadian mountains so we wouldn’t recommend tenting unless you’re an experienced camper who has winter camped in below freezing temperatures before.
One of the closest hotels is the independent (and well rated) Jade Mountain Motel. It’s a basic, affordable motel just off the Trans Canada Highway that should run under $100 CDN a night.See rates for the Jade Mountain Motel here.
There are also a handful of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the nearby village of Sorrento, BC.
The nearest small city is Salmon Arm. We like the Comfort Inn & Suites Salmon Arm, which is a good value at around $110 CAD a night.See rates for the Comfort Inn & Suites Salmon Arm here.
If you’re staying in Kamloops (which is about an hour to the West, and on the way from Vancouver), the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot Kamloops rates well.See rates for the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot Kamloops here.
How to get to the Adams River Salmon Run at Tsutswecw Provincial Park
Most visitors come by car or by tour bus. The nearest cities are Kamloops (50 minutes), Salmon Arm (40 minutes ), or the small town of Chase (10 minutes).
Our home town of Kelowna is just under a 2 hour drive, and Vernon is just over an hour away.
Vancouver is about four and a half hours by car and Calgary is seven hours by car. The nearest international airport to Tsutswecw (Roderick Haig-Brown) Provincial Park is in Kamloops.
The entrance to Tsútswecw Provincial Park is five km from the town of Squilax. From the intersection of the Squilax and the TransCanada Highway, head north on the Squilax-Anglemont Road for a little over five kilometers. The entrance was well marked when we visited.
The closest communities are Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Chase, and Sorrento.
from The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/canada/adams-river-salmon-run-what-to-expect/
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Zion National Park was our first stop on a 2 week hiking trip through Utah. Getting to Zion We began our epic hiking trip through Utah’s parks by first visiting Zion National Park after a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a good entry point for Utah because the flights are cheap […]
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I could feel tension drain from my shoulders as I looked at the crystal clear, aquamarine ocean. I was already imagining floating in that beautiful water, basking in the sun, and wiggling my toes in the white sand.
10 seconds ago, I was tired from a long flight, worn down by my endless to do list, and I just wanted to collapse in a pile.
This is exactly what I need.
The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is perched on what’s likely the best location in Cancun. Beachfront, with stunning views and easy access to the water, it’s also in the heart of the Hotel Zone, with easy walking access to great restaurants, attractions, and more.
Despite the close location to some of the most happening places in Cancun (including Coco Bongo’s, Senor Frog’s, the Hard Rock Cafe and Carlos’n Charlies), the resort is remarkably quiet and contained.
Grand Fiesta Americana Cancun Review
There are 602 ocean view suites at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, each with a private terrace, and all of them facing the turquoise water of the Caribbean.
Here’s a little peek of the view from our fifth floor room. Heaven!
The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun has a few plans to choose from: all-inclusive, a hotel only plan, plus a Grand Club access plan.
For this trip we wanted to sample some of the nearby restaurants so we opted for the hotel only plan.
The Beach at Grand Fiesta Americana Cancun
We think that the beach at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach is one of the best in Cancun. Due to the resort’s north facing position in the Hotel Zone, the beach is well protected. Especially compared to the majority of the east facing hotels that adorn the rest of the hotel zone.
As a result, the waves are generally much smaller and, even when the red flags were out for the rest of the hotels, we could still swim in front of our hotel without problems. We also saw plenty of small children playing in the sand, which is rare on Cancun’s beaches that see bigger waves.
There are tropical palapas along the sand, and we found there was plenty of chair lounge access on the beach. There’s also a large floating dock not too far off from shore and, for those without kids, there’s even an adults only beach section.
The Pools at Grand Fiesta Americana Cancun
We love hanging out poolside, and the ocean side pools at the resort were a huge part of the reason we decided to visit.
We weren’t disappointed! There are three expansive swimming pools onsite at the Grand Fiesta American Coral Beach Cancun, all with gorgeous ocean views.
