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Kettle River Recreation Area
About This Park
Stands of Ponderosa pine interspersed with open areas of bunchgrass characterize this recreation area that lies astride the Kettle River between the Okanagan Plateau and the Monashee Mountains. The abandoned right-of-way of the historic Kettle Valley section of the Canadian Pacific Railway, completed in 1916 to link the Pacific coast with southern Alberta, passes through the site. On the east bank of the river is evidence of the once flourishing gold and silver mines.
In the summer, excellent canoeing or inner tube riding although there are some hazards on the river. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are favourite pastimes.
Established Date: July 6, 1972
Park Size: 179 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Poison Ivy: A low plant white three glossy, bright green leaves and white berries. Wear shoes when hiking, especially in underbrush. Calamine lotion is an effective treatment.
- If you decide to walk parts of the historic Kettle Valley Railway, the bridge across the river is still intact, however, caution is advised at all times on and around the bridge.
- Please note: The numbers on the campsites have recently been revised. Please check the park map for the revised campsite numbers.
All campsite and group site reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Group Campsite Reservations
Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- History: One of Canada’s most historic and scenic railway routes runs through this park. The Kettle Valley Railway opened in 1916 and discontinued service in 1973 and the track was removed between the towns of Midway and Penticton in 1980. This track now makes an excellent trail. On the east bank of the river is evidence of the once flourishing gold and silver mines.
- Cultural Heritage: There is evidence of First Nations use of the area. Some ancestors have been repatriated into the park and there are archaeological restrictions on development.
- Conservation: The park protects two red listed plant communities: old growth cottonwood and dry Ponderosa pine bunchgrass. The area is an important winter ranger for deer and there is also a high incidence of cavity nesting birds throughout the park.
Activities Available at this Park
Bicycles must keep to roadways and designated trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia. The KVR Trail offers great cycling opportunities. A bike park was recently added to the campground area and it has been extremely popular with kids of all ages.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
There is one large group campsite at this park. The group camping area is accessed from the road to the day use just past the turn-off to the regular campground. The gravel road is gated and leads to a fenced gravel parking loop. There is room for roughly ten vehicles along the loop, more in the open center of the loop. Surrounding the fenced parking is a band of lawn then open Ponderosa pine/bunchgrass forest. There are 13 tables on the lawn area that has potential for tenting with plenty of shade provided by the Ponderosa pines.
There are two flush toilets, one wheelchair accessible pit toilet just off the parking as well as two taps and two fire rings. There is also a half-wall log frame shelter with cement floor. Inside are a stove, sink, counter and six tables. The area is on a terrace above the river and there are benches along the edge overlooking the river. The group campsites are open from May 5 to October 1. Reservations are accepted.
Regular group camping charges per night are the base rate for the site, which is $120.00/group site/night, plus $5/adult (16+, minimum charge for 15 adults), plus $1/child (6-15). Children under 6 are free!
Pit or Flush Toilets
There are hot showers in the shower building. There is no extra charge for showers and they are for registered guests, only.
Vehicle Accessible Camping
All sites are vehicle accessible. Sites 1–85 are reservable and sites 86–114 are for first-come, first-serve camping. There are 12 double sites located throughout the park. The sites are arranged in three main loops. The sites are located in the beautiful, open Ponderosa pine/bunchgrass forest with the red-orange bark of the trees contrasting sharply with the bland grass. This forest type gives the campground an open, spacious feeling. The exception is the loop of sites 21–53, which offer a significantly different camping feel. These are smaller sites that are very private and found in thick Douglas fir with many shrubs separating the sites. The newest loop of sites 88–114 are some of the most open sites in the park.
- Guests with reservations: Check reservation board at campground host site to confirm pre-assigned site number.
- Guests without reservations: Select any vacant first-come, first-serve site (sites 86–114) or if you are looking for a one night stay, select any vacant site marked with a one night only tag. If you are unsure of a site’s availability, please ask a Park Operator or the Park Host for assistance.