Souls looking for undisturbed places will not want to miss wilderness camping in some of the remote areas, such as Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. There is no road access to the park, but secondary roads from Kelowna offer access to parking lots on the park’s northeastern boundary.
Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park is well suited to backwoods camping. Wilderness campsites are located at Baker Lake, Divide Lake and Victor Lake in the upland area of the park. Camping is also permitted at Buchan Bay, Commando Bay, Goode’s Creek, Van Hyce Beach and Halfway Bay along the lake. Wilderness campsites are located near the south parking lot. The park is open year round with approximately 48 walk-in sites ad boat sites.
Six marine campgrounds and secluded bays and sheltered sandy beaches tucked into the 33 km of undeveloped shoreline make water exploring a true adventure.
Hiking trails provide an excellent opportunity to ramble around and see unique plants and animal life in this semidesert wilderness region. The lake and mountain views are good from the top of Okanagan Mountain, but wear sturdy footwear (this park is in rattlesnake country) and carry water between camping areas if you’re hiking in summer. In addition to the backcountry campsites, facilities also include horse-loading ramps in the north and south parking lots, as well as marine campsites and mooring buoys on Okanagan Lake. Hike to the top of Okanagan Mountain on the Divide Lake North Trail (moderate; 10 miles/16 km return) from the Rimrock Road parking lot for beautiful views of the lake to the west and the Monashees to the east, and check out the four archaeological sites in the park.
The park is good for mountain biking. Remember that there is no access to the park by road; it’s boat, bicycle or hike-in only. One of the most popular rides is a two-day excursion around the border of the park, just bring the spare tube and pump; it’s a long hike back. Almost all the trails are open to mountain bikers. Popular trails include Commando Bay Trail (lengthy, moderate) and Bounder Trail (short, technical).
Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park suffered an extensive fire in the summer of 2003, which caused the closure of the park for two years. The wildfires produced many hazards in the area. Visitors should be aware of these hazards and the increased risk of injury prior to entering the park. The hazards include unstable trees, holes and loose rock. The hazards have been reduced along the main trail system and camping areas. Travel off the main trail system has an increased level of risk.
Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park is located 15 km south of Kelowna on the eastern side of Okanagan Lake opposite to Peachland in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The easiest way to access the park is by boat, however the park can be accessed from Kelowna or Penticton through back roads. Travelling from Kelowna, drive west on Lake Shore Road 15 km to the park’s northern parking lot. From Penticton, travel along Chute Lake road 25 km to the park’s southern parking lot, Chute Lake Road is a rough gravel road.
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