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Kokanee Creek Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Volunteer Host Opportunity
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park offers volunteer host opportunities.
About This Park
With over a kilometre of sandy beaches and three campsites, Kokanee Creek Provincial Park has provincial significance and is the number one choice for tourists’ coming to the West Kootenays. There is always lots to do with an adventure playground, visitor centre, spawning channel, boat launch, group camp site, viewing platform, hiking trails and a marina nearby.
Want more? All within an hour’s drive you can explore historic Nelson, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Balfour Golf Club, Kaslo with the SS Moyie stern wheeler and finally Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Discover south central B.C. but save some time for Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. If you don’t, you’re going to wish you did.
- Kokanee Creek canyon and old growth western cedar and grand fir.
- Kokanee Spawning Channel and viewing platform. Redfish run is mid–August to mid–September
Established Date: April 5, 1955
Park Size: 260 hectares
Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
April 14 – October 9
(Gate is closed during off-season – but the day-use and overflow area remain open – access to these areas are subject to snow conditions)
|Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:||(Off season: If full services are provided – full fees will be in effect. If no services are provided – user maintained with no fee. See contact information for information.)|
|– Redfish||June 1 – September 25|
|– Sandspit||April 28 – October 1|
|– Friends||April 14 – October 9|
|– Group Sites||April 28 – October 9|
|Campground Reservable Dates:|
|– Sandspit||April 28 – September 11|
|– Friends||April 14 – October 8|
|– Group Sites||April 28 – October 8|
Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites:
Redfish = 19
Sandspit = 112
Friends = 39
Number of Reservable Campsites:
Sandspit campground – 100% reservable
|Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.|
Know Before You Go
- Beach is unsupervised. Parents must be careful with children around the Kokanee Creek canyon and canyon viewpoint.
- Winds and weather on Kootenay Lake can change quickly. Be prepared.
- Electrical hook-ups at Friends Campground
Friends Campground offers 13 vehicle accessible campsites with electrical hook-ups. The charge is an extra $7/night.
- The Kokanee Nature Centre is open in July and August; contact the Park Operator for details.
ReservationsAll 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:
Group campsite reservations are accepted at this park through Discover Camping for dates starting April 28 to October 8.
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
- History: Kokanee Creek Park is located on the old “Busk” estate site. Charles W. Busk was a wealthy English gentleman who came to Nelson in the late 1800’s. He had acquired a large tract of land with lake frontage 14 miles from Nelson. From plans drawn by English architects, Busk built a large mansion that once sat on a rise a short way up Kokanee Glacier Road. As a country squire and gracious gentlemen, Mr. Busk enjoyed entertaining guests but also had many interests in surveying, mining, fruit ranching and Scouting. He lived an eloquent, lavish life style. After 1913 the romance of his new way of life had dulled and it is estimated he went through three fortunes. Sadly, within a few years he died, disillusioned by most of his ventures, withdrawn and ignored by friends whom he once had entertained so lavishly. The park as it is seen today was originally established in 1955.
- Cultural Heritage: Archaeological evidence in the park indicates seasonal campsites used by First Nations people. Remains of European settlement include evidence of old homesteads and an early estate. Nearby are mining ghost towns and village museums displaying the Kootenay area history.
- Conservation: With 257 hectares, Kokanee Creek Park has extensive sandy beaches and a large delta area. Backed by a gentle rising upland, this area gives way to the forested slopes of the Slocan Range of the Selkirk Mountains. Kokanee Creek bisects the landscape to form a steep canyon. The park protects the active alluvial creek fan with its marshes and extensive sandspit. Both the Englemann spruce/subalpine fir and the interior cedar/hemlock biogeoclimatic zones occur here. Prime growing conditions within the park produce a diverse mix of vegetation with magnificent specimens of fir, hemlock and pine. There are both pure and mixed stands of deciduous trees as well as many of the common understory plants including wild rose, queen’s cup and skunk cabbage. Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please do not damage or remove them.
