Known as the Oasis of the Kootenays, Christina Lake is one of the best family holiday destinations in Canada. The resort community of Christina Lake is spread along the shore of Christina Lake in Boundary Country, offering some of the best summer weather in BC.
Christina Lake was named for Christina McDonald, the daughter of the Hudson’s Bay Company chief factor Angus McDonald of Fort Colville (1852-1871), who started a ranch in the Shuswap with her husband.
The Kettle Valley region had been inhabited by the Kettle Indians for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. They lived in villages along the Kettle River, leaving their legacy in pictographs on rocks along the shores of Christina Lake – visible from a boat only.
The Trans Canada Trail, Dewdney Trail and the Kettle Valley Railroad Trail all merge at Christina Lake, attracting visitors to the area from around the world. There is a growing interest by hikers and bikers in the superb local trails in the Christina Lake area.
Spring in Christina Lake is fresh and delightful, the summers are warm and full of sunshine, and autumn brings a masterpiece of fall colours. Christina Lake is reputed to be the warmest tree lined lake in Canada, with the consistently comfortable water temperatures in summer attracting families to the lake for swimming, boating, canoeing, and water skiing.
Vacation homes surround the lake and outdoor adventure providers cater to adventure enthusiasts. An endless choice of land activities takes you away from the rush of modern living. Visitors and residents savour the beauty of Christina Lake and enjoy walking, hiking, or mountain biking on one of the local trails.
Location: Christina Lake is located on Highway 3 in south central BC, 12 miles (19 km) east of Grand Forks and 44 miles (70 km) southwest of Castlegar. Christina lake is just north of the Canada/United States border and 2 hours due north of Spokane at the northern terminus of Route 395.
One of Christina Lake’s natural treasures, which visitors shouldn’t miss, is Cascade Falls, located on the Kettle River, approximately 3 km south of Christina Lake. It is in the spring and early summer that the falls are most impressive. Their power explains the constantly renewed “driftwood forest” located some 30 feet above the falls at low water, and the potholes or “kettles” formed over countless years of the falls pounding the rocks of the river below. While you’re there, test the power of your imagination by finding the Eagle and Indian faces in the rocks of the rugged cliffs. Local legend tells that these spirits inhabit and protect the Falls.
Marvel at the water boiling through a series of falls and kettles at Cascade Gorge, south on Highway 395.
Visit the Pot Holes on McRae Creek, and the kokanee spawning grounds.
Pictographs: Prior to European settlement, Christina Lake was part of the region inhabited by the Sinixt First Nations group. Also known as the Arrow Lakes People, the Sinixt were an Interior Salish people whose territory stretched roughly from the Monashees to Kootenay Lake and from Revelstoke to northeast Washington. Christina Lake was an important fishing ground, as was the Kettle River around Cascade. Pictographs located at various points along the northeast lakeshore are evidence of these first inhabitants, and offer a tantalizing glimpse into a past that remains largely unspoken.
Golf: Carved through majestic pine trees, Christina Lake Golf Club is a scenic 18-hole, 6,685-yard championship course designed by the renowned golf course architect Les Furber. Your golf experience includes captivating views of the Selkirk Mountains as you meander along paths near the pristine and scenic Kettle River. Facilities include a driving range, 2 mini-golf courses, and excellent dining and event facilities. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Trails: Enjoy walking, hiking, or mountain biking on one of the many local trails in the Christina Lake area, home to one of the finest sections of the Trans Canada Trail and the Kettle Valley Railbed.
Hiking: Take a hike on the historic Dewdney Trail that ran between Hope, at the east end of the Fraser Valley, and Wildhorse, near Creston in the East Kootenays. Although much of the original 4 foot wide pathway that Edgar Dewdney blazed in 1865 has been neglected, it’s still possible to hike portions of it that have been maintained between Christina Lake and Rossland. Dewdney was a young civilian surveyor who was originally hired by Colonial-Governor Douglas in 1860 to build a trail between Hope and the gold fields in the Okanagan Valley region. With the discovery of gold in Stud Horse Creek (later named Wild Horse Creek), Dewdney was asked to extend the trail east to Wildhorse in 1865. With help from the weather, he was able to complete the route from the Kootenays in five months. Dewdney’s legacy can be touched in several places and by several modes of exploration. In addition to hiking, you can drive a section of the trail as Hwy 3B passes through Trail, which takes its name from the Dewdney Trail.
Skiing and Snowboarding: Christina Lake is conveniently located midway between Red Resort and Phoenix Mountain Ski Resort, a 45-minute drive to either ski hill. A world-class ski facility offering outstanding alpine and cross-country skiing is available at Red Mountain and the unsurpassed snow conditions and ideal ski slopes have made nearby town of Rossland a winter mecca for skiers. Rossland boasts the Olympic renowned Red Mountain Ski Club, site of the 1968 World Cup Races, the first ever to be held in Canada. Rossland is also the home of World Champion skier Nancy Greene and Kerrin Lee Gartner who stepped onto their first skis on the slopes of Red Mountain. Red Mountain and the adjoining Granite Mountain now attract thousands of winter sports enthusiasts from around the world.
Cross-Country Skiing: Well groomed trails in Paulsen Pass maintained by the Castlegar Nordic Ski Club are a 25-minute drive away for cross-country skiing enthusiasts. Skiing & Winter Activities.
Beautiful Christina Lake Provincial Park, located at the south end of Christina Lake, is considered one of the warmest, clearest lakes in Canada, with an average summer water temperature of 73 Degrees Fahrenheit. The beach is long and sandy, and is backed by sweet-smelling cottonwoods and white-barked birches. Surrounded by the Christina and Rossland Ranges of the Monashees, the lake offers some of the best water-oriented recreation anywhere.
Visit Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park, established to protect the feeding and critical winter habitat for a large population of whitetailed and mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep.
In the ‘small-but-pleasant’ park category is Gladstone Provincial Park (formerly Texas Creek) on Christina Lake, which has informal campsites located in an open pine forest, providing pleasant shade from the summer sun. This waterfront park has many small pocket beaches, which provide splendid opportunities for solitude and privacy. Hiking trails lead north along the lakeshore.
Beaches: Christina Lake has many beautiful beaches in Gladstone Provincial Park, which surrounds the entire northern half of Christina Lake. Boat access recreation sites are available on the western shore of the lake, at popular Axel Johnson, Parson Creek, and Ole Johnson on an historic miners resort site. Other boat access beaches offering camping, swimming and fishing on the west shore are located at Starbuck Beach and Treadmill Creek.
Texas Creek campsite offers a boat launch and rustic campsite with 33 tent sites. The northern end of East Lake Road is the trailhead for the Deer Point Trail that provides trail access to the beach at Trapper Creek and the small site at Troy Creek on the north end of the lake. Both sites can also be accessed by boat.
In addition to Christina Lake Provincial Park (day use only) at the south end of the lake, a section of the southeastern shore of the lake is a Community Nature Park, easily accessed from the Highway.
Events: Don’t miss Christina Lake’s fishing derby held on Victoria Day weekend in May and the Sandcastle & Sculpture contest in August.
West of Christina lake is the attractive town of Grand Forks (20-minute drive), named for its location near the convergence of the Kettle and Granby Rivers. Grand Forks is overlooked by Observation Mountain to the north and the aptly named Rattlesnake Mountain to the east.
Boundary Country incorporates the heritage valleys of the Kettle River, the West Kettle River, Boundary Creek, Granby River, Christina Lake and all of the many tributaries that drain the Monashee Mountains into the Columbia River Basin.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on The Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop. Circle Tours in British Columbia.