We spent most of our time in the main pool, which has the benefit of the most sun exposure (we visited in December, so we wanted a lot of sun), and also houses the poolside snack bar. There’s also a few fountains and water massage jets in the main pool that the kids loved playing with as well as a giant waterfall leading down to the other two pools.
The main swimming pool is also a multi-level pool, with different water depths. There’s a lovely shallow section that runs around most of the edge that’s perfect for kids or just to relax on, a deeper section that’s a bit quieter, and a pretty bubbly Jacuzzi opposite the snack bar. Like almost all Jacuzzis in Mexico, it isn’t heated, but the shallow water and bubbles are a lot of fun anyway.
There are two other swimming pools onsite, both of which were a little quieter and cooler, and got a little more shade during the day than the main pool. I think these would be fantastic in slightly warmer months, where you’d want a break from the sun and heat. The other big pool also features another swim up bar but was quieter while we were there.
The Gem Spa at Grand Fiesta Americana
With a 40,000 square foot spa on site, complete with a custom 10 step hydrotherapy ritual, how could we resist sampling the waters?
We left the kids happily playing video games in the room one evening while we headed downstairs to enjoy a couples massage. What a fantastic decision!
Our 45 minute relaxation massages were fantastic and, truth be told, some of the best we’ve had.
The entire spa at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach in Cancun is beautifully designed and spacious.
Since we both love water, we took an hour (or two) to enjoy the Gem Spa’s
The unique hydrotherapy experience ends in the main pool, where there are waterfall plunges (you can see them in the center), and bubbling loungers.
As you’d expect, there are light snacks, tea, and fruit infused water throughout the Gem Spa for the customers to enjoy.
The Kids Club at Coral Beach Cancun
Like everything else here, the Coral KidZ Club is top notch. It’s open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with lots of activities to amuse the kids, including beachfront sand castle building, sea shell hunts, crafts and other fun games.
Our kids deemed they were “too big” for the kids club, but we took a tour (during their closed hours) to check it out. It’s bright, and looks like a lot of fun (so much so that the kids were a little sad they didn’t check it out for themselves).
Just check out all the gaming stations (great for keeping kids occupied on rainy days) as you walk into the Kids Club.
There’s also an outdoor play area (check out that awesome dinosaur theme), plus an indoor stage.
There’s also a fun play area inside for the little ones.
Our Room at the Grand Fiesta Americana Cancun
Our room was on the fifth floor, making for an amazing view over the ocean.
The two queen beds were fantastic for the four of us (mom, dad, and two kids), with a large sectional couch for relaxing and enjoying that view, and a little sitting area.
One of the nice perks was the mini bar, which was loaded with pop, juice, and beer, and a nice selection of snacks, as well as some mini bottles of hard alcohol. Since we had a room only plan, no snacks or meals were included. The mini bar prices were about in line with what you’d expect for a nice resort in Mexico, for example, pop was a couple of dollars a can.
There were a lot of lovely touches in the room, including fresh cut flowers in the bathroom.
Housecleaning was fantastic. The room was spotless when we arrived, and they kept it that way. They respected our do not disturb signs, and came in and whisked away our mess when we were downstairs enjoying the pools and beach in the afternoon.
One small downside was that our air conditioning was a bit loud. When the a/c fan blew through the ducts, there was a bit of rattling above the bathroom ducts. We solved that pretty easily by closing the bathroom door though.
Exercise Room at Grand Fiesta Americana
The exercise room here is spacious and clean, with plenty of equipment ranging from free weights to good quality exercise machines to spots for yoga and stretching. (They also had some amazing views overlooking the beach and pools.)
There’s even a snack bar, which is enough motivation to get me to the gym.
Food and Drink at Coral Beach Cancun
Since our rate included our room only, we mostly ate out at restaurants in the Hotel Zone. There’s a huge selection of nearby restaurants that’s all easily walkable!
