The stunning Okanagan Valley lies in the southern half of British Columbia. Well known for the variety of its amazing scenery, the valley stretches from Sicamous to the U.S. border and is home to the Canadian portion of the Okanagan River and the equally stunning Okanagan Lake.
It’s a community where the living is shoreline based. It’s a region where lush rolling hills, fresh water lakes, mountains, grasslands, forests and the only desert in Canada ensure it stays an unequaled destination. It offers its visitors a wide mix of outdoor pursuits including cycling, golfing, wind surfing, sailing, swimming and water skiing. Its terrain makes it ideal for backpacking and hiking. Its remote parks offer challenging trails and stunning landscapes.
Under its winter cloak, cross country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding are always popular. With more than 60 Provincial Parks and numerous campsites, the region offers a mind blowing selection of places to visit.
One of the region’s quaint lakeside communities is Okanagan Falls. Located on the southern shores of Skaha Lake, it’s surrounded by orchards and wineries. The town is home to the Hawthorne Mountain and Wild Goose Vineyards and its origins are firmly rooted in agriculture. Today it provides fresh and dried fruits and vegetables and award winning wines. The community also offers several scenic parks ideal for family recreation and sight seeing in tranquil and safe surroundings.
An immensely popular destination east of Okanagan Lake is the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. This is one of the largest parks in the region and its wildlife, meadows, alpine lakes, forests, wilderness and grasslands are a constant attraction for hiking, photography and fishing. The views of Okanagan Lake from the top of Okanagan Mountain are stunning.
Just south of the park is Naramata. This is a small agricultural community situated on the shores of Okanagan Lake. Renowned for its fertile soil, Naramata is surrounded by wineries, fruit orchards and vineyards. In winter, ice-fishing is popular at Chute Lake along with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The region’s largest city is Kelowna – a city for all seasons. The glorious mountain scenery, pristine lakes, sandy beaches, orchards and vineyards make it a true haven. Kelowna offers fishing, boating, water sports, shopping and garden tours. Here you can enjoy one of the longest golf seasons in Canada from March to November and some of the best skiing at Big White Ski Resort. Kelowna is a lakeside recreational paradise.
Head for its west side and snowshoe opportunities are abundant. Telemark Ski Club has approximately 40K of snowshoe trails to suit all ability levels with wide varieties of terrain. The Jack Creek trail follows an old logging road for much of its length and explores some of the more remote areas. To keep you fit, there is a significant 200-meter elevation gain from the bottom of the creek to the trail summit. For the more experienced, the Crystal Mountain trail begins 6.5K along the Jack Creek trail and heads uphill steeply – gaining a major 330-meter elevation – to give you some spectacular views at the top.
The Ski Club offers a spacious chalet with snack bar and heated washroom facilities. Crystal Mountain Resort offers a superb snowshoe experience. The starlight snowshoe trek at the top of Mount Last offers some breathtaking views, and the chance to indulge in chocolate fondues around a bonfire. It truly is unforgettable, and with 12K of trails including guided tours, the options are plentiful. Snowshoe trail passes are $5 per day and a Season Pass $52. Snowshoe rental is also available at $10.
Accommodation in the Okanagan Valley is almost as diverse and varied as its glorious scenery. There are literally myriads of choices available. Quaint B&Bs, cabins, RV parks, campsites, luxury vacation rentals, lakeside resorts and friendly hotels and motels. One of the largest is Lake Okanagan Resort. Here you can immerse yourself in outdoor adventure on its 300 acres of parkland right on the shores of the lake. Its guestrooms offer some simply stunning views, so whether you’re planning a family vacation, or just a few days away with friends, the resort and the region can offer you the perfect escape.
For full details visit www.lakeokanagan.com or call (250)-769-3571.
Canada has always been well known the world over for its legendary cold winters and its deep and consistent snowfall. For several hundreds of years, snowshoeing proved to be the best means to get around. Snowshoe clubs gradually began appearing throughout the Province and its popularity today is testament to the legacy of keeping physically fit in a stunning region.