Bear Creek Provincial Park
About This Park
Truly a natural wonderland, Bear Creek Provincial Park is situated in the Central Okanagan Basin on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
The park features lakeside camping, over 400 metres of sandy beaches and 5 km of spectacular, well-marked hiking trails. A picturesque canyon has been carved into the bedrock by Bear Creek tumbling onto a cottonwood-lined delta.
This park is extremely busy during the summer season and reservations are required to camp here. For your convenience, during the summer season the park has a concession located at the gatehouse and managed by the park operator.
Established Date: March 19, 1981
Park Size: 178 hectares
All campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are required for all campsites in this park.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- Conservation: Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir proliferate in the dry, rocky hills above the canyon, balsam-root and prickly-pear cactus compete for the area’s meager rainfall. The canyon floor below is home to maple and birch, saskatoon and buffalo berry, wild rose, horsetail and mosses. Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please don’t damage or remove them.
- Wildlife: Wildlife abounds from the swallows and hawks that swoop through the canyon to the owls and coyotes that enliven the night. Noisy tree-frogs can be heard in the spring, crickets are active in the summer. Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.
- Management Planning Information
- There is currently no approved valid management plan for this area. Management plans are prepared as soon as practicable, subject to available resources and the ability of key planning partners to participate.
Activities Available at this Park
Gentle trails take hikers around the campsites and along the creek as it passes through the campground. The Bear Creek Canyon trail is a popular, more demanding hike offering spectacular views of the creek and the surrounding area. The trail leaves the parking lot and makes a loop of the canyon. Hikers can cross the creek on a footbridge to the north side of the canyon and begin their ascent of the slope. A sturdy staircase of milled lumber makes the climb a little easier and reduces impact on the plant life and soil structure. A viewpoint after the first flight of stairs offers a place to rest and look down at the creek.
The wide, hard-packed trail continues up the rim of the canyon with two more viewpoints perched on the edge of the canyon wall and hemmed in by chainlink fence. The view of the creek, as it meanders through the steep-walled canyon forming various ripples and small waterfalls, is fantastic. Gradually the trail levels out and then begins a descent to the creek. A pit toilet is located here. The trail follows the creek for a short distance before crossing to the south side.
The canyon forms a microclimate with noticeably different vegetation on the two sides of the creek. The slope on the north is dry with Ponderosa pine and bunches of grass while the cooler south side has Douglas fir and carpets of moss, evidence of more moisture and shade. Allow 1 hour to hike Canyon and for your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
The Canyon Trail was affected by a wildfire in 2011. Wildfires have produced many hazards in the area. You should be aware of these hazards and the increased risk of injury prior to entering the area. The hazards include: unstable trees, holes and loose rock. The hazards have been reduced along the main trail system and campground areas. Travel off the main trail system has an increased level of risk.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
The park has one campground, though it is divided by Lambly (Bear) Creek. There are 122 vehicle accessible sites in the park, including 18 doubles.
All campsites require reservations at this park.
Sites are # 1-80 on the north side of the creek in two loops. These medium to large sized sites are found amongst well spaced trees and irrigated lawns. The trees are well trimmed and a mix of both coniferous and deciduous with many non-native species present. The effect is of fairly open, well manicured grounds. The sites are gravel and have a fire ring and picnic table on a cement pad. There are no BBQ table attachments. Nine of these sites back onto the creek and are slightly smaller and surrounded by more dense vegetation.
Crossing the creek within the campground leads to sites 81-122 on the south side of the creek. This area of the park is newly landscaped (sites were developed in 1996) and though most of the area is now shaded, some of this area is still open with newly planted saplings, irrigated lawn and raised beds of bark mulch landscaped with low growing plants and bushes between the sites. This area has its own shower/washroom building and taps.
A gatehouse is situated near the park entrance just off Westside Road with three payphones and an information shelter. There is a gate on Westside Road which is locked from 11:00pm to 7:00am during the operating season and then locked during the off-season.