Osoyoos Indian Band
(This is not a campsite reservations number)
sẁiẁs Provincial Park (Haynes Point)
- During the course of a facility improvement project in 2014, BC Parks uncovered an important archaeological site within the campground. With sẁiẁs Park now an archaeological site, the Province and Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) have agreed that sẁiẁs and sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Parks will be managed by the OIB. Park visitors can expect the same recreational opportunities as before. BC Parks and OIB continue to collaborate on management that will ensure the long term protection of the cultural heritage values in the park and the strengthen their government to government relationship.
About This Park
sw̓iw̓s park is proudly managed and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band.
sw̓iw̓s park is located within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Since time immemorial, the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors have inhabited and cared for the lands and waters within their traditional territory.
In 2015, the park was renamed to reflect the traditional Okanagan place name for the area. The nqilxʷcən/nsyilxcən place name and history of sw̓iw̓s have been passed down for thousands of years through the oral tradition of capti̓kʷl stories and teachings.
sw̓iw̓s sounds similar to “s-wee-yous” and means a place where it is shallow or narrow in the middle of the lake. The place name explains how the area was used to cross Osoyoos Lake by foot or by horse.
Lakeside campsites and privacy make this one of the most popular provincial parks in the province. Campers are encouraged to book reservations early in the season to secure campsites during the busy summer months.
Special features: sw̓iw̓s park is an important archaeological and cultural heritage site. Please help respect and protect this historically and culturally important area by following the park rules. Park guests are also reminded that the Heritage Conservation Act protects all archaeological and cultural heritage sites in the province. This includes intact or disturbed, known or unknown, recorded or unrecorded sites.
Date Established: May 17, 1962
Park Size: 38 hectares
Special Notes: Due to popularity and size of the campground, campers are only allowed to stay in this park up to a maximum of 7 days in a calendar year. Reservations are made through BC Parks’ Discover Camping reservation system.
- The extremely hot, dry Okanagan climate can result in overexposure to the sun. Children and adults should use a sunscreen and wear a hat during long periods in the sun.
- Caution Campers and swimmers should be aware that extreme caution is required when swimming or walking in the shallow water surrounding the park. There is potential for dangerous undercurrents. Extremely steep drop offs surround the exposed sandbar at the tip of the point. Children should be supervised at all times. Swim, wade or walk in the water at your own risk.
- Caution: sw̓iw̓s park is subject to severe and unexpected winds on occasion. Please ensure that all tents and equipment are tied down at all times, to help prevent damage.
- Caution: sw̓iw̓s park contains significant amounts of poison ivy. Park guests are encouraged to become familiar with this plant and avoid any contact.
Click here for the audio file.
| 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 1 – October 10 (gate locked during the off-season)|
|Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:||April 1 – October 10
(Entrance gate locked nightly from 11 pm – 7am)
|Campground Reservable Dates:||May 15 – September 10|
|Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites:||41|
|Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
||41 – 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.|
ReservationsAll campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservationsare accepted at this park.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
- Park Map [PDF 250KB]
Nature and Culture
- History: The present day park was created on May 17, 1962. In 2015, the Province and Osoyoos Indian Band agreed that the Osoyoos Indian Band will manage sw̓iw̓s park.
- Cultural Heritage: The archaeological and cultural heritage values at sw̓iw̓s park tell an important story about how the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors used sw̓iw̓s as a crossing area, cultural use, and habitation site in the thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers in the region.
The Okanagan ancestral remains that were disturbed and reburied on site are the oldest on record in the Osoyoos region (approximately 1,224 years old). Radiocarbon testing of faunal (i.e. animal) materials recovered from a shell midden provided important information about the diet of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors 3,265 – 4,475 years ago. Obsidian flakes retrieved from the park were analyzed to be from the Whitewater Ridge in Oregon. The presence of the flakes in the park affirms the travel and trade routes of the Okanagan People along the Columbia River Basin.
The cultural heritage values in the park include opportunities for the ongoing continuance of Okanagan culture through traditional, ceremonial and cultural use of the area.
The old Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail also passed through the area nearly two centuries ago.
OIB and BC Parks are working in partnership to ensure the long-term protection of the archaeological and cultural heritage resources within sw̓iw̓s park.
- Conservation: The park protects species and ecosystems at risk such as peach leaf willow, antelope brush-needle and thread grass and wetlands. Wetlands are rapidly disappearing in the Okanagan Valley. The marsh area and self-guided interpretive trail are important features of the park.
- Wildlife:The marsh area of the park is home to a variety of wildlife. Blue-listed species include the Western small footed myotis bat, barn owl, spadefoot toad and painted turtle. The tiger salamander is a red-listed species that calls the park home.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- There is currently no approved management plan for this area. The Osoyoos Indian Band and BC Parks are working in partnership to identify resources and opportunities to develop an innovative management plan for the park.
Activities Available at this Park
The trail leads to a two-tiered viewing platform that is roughly ten feet tall and provides a commanding view of the marsh. It is a wonderful spot for viewing the variety of red and blue listed species that are a feature of the park as well as other birds in the area. The platform is eight feet by eight feet with a railing enclