Bear Creek Provincial Park is located in the unique city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Kelowna is known for its recreation, nature, and culture, and it prides itself on the multifaceted layers of the city’s rural and urban elements. Visitors to Kelowna have the opportunity to camp in a secluded, natural setting, but also have the proximity to the city where there are restaurants, vineyards, and shopping. Bear Creek Provincial Park is located along the shores of Okanagan Lake and is one of Kelowna’s most popular outdoor destinations.
Okanagan Lake is the place to go if you desire beaches, water activity, and outdoor adventure. The lake is extensive, covering approximately 84 miles (135 km) from north to south. The clear water reaches an average temperature of 69-71℉ (19-23 ℃) during the peak summer season, and there are more than 30 beaches along the lake’s perimeter. Because the lake is the focal point of the area, there are opportunities for visitors to take chartered boat tours, rent boats, join a paddling trip, or lie on the beach in the sun.
Visitors to Bear Creek Provincial Park will have the best of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake when choosing to stay in the park’s campground. RV campers wanting a shaded and tree-lined camping location to escape the bustle of daily life but desire a place close to the comforts of a city will love camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park.
Bear Creek Provincial Park is located 6.7 miles (10.9 km) from the center of the city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. To get to the park, drivers must cross a floating bridge because the route goes over Okanagan Lake.
From Vernon, the park is located 39.5 miles (63.6 km) south, and from Vancouver, the drive is 243 miles (392 km) northeast. Many of the routes require drivers to cross mountain passes, so RVers should be aware of switchbacks and steeply-graded descents.
British Columbia’s provincial parks do not assess daily parking fees, but there may be fees for dump stations, boat launches, and other areas of interest within the park that are additional costs on top of the overnight camping fee. Guests arriving early or late to the park should be aware that the entrance gate is locked nightly from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. All of the park’s gates are closed during the off-season.
The Bear Creek Campground is a multi-looped camping area with varying types of RV sites. Campers may reserve a site and stay in the campground during the park’s operating season. The campground welcomes your well-behaved, leashed pet, and encourages campers to read the pet rules before heading to the park. All of the sites have gravel driveways. Most of the driveways are back in, but the newer section of the campground has pull-through driveways for larger RVs and trailers. Campers may choose from primitive sites with no hookups or electrical sites with 30 amp electrical hookup. Select sites offer 50 amp electrical hookups and water. Regardless of the site you book, you will have a picnic table and a fire ring. The campground provides restrooms, showers, a dump station, drinking water, and proximity to hiking trails. All campers should secure and lock up food and trash items at all time. Staying in bear country means you need an extra level of safety for you and the bears! Generator use is permitted in the accessible campsites between the hours of 9:00 am to 11:00 am and again from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Freshwater anglers who prefer lake fishing will have plenty of places to drop in a fishing line at Bear Creek Provincial Park. The lake, known for its large rainbow trout, burbot, kokanee, and lake whitefish has plenty of surface area for anglers to explore while fishing from a boat.
There is not a boat launch for motorized boats within the park, so anglers who wish to fish from a boat must launch at one of the lake’s marinas or public boat launches. Before heading to the water, ensure you have the proper freshwater fishing license. For questions relating to fishing limits, regulations, and restrictions, visit the Fishing Regulations Synopsis on the British Columbia Freshwater Fishing website.
The trails weaving in and around the water’s edge and through the forested areas give hikers the sense of seclusion while out on the well-marked paths. All of the trails are hiking-only trails, with difficulty levels ranging from an easy walk to more challenging hikes. Before heading out on the trails, stop by the park office and pick up a trail map, so you are comfortable knowing the route and difficulty level of your hike. Some of the hikes pass over dangerous cliffs and drop-offs, but there are plenty of safe, scenic vistas along the trail as well, so you can be sure you won’t miss anything worth seeing.
The park offers many outdoor spaces that help to create a comforting atmosphere of nature for the guests who want to spend their time outside. The day use and picnic area have tables overlooking the lake and the city of Kelowna as well as a grassy area for people who prefer picnics on the lawn. There is a large parking lot close to the picnic tables, and there are flush toilets, a change house, and interpretive information for guests who want to learn about the park while hanging out and enjoying the weather. Many of the outdoor areas have shade, so guests can choose to spend their time in the sun or protected by the shade.
During the summer, the park hosts several special events and programs designed to engage, entertain, and teach kids and adults about the topics relevant to British Columbia and Bear Creek Provincial Park. Some of the programs are interpretive, while others are hands-on and instructional, like the learn to fish program. The programming changes from year to year based on need and interest. For detailed information on the events and interpretive programs happening during the summer, contact a member of the park staff.
Bring your stand up paddleboards, your canoes, and your kayaks, and explore the water! Okanagan Lake is a favorite destination for water activities. The park has a privately-owned rental facility on site that rents canoes, kayaks, and other small watercraft if you want to try paddling, but you don’t have a boat. There are also other rental facilities and marinas located near the park in case you want to try a different paddle sport every day. Don’t forget your personal flotation devices! There are no lifeguards on duty, so all paddlers will need to be cautious on the water.
There is nothing like spending a day on the lake like a warm, sandy beach, like plenty of sun and a clear view of the water. Bear Creek Provincial Park has a large swimming area that runs from the campgrounds through the day use area and over to the creek. There are restrooms and places to have a picnic close to the water, as well as a changing station and a shower. The beach is a pebbly-sand beach, so be sure to bring your water shoes with you. Buoys mark the swimming area, so swimmers know where it’s safe to spend their time. There are no lifeguards on duty, so swimmers must enter the water at their own risk.