Haynes Point is located at the southern end of the sunny Okanagan Valley on Osoyoos Lake. The deep valley was formed primarily by glacial erosion thousands of years ago. Being in the rainshadow of the Cascade Mountains in the east and sheltered from storms by Columbia Mountains in the west, its steep, arid hillsides receive only a tiny amount of precipitation annually. The hot, dry temperatures, combined with sufficient irrigation, make this area a haven for vineyards and orchards. However areas untouched by cultivation prominently display their desert tendencies.
Its namesake is Judge John Carmichael Haynes, a jurist who brought law and order to the gold fields of Wildhorse Creek in the 1860s. Haynes lived in the area until his death in 1888. Before Haynes, First Nations people inhabited the area. The area also served as a trade route for fur traders, explorers and gold miners who used the sandspit as a natural bridge to cross Osoyoos Lake. This route is part of the famous Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail.
A littme more than 4.8 ha of the park are covered by a marsh and sandy spit lined with cottonwoods, making it a great place for observing some of nature’s fascinating creatures and their habits. Haynes Point is home to Canada’s smallest bird, the calliope hummingbird. Other birds commonly found in the park include orioles, eastern kingbirds, Californian quail, canyon wrens and white-throated swifts. The park’s more terrestrial wildlife includes spadefoot toads, painted turtles, burrowing owls and desert night snakes. Plantlife in the area is predominantly desert vegetation and consists of ponderosa pine, bear cacti, sage grass and greasewood.
Osoyoos Lake, considered the warmest lake in Canada, is a a very popular destination for swimmers and sunbathers. The lake is also popular for watersports. During the summer months, the lake turns into a raucous scene as waterskiers, jet-skis, windsurfers and other watercraft compete for space. The warm waters also create a haven for a lot of fish, as the lake contains over twenty different species of fresh water fish including rainbow trout, whitefish and largemouth bass. Fishing is permitted, but anglers will have to compete with boating enthusiasts to find a quiet spot on the lake. There is a boat launch at the campground. Throughout the park, recently developed trails wind around the lake and through the park’s wetlands.
There are 41 gravel campsites located on the sandspit. Being a sandspit, the area has very little vegetation and is very open. However more than half of the campsites are beachfront real estate with the remaining sites only steps away from sandy beaches. Locals have named each of the campsites with the most sought after site called “Corner Suite”. The campground provides both flush and pit toilets, but there are no showers or sani-stations. The campground is also wheelchair accessible. Fees collected March 30 to October 15 and the campground is gated during the off season.
The park is located 2km south of Osoyoos and 2km north of the Canada/USA border off Highway 97.
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