If you head to Canada’s Okanagan Valley you will come across a number of places to enjoy yourself in, especially if you like wine and fresh fruit. The climate of this area is prime for growing some of the tastiest fruit and delectable BC wines. I myself have been to Kelowna, Penticton, and the Naramata Bench. I have not, however, been to Osoyoos, which is today’s focus. These days, it is highly likely that I will finally make my way there.
Osoyoos is located as south as you can go in BC’s Okanagan Valley, being very close to the border of the US’s Washington state. It is situated on Osoyoos Lake, in the heart of Canada’s desert. The drive from Vancouver is roughly 400 km / 248 mi and approximately 125 km / 77 mi from Kelowna.
A small town that is easily walkable, Osoyoos has a small population 5000, give or take, yet that number swells with visitors* especially in the summer months. The dry, hot summers (and moderate seasons year round) bring many to enjoy the lake with its beaches and water sports; cycling and hiking; numerous parks (many with camp grounds); and the fruits and wines of the locale. Winery visits and wine tours are a popular activity in the area. And Canada Day* (July 1) sees their annual Cherry Festival.*
This region also has a delicate and endangered ecosystem. It is a significantly bio-diverse area that contains much flora and fauna that is found nowhere else, which sadly is threatened. Those visiting can learn about the ecosystem at two centres: Osoyoos Desert Society where they have large interpretive facility and the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre which offers interactive learning exhibits and galleries about the desert, its sustainability, and the rich history of the Okanagan People (First Nations).
NOTE*: At time of posting many events have been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, if you are planning future travels to the area please check to see if the region is open to visitors from outside the area.