Curiosity takes me to hikes in the Okanagan
Not content to hike only in Kelowna, I have tried a few trails further afield and will update this list as I explore more spots.
Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
Overlooking Skaha Lake south of Penticton, this park is probably more well-known for rock climbing but offers some good hiking trails as well. A return trip will be in order as I was not prepared with hiking boots and bear spray (this was an exploration detour after going to the Penticton farmers market) so did not venture too far into the canyons.
Late summer or fall (the park is open from March 1 to November 15th) might be a good time to come (with a group) as there can be black bears, snakes, bighorn sheep and Western Screech owls. A golden eagle was soaring near the top of the cliff, but by the time I ran back to the car to get a longer lens, it had disappeared – next time! I did try my first panorama shot and I think it turned out well.
One recommendation – you might want to avoid this park on a long weekend as the road up to the parking lot is really narrow and can get quite crowded and difficult to navigate.
This spot is recommended for birding but the trails near the Beaver Lake Resort were lovely. The lake is 16 kms from Winfield, Lake Country along a winding, bumpy road, but the views (and the humourous “You’re almost there” signs) along the way make it worthwhile. I mentioned this in my birding in Kelowna post, but it is worth going into the resort as they have facilities, food and hiking maps. The trails start just outside the gates where you would turn to Dee Lake.
I was there on a day with low hanging clouds and rain, but found flower filled meadows, birds and wildlife of the small variety. Chester and I climbed to the Viewpoint, a rocky area which overlooks Beaver Lake. We could have gone on to Echo Lake or Wrinkly Face Cliff but I was kind of wimpy in the rain. The trails are at an elevation of 1,500 metres, so dress for very different weather than what you left in Kelowna. I really enjoyed the more open forest and the small rocky outcrops.
Walking to the dam near the resort, I almost missed a pair of frogs.
The view from the top was shrouded in clouds, which added a measure of mystery to the place. Another fun day!