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Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
- May 19, 2018: Caution – Gillies Creek Road at the intersection of Ward 1 Trail is washed out
This is approximately 1 km from the parking lot, by either the Ward 1 Trail or the Gillies Crk Road. The washout can be crossed on foot.
Repair works will involve contracted engineering and archaeologist services, and may require a permit under the Water Act. Estimated time of completion is fall of 2018.
- August 15, 2016: Dogs must be leashed at all times in the park
BC Parks is considering a dog ban in Skaha Bluffs if park visitors do not comply with this rule.
About This Park
Skaha 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.
Established Date: April 21, 2010
Park Size: 489 hectares
Know Before You Go
- 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, from November 15 to March 1.
- 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. There is no parking along the single lane park access road, except where signage indicates. If needed, overflow parking will be available at the bottom of Smythe Road on those busy weekends.
Caution: vehicle break-ins
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 are out of sight and that your vehicle is locked. Report suspicious activity and thefts to the RCMP.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Skaha Bluffs is south of Penticton on the east side of Skaha Lake. Access is from Lakeside Road to Smythe Road up along Gillies Creek.
Please note that road access is closed seasonally, approximately from November 15 to March 1.
Maps and Brochures
- Area Map [PDF]
- Climbing Area Trails Map [PDF]
- Multi-use Trails Map [PDF 1.57MB] Mountain biking is only allowed on the designated routes in the Gillies Creek corridor. No new trail building or climbing is allowed in this section of the park. These trails are multi-use and like the rest of the park, dogs must be leashed.
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 Planning Information
- Skaha Bluffs Park Management Plan – July 2016 [PDF 4.75MB]
The management plan for Skaha Bluffs Park was approved in July 2016.