There are five Provincial Campgrounds along Okanagan Lake. Two of these parks are located along Westside Road, which has the label of “Worst road in BC”. Fortunately the 5.3 km drive along Westside Road to the first campground, Bear Creek Provincial Park, is an easy drive and the road is in good shape.
Bear Creek Provincial Park has 122 sites, all without hook-ups but it does have washrooms with flush toilets and showers. The cost has increased this year by $5.00, so it will now cost you $35.00 a night to stay in this park, but between the May long weekend and the September long weekend you must make reservations which will cost you an additional $6.00 per night for the first three nights. There is no way to avoid the reservation fee since there are no first come, first serve sites at this park. And what I think is the final slap in the face, they also charge you $5.00 to dump your tanks! The family tenting in the site beside you is using the washrooms which the park now needs to clean and supply with toilet paper, they are dumping their dishwater in the septic system (or in the trees) and they are only expected to pay $41.00 a night, while we are storing our waste water, cleaning our own washroom, supplying our own toilet paper and then we are going to one central location and dumping our tanks and the BC Government charges us $5.00 to do that …. HOW IS THIS FAIR! Okay I’ve had my rant, I will be more positive through the rest of this post 🙂
Aside from the cost this is a beautiful campground, close to Kelowna, and the beach is great. The only downfall, it’s not really designed for big rigs. There are some sites that will work for Maxx but often, when the park is busy, we can’t maneuver into them because the road is narrow and many places have dry ditches on both sides.
From Bear Creek you can continue along Westside Road for another 28.7 km to Fintry Provincial Park. This section of Westside Road is narrow, windy, and often very close to the cliffs lining Okanagan Lake.
On the up side there is some roadwork going on to improve Westside Road but from what we can see it won’t take care of all the narrow, windy areas.
But if you persevere you will arrive at an incredibly beautiful provincial campground that has been kept in its natural state as much as possible. Fintry has 100 sites and during the period between mid May and the September long weekend 70 sites are for reservations and 30 sites are first come first serve. The nightly fee is $32.00 (plus the $6.00 reservation fee for the first three nights if you choose to reserve a site). Again there are no hook-ups but there are showers and flush toilets, and I don’t believe there is a dump station (you would have to drive back to Bear Creek and pay your $5.00 to dump … should I tell you again how much I disagree with that fee!)
We arrived at Fintry mid afternoon a week ago Wednesday and were able to find a double site near the beach. We were hoping nobody would come and take the other side of our double since our daughter and her family were coming out for the weekend and fortunately nobody did.
The park manager came around to collect that evening and we got talking about travelling. It turns out they head to Mexico every year so we started asking her questions about the roads as we want to go there but have heard the roads are narrow and difficult for big rigs. I really had to laugh when I asked her how the roads were and she responded, “They are way better than Westside Road. If you were able to make it here, you will have no trouble with the roads in Mexico” After talking a little longer she mentioned that Croft and Norma write a good blog about RVing in Mexico and I said “Croft from Vancouver Island? He just posted pictures of Norma’s roses, I read their blog”! “Yes she says, do you know them?” “Yes”, I say, “I have never met them but I read their blog so I know them” … remember my recent post about blogging friends 🙂
What a small world! So we have a great conversation about Mexico and she mentions that she writes a blog called A Life Made Simple. Now I have a new blog to follow 🙂
Anyway, back to Fintry Provincial Park … many of the sites are very big and almost every site is within a minute or two walk to the beach along Okanagan Lake.
The 360 hectares of Fintry Provincial Park have been left in their natural state. From the delta area to a forested area made up of ridges and deep slopes, the park offers two dramatically different topographical areas. With over 2 km of beach surrounding the campground there is lots of opportunity for swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing.
On Saturday we made the hike up to the Shorts Creek waterfall with our daughter and son-in-law and our five grandchildren. From our campsite we walked along a path through the fields
Where we arrived at the Octagonal dairy barn, which is open for guided tours during the summer months.
After wandering around this area we continued along the path
And began climbing the many, many, stairs up to the waterfalls.
There are 156 stairs to the viewpoint for the lowest, and I’m told most spectacular, waterfall.
Once we had taken many pictures and the grandkids had a little snack, we continued up another 50 steps to the observation platform at the middle of the falls.
We then continued up another 100 steps to the second viewing platform, with a bench, and spent some time taking pictures and just enjoying the view. Rather than going back down the stairs we walked a little further on through the trees and came out at an unused road that led us back down the mountain and provided some specular views of the Fintry Delta and Okanagan Lake.
Unfortunately part way down the hike back my camera battery died but believe me the views were awesome and we all enjoyed the hike!
There is so much to see and do at this park, I highly recommend a visit.
Until next time …