Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
- NOTE RE PARKING AT SKAHA BLUFFS:
The popularity of Skaha Bluffs on the long weekends in spring and fall has led to some access and safety concerns. In the past, vehicles parked on either side of the single lane paved park road have made accessing the parking lots difficult as well as being a potential problem for emergency vehicles.
New “No Parking” areas will be signed – there will be no parking along the single lane park road. If needed overflow parking will be available at the bottom of Smythe Rd. There will also be a marked shortcut trail to the parking lot from the park road. BC Parks staff will be enforcing the no parking areas.
- CAUTION: There have been a number of recent vehicle break-ins at the parking lots at Skaha Bluffs. If possible, don’t leave valuable items in your vehicle. Ensure that any valuables left in your vehicle are out of sight, and that your vehicle is locked.
About This ParkSkaha Bluffs Park provides a variety of recreation opportunities including hiking, rockclimbing and wildlife viewing while also protecting habitat for a variety of species at risk. World-class climbing opportunities are found at Skaha Bluffs though it is important to note that climbing is prohibited in the southern area (the section of the park that encompasses Gillies Creek).
The distinctive terrain features of the bluffs along with the Gillies Creek corridor reflect extremely threatened riparian and grassland plant communities.
Park Size: 489 hectares
- Rock climbing involves risk and should only be attempted by properly equipped and experienced climbers. Access trails may be steep and rocky and may expose users to cliffs or steep drop-offs. Use caution.
- Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
- Campfires and camping are not permitted.
- Road access is closed seasonally, approximately from November 15 to March 1.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Please note that road access is closed seasonally, approximately from November 15 to March 1.
Nature and Culture
- History: Recreational climbing has been occuring in the area since the 1980s.
- Culture: Skaha Bluffs lies within the asserted territory of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, with the closest geographical member band of the ONA being the Penticton Indian Band. The greater land area holds tremendous spiritual and cultural significance to the Okanagan Nation.
- Conservation and Wildlife: The landscape consists of a variety of distinctive terrain features, which function together to provide habitat for many provincially or federally listed species at risk, including bighorn sheep, fringed and small-footed myotis, night snake, and Western screech owl. Other notable species include Clark’s nutcracker, pygmy nuthatch, red squirrel, Pacific chorus frog, white-throated swift, canyon wren and Western rattlesnake.
- Rugged terrain (i.e., cliffs, crevices, outcroppings and talus) and the grasslands that occur on the shallow-soiled terraces, provide a variety of habitat types. These habitat types include escape terrain, nesting/roosting habitat, travel corridors and foraging areas.
- Grassland benches in the western portion of the proposed park are remnant examples of this habitat type. The majority of these terraces outside of the proposed park along the east side of the Okanagan basin have been impacted by agricultural and residential development. The vegetation is in good condition with far fewer invasive plants than is typical for this site series throughout its range in B.C.
- The park retains critical bighorn sheep ram range, and is a keystone segment of the north-south migration corridor.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
An Interim Management Statement (IMS) has been prepared for the newly established Skaha Bluffs Park. The IMS was drafted before Skaha Bluffs Park (Crown land area) was legally designated; however the interim document serves as approved management direction for the site(s) until a full management plan can be prepared.
- Approved Interim Management Direction Statement [PDF 1.4MB] for Skaha Provincial Park is available in pdf format.
Activities Available at this Park
Climbing is only permitted in the northern section of the park. Climbing is not permitted in the southern section (the area of the park that encompasses Gillies Creek).
Mountain biking restricted to designated trails. Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure. Trails used to access climbing routes may be difficult and expose users to steep drop-offs and rocky terrain. Use caution.
Horse use is limited to designated trails.
Please use caution in this high recreation use area.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
The area contains essential habitat for bighorn sheep. Please keep your distance from Bighorn sheep as they can be very territorial and sensitive to human presence.
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit toilets are located at the parking lots. There is a gate on the access road that is open from 7am to dusk.
Pit or Flush Toilets
This park only has pit toilets – no flush toilets.
Some facilities in the park are wheelchair accessible.