Meet Samantha, one of our #exploreKelowna Creators.

As the creative mind behind Explore the Map, a blog and Instagram page dedicated to hiking and exploring, Samantha is a great guide to uncovering the best hikes and local favourites of Kelowna. Explore the Map is a platform dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the Okanagan, and her passion for the region is contagious. Samantha's content will inspire you to immediately lace up your hiking boots and get out and explore.

Samantha Hill (@explorethemap_)
Samantha at Pincushion Mountain in Peachland. Photo: Samantha Cullen

Born in Kelowna, Samantha moved to Enderby at the young age of 5 only to return to pursue her education in Graphic Design and Web Development at the Centre of Arts and Technology. Now, she and her husband call Rutland home. Photography has always been a love of hers, and in 2016, she identified a gap in resources for detailed Okanagan hikes. Thus, Explore the Map was born as a creative outlet. The platform has since evolved, with Samantha shifting her focus towards creating captivating Instagram and video content that showcases the stunning landscapes of the Okanagan and Pacific Northwest.

Samantha has built an impressive online presence, but her life extends far beyond content creation. "I enjoy a lot of different things outside of content creation", enjoying an active lifestyle that includes recent hobbies like sourdough baking, paddleboarding, and getting lost in a good book. Her creative side is also fed by renovation projects and crafting. Owning a web development business necessitates significant screen time, so these hobbies provide a welcome contrast. Camping and exploring, whether by car or backpack, are huge passions as well. Like many outdoor enthusiasts, building a van to fuel future adventures is a definite dream!

Plane flying over Okanagan Lake
Seaplane over Okanagan Lake: Photo: Samantha Cullen 

Living in the Okanagan perfectly complements Samantha's love for the outdoors. "I love being outside! What better place to do that than the Okanagan? I love getting out on the lakes on a paddleboard, going for a swim, gardening in my backyard, or reading a book. I try to find activities that are calming and help me connect with nature." The region offers a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Finding moments of peace and connection with nature is a priority for her. "There's so much greenery, even downtown. You'd be hard-pressed to find an area where a park or forest isn't within a ten-minute drive. And even though it can get busy, there are so many areas you can go that are quiet."

For first-time visitors, Samantha offers three must-do experiences:

  1. Hike Knox Mountain: This popular destination lives up to the hype! Stunning views await on Paul's Tomb and Lochview Trail.
  2. Dilworth Mountain Park: This easy stroll offers breathtaking panoramic views, especially captivating at sunset.
  3. Buchan Bay Campsite: Backpack, boat, or paddle to this Okanagan Mountain Park gem for an overnight adventure. Enjoy a swim and stunning lake views from your tent pad.

As a local, Samantha has a hidden gem to share: Kuipers' Peak and Johns Family Nature Conservancy. This spot offers an unforgettable sunset experience with breathtaking views of the entire valley and lake. The tranquility of the location adds to its charm.

Kuiper's Peak
Samantha at Kuipers' Peak. Photo: Samantha Cullen

Ready to #exploreKelowna with Samantha? Follow her adventures on her website ( and Instagram ( With her passion for exploration and dedication to sharing the beauty of the Okanagan, Explore the Map is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking adventure in this stunning region.