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If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy the wonderful scenery of Osoyoos in BC’s South Okanagan, there’s no better way than to hit the trails for a hike. Situated on Osoyoos Lake and surrounded by grasslands, highlands and mountains, Osoyoos is a major draw for outdoor recreation. After a day of hiking, nothing beats a refreshing glass of wine from one of the town’s many wineries and vineyards. Here are six Osoyoos hikes, courtesy of the staff at the British Columbia Visitor Centre @ Osoyos:
The International Hike and Bike Trail is an 18.4 km (11.4 mi) trail beginning at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, 8 km (5 mi) north of town. It follows the Okanagan River channel to the McAlpine Bridge in Oliver, a small agricultural community known as the “Wine Capital of Canada.” This gorgeous trail passes vineyards and farms, with viewpoints, washrooms, picnic tables, and interpretive signs along the way. Whether on foot or bicycle, this trail is a great way to travel between some of the amazing wineries along the route. The trail is nice and wide, and relatively flat, making it great for all ages.
Located at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, the Oxbows are an amazing wetlands area for hiking, as well as bird watching. This protected area can be accessed from the parking lot for the International Hike and Bike Trail, heading south from the parking lot rather than north. This recently restored trail is an easy walk, providing great views of one of Osoyoos’ only remaining wetlands. Approximately 5 km (3 mi) return trip, the Oxbows make for a lovely morning hike.
The Strawberry Creek Trail is located on the west side of Osoyoos. The trail winds through the Osoyoos hills, through the Osoyoos Industrial Area, past a historic mine, and around a golf course where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lower valley. It has a variety of terrain, from sidewalks, to gravel roads and a narrow trail, and it’s a moderate level walk. Please note: the trail is unmarked, so be sure to consult a map and connect with a local before heading out.
Although it’s a bit of a climb, picturesque McIntyre Bluff provides a breathtaking view of the Okanagan Valley, so be sure to bring your camera! This 10-km (6-mi) return trip trail will lead you gradually uphill, with a few steep spots along the way. It’s well marked, with a trailhead at Covert Farms in Oliver. After your hike, stop by the farm’s Wine Lounge for a tasting and some charcuterie, and take home some fresh local produce from their on-site market – the perfect end to a gorgeous hike!
The Irrigation Canal Walkway can be accessed from the BC Visitor Centre @ Osoyoos, and travels along the now-abandoned waterway that once provided water to the orchards and wineries in the area. This 12 km (7.4 mi) trail is a flat and great for walkers, cyclists, and those with strollers. Enjoy the incredible desert ecosystem, as well as views of the town and Osoyoos Lake as you wind your way along the trail.
The Mount Kobau Trail offers amazing views of the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys. This 5 km (3 mi) trail begins at the top of Mount Kobau, accessible from Highway 3, west of Osoyoos. It follows a loop around the summit, offering outstanding views as you pass through sub-alpine forest and open grassland. Upon reaching the top, you will receive an unobstructed view of the valley that will simply take your breath away.
Insider Tip: The dirt access road is not suitable for low clearance vehicles.
It can get quite hot on summer afternoons in Osoyoos, so morning and evening are the best times for hiking. Remember to bring lots of water to ensure you stay hydrated.
Please do your part in respecting the areas around the trails by staying on the designated paths and leave nothing behind but footprints.
If you’re interested in hiking with a group, the Osoyoos-Oliver Naturalist Club schedules great hikes throughout the season. If you’d like to learn more about hiking in the Osoyoos area, stop by the BC Visitor Centre @ Osoyoos.
Have we missed one of your favourite Osoyoos hikes? Share in the comments below.
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