Osoyoos is located 60 km (37 miles) south of Penticton
Hwy 3 and
along the border with the United States just north of Oroville,
Washington. Both Osoyoos and Oroville share the same lakeshore along
Osoyoos Lake where the lake crosses the border.
Osoyoos has the notoriety of having Canada's only desert and perhaps
its warmest lake; it is reported to have average summer water temperatures
of 24 degrees C. (75 degrees F.).
Hours of Sunshine
If you enjoy nice hot, dry and semi-arid conditions, complete with
mild winters similar to California or Arizona, Osoyoos is the place.
For sun worshippers an average least 2,000 hours of sunshine annually.
Osoyoos Lake is divided into half because of the Hwy 3 bridge crossing.
At the bridge you can find public beach areas for swimming, sun
tanning and picnicking. Downtown Osoyoos is just a short walk west
of here along the park.
If you head east from the Hwy 3 bridge crossing you will come to
an ornamental water fountain and the start of a very nice walkway
along Osoyoos Lake with a view towards the south. During the warmer
seasons this walkway features some beautiful flower arrangements
along its path.
There is also a great Holiday Inn featuring Shores Restaurant located
across from here on Hwy 3. Continuing eastward on Hwy 3 you come
to more motels, hotels, campgrounds and tourist attractions along
the Hwy 3 road frontage.
If you're looking for a public beach, turn left on Cottonwood Dr.,
drive past the Sage Pub and Liquor Store and you'll come to Cottonwood
Park. This beach is a good spot to hang out and enjoy the lake.
Point Provincial Park
On the south side of the bridge the lake extends to an enormous
spit that almost touches the other side of the lake called Haynes
Point. Located on this spit is Haynes
Point Provincial Park. Named after Justice of the Peace, Judge
John Carmichael Haynes, the park has campground facilities containing
small private sandy beaches.
If you're a bird watcher, Haynes Point Provincial Park also contains
a natural marsh very rich in birdlife. There is an interpretive
trail present complete with a wildlife viewing platform for taking
People of the Nk'Mip
Osoyoos is also home to the Okanagan People of the Nk'Mip. This
proud First Nation heritage is felt throughout Osoyoos with some
major businesses operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band Development
Corporation prevailing throughout the valley.
Desert & Heritage Centre
To get a feeling of this culture you can visit the Nk'Mip Desert
& Heritage Centre. This is a 'must see' for it is the northern
boundary of the Great Basin Desert - part of the larger Sonoran
Desert ecosystem stretching from Mexico. There are some self-guided
interpretive trails throughout the 50-acre desert centre giving
you unbelievable views of Osoyoos Lake.
Make sure you visit the Nk'Mip Cellars situated nearby if you're
experiencing Desert Wine Country tours. These are award-winning
wines with a great view of the lake resulting in an excellent time.
When you visit Osoyoos you will notice a large agricultural presence
throughout the land. Fruit growing and vineyards along the sun-drenched
hills are quite evident and, along with tourism, supply the main
economic stimulus in the region. Make sure you take part in sampling
some of the fruit and fine wines available. A good selection of
fruit stands is located on Hwy 3 on the east side of the bridge
crossing before going up Anarchist Summit.
For wineries there are 11 wineries to choose from between Osoyoos
and Oliver in what is called
Desert Wine Country. There are several wine tours available for
the Oliver-Osoyoos area consisting of wine tasting, local history
and sightseeing. Please contact Desert Wine Tours for more information.
If you enjoy golfing Osoyoos has three courses within 20 minutes
that you can experience. The Osoyoos Golf & Country Club is
located on the south-west side and offers year-round golf with a
challenging 27-hole championship course. For beginners there is
an executive par-3 course called Desert Springs Golf Club. More
advanced golfers should try Fairview Mountain Golf Course located
in Oliver that is rated one of Canada's top twenty golf courses.
For winter sport enthusiasts Mt Baldy is located 46 km east on Hwy
3 towards Rock Creek. Mt. Baldy
is a great destination if you enjoy smaller crowds, a relaxed atmosphere
and great snow. The prices for a lift ticket are reasonable offering
1500 vertical feet of exciting terrain. If you're planning to stay
awhile, accommodation is also available on Mt. Baldly.
Views of Osoyoos Lake
You can take some great camera shots of Osoyoos Lake from both the
east and west side of Hwy 3 heading into Osoyoos. On the east is
the viewpoint coming down the summit of Anarchist Mountain. From
here you can see all the way down to the US in the south and, looking
north, pretty well the whole of Osoyoos Lake. On the west there
is Richter Pass - a very steep incline going into Osoyoos with panoramic
views of the desert and lake.
For the more adventurous, another spot for great views of both the
Similkameen and Okanagan valleys has to be from the Testalinden
Trail. You can either hike in or take your mountain bike along this
5 km (3 miles) trail.
Lookout Forest Road
To get here drive west by 11 km (7 miles) on Hwy 3 towards Keremeos
from Osoyoos up the Richter Pass to the Kobau Lookout Forest Road.
Take this road - it is a little rough but if you take your time
about 40-45 minutes - any good mechanically operating car should
be able to make it to the 1,860 m (6,102 feet) summit. Once at the
summit access to the trail becomes apparent.
Kobau Star Party
Mt. Kobau is also home to the annual Mt. Kobau Star Party. If you're
an astronomer try to make this event for a great evening of stargazing.
Osoyoos is also home to a great little art gallery and museum. The
art galley is open all year and takes pride in displaying the works
of over 50 artists that call Osoyoos home. The Osoyoos Museum contains
various exhibits dealing with the early settlement of Osoyoos and
the development of orchard and fruit industry.
Show of Flowers
For a really spectacular time you should visit during blossom time.
This usually happens in the second or third week in April. Just
an unbelievable show of flowers! The drive down from Oliver on Hwy
97 is quite stunning.
Various events that are hosted in Osoyoos include: the annual midsummer
mixed bonspiel for curlers and hockey fans can enjoy the Osoyoos
Coyotes Junior 'B' Hockey Club, a member of the Kootenay International
Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).
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