If you've opted to follow Hwy 1 to the east to the Rockies and Banff, Kamloops makes a useful break in the journey. Motels abound and there's a walkable historic center. Historically, the Shuswap First Nation found the many rivers and lakes useful for transportation and salmon fishing. Traders set up camp for fur hunting in 1811.
Hwy 1 cuts eastwest through town, linking Vancouver with the Rockies, while Yellowhead Hwy (Hwy 5) heads northeast to Jasper and southwest to Vancouver via Merritt (this stretch is called the Coquihalla Hwy). The focus of the downtown area is tree-lined Victoria St, which is a lively place on sunny days; very busy train tracks separate the wide Thompson River from the downtown area. Franchises and malls line the highlands along Hwy 1.