Since one of our very favorite things at a resort is room service, we decided to check it out on our first night there. Exhausted from our late flight into Cancun, and really not wanting to deal with a restaurant with two tired and hungry kids, it was a nice perk for a travel fatigued family.
I was pretty happy to see that the room service prices were almost identical to the restaurant prices downstairs, plus a small service fee. There was a large menu and we even ordered in English with no trouble. To top it off, the food was really good (we tried a vegetarian pizza, cheese quesadilla, and a sandwich with fries), and it all came with a free mini dessert, and plenty of condiments, cutlery and real silverware and cloth napkins. Lovely!
The hotel has several in house restaurants, including an upper end Five Diamond Le Basilic restaurant, the fresh seafood restaurant Isla Contoy, and the cafe style La Joya. There’s also a poolside snack bar, with some very tasty choices, and a lovely hotel lobby bar with snacks.
The main floor of the hotel is given over to the restaurants, as well as a wide walkway filled with beautiful flowers, and plenty of art.
More Amenities and Activities
There’s a lot to see and do at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach resort hotel in Cancun. Our kids enjoyed themselves on the ocean view swings on the outside playground and the small children’s wading pool in front of it would be a great place for families with small children to hang out.
There’s also a daily teens & adults activities program, with lots of fun things to do if you want to try out a few new things.
Amenities at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach include beach loungers, a large health club and fitness center, yoga classes, free internet in your room, local phone calls, in room coffee and bottled water, concierge service and more.
Like a lot of major hotels in Cancun, the hotel also caters to weddings and celebrations. We watched for hours from the comfort of our loungers as they set up a huge dancing and party area off to the side of the complex in preparations for a wedding later that afternoon. It looked awesome and the people seemed really happy!
On the east side of the resort, there’s a beach side palapa that offers free kayaks plus free stand up paddle boards to the guests at Coral Beach, as well as Sea-Doos for a fee. We found it’s usually best to go in the early mornings if you want to take the kayaks or paddle boards out since the water gets rougher in the afternoon.
Right next to the water activities desk is a PADI certified dive shack with free pool lessons and paid daily dives to the local reefs including around nearby Isla Mujeres as well as trips out to the underwater museum.
We didn’t grab a Sea-Doo ourselves, but they sure looked like a blast!
Prices at the Coral Beach Resort
When we stayed at the beginning of high season, the rate was around $310 USD for a room only rate with two queen beds and ocean view.
There are a few different plans available at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach. We had the room only option.
There’s also a Grand Club access, where you’ll get a room on one of the resort’s highest two floors, Grand Club access to all amenities, a dedicated lounge and personal concierge, a VIP Penthouse lounge, beach side sundeck, and more luxury amenities.
Like most resorts in Cancun, there’s a resort fee here of $25 USD per accommodation, per night. There’s also a small sanitation tax of 1.8 US dollars per night.
What we didn’t like about the Grand Fiesta Americana Cancun
There’s really not much to dislike here. Since we were at the hotel mostly for the beach and pools, and the hotel has some of the best in the Cancun Hotel Zone, we were pretty happy. Like most of the hotels in the area we wish the pools were a little warmer but they were fine for December which is typically one of the coolest months in Cancun anyway.
We didn’t try out all the restaurants on site so can’t comment too much on their quality however we did enjoy their room service, and both the snacks around the pool and the desserts at the La Joya cafe.
This is a small thing, but I would have loved if the beach and poolside canopy beds were free to all guests. There was a fee of around $50 USD, if I remember correctly, for a private canopy lounge bed which I thought was a little high for what the services you get with it. Beach and poolside lounger chairs are free and plentiful, though, which was a great perk all in all.
from The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/mexico/7-things-youll-love-at-the-grand-fiesta-americana-coral-beach-our-familys-review/
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Learn about traveling and living in the Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Good places to visits and fun things to do in Dominican Republic.