Wildlife: The Kokanee Creek Delta ecology includes
many species of plants and animals. A variety of habitats support coyotes,
beaver, whitetail and mule deer and a large number of birds ranging from the
tiny Rufous hummingbird to the great blue heron. Many of the birds are migratory
but kingfishers, woodpeckers and dippers can by seen throughout the year. The
park also has important man-made and some natural spawning channels for kokanee
salmon, which spawn in large numbers in the late summer.
Park visitors should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. Please view all wildlife from a distance.
Activities Available at this Park
Kokanee Creek Paddle Sports – kayak and paddle board rentals off the beach in the Friends Day-use Area.
The most popular are three connected trails located on the west side of Highway 3, opposite the Sandspit campground entrance. Canyon Trail follows the east side of Kokanee Creek, passes through mature cedar/hemlock trees and leads you to a set of stairs and terraced viewing platform overlooking a canyon. Due to the narrowness of the canyon, the views of the spring runoff are spectacular. The connecting Pine and Woodland trails take you through a forest of yellow pine and birch. The trails combine to make a circle route. All the trails are considered easy to moderate. Depending which route you choose, hiking times range from 30 to 60 min.
In addition, Kokanee Glacier Park is 16 km away and contains over 100 km of beginner to advanced hiking trails in spectacular alpine terrain.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has a fun, hands on, Learn to Fish Program that teaches basic angling skills to youth under 16 years old. Check back to this page or ask the Park Operator for information.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Please note: There are no fire rings in sites 137-145.
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!
The most popular is situated beside the north end of Sandspit campground. The beach is sandy, 1 km long and has a wonderful large sandbar at its south-eastern tip. There are several picnic tables along the shore line, 60 feet from the waters edge, evenly spaced among cotton wood and pine trees. The trees offer limited shade and the beach can become very hot during mid day. Behind the tables is a large, open grassy area suitable for recreational sports and family gatherings. Nearby and conveniently located are an adventure playground, toilet change house, horseshoe pit, two fountains with taps, pit toilet and six barbeque stands. Parking is available for 240 vehicles. If you want tables by the beach, come early as this beach is popular with local residents.
The smaller day-use/picnic area is the Redfish site. The access road is directly across from the Redfish campground entrance on the opposite side of Highway 3. A short drive will bring you to the 40 vehicle parking lot. This location is also where you will find the group picnic and/or group campsite with the shelter and grassy area. The beach with picnic tables is just a short walk from here and is approximately 300 metres long, described as a mixture of rough sand and gravel. Visitors use the pit toilets and water tap by the group sites. There is no recognized swimming area or change house.
Both these day-use/picnic areas are popular but please remember there are no fire pits. A dog beach is beside the boat launch at the northeast end of the park.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
Sandspit campgound is where the majority of the facilities are concentrated. After you exit Highway 3 turn right to the park gatehouse. Staff are available to check reservations and direct you to a campsite. This campground is situated in a diverse forest of both conifers (cedar, hemlock, pine) and deciduous (cottonwood, birch, aspen) trees. The mixed forest provides plenty of shade. A blend of medium to large sites can accommodate large rigs and extra vehicles. The campsites, with 18 doubles, are evenly spaced on four parallel lanes called Gopher, Osprey, Chipmunk and Porcupine. These lanes bisect the outer lane referred to as Park Lane.
Redfish campground has intimate, mostly shaded, small vehicle accessible sites within a cedar hemlock forest. Two of the sites have tent pads but there are no pull through or doubles.
Friends campground offers 39 sites close to the main beach, 13 sites have electrical service. Sites 137 to 145 have 30 Amp service and sites 147, 149, 151 and 153 have 30 and 50 Amp service. Please note: There are no fire rings at sites 137-145.
Services are offered in the high use season between May and September. Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available. Park gates are located at both campground entrances. Pay phones are conveniently located at the Visitor Centre and the first toilet building in Sandspit campground. Kokanee Park Store/Marina and the Crescent Beach Resort are both a 2-minute drive from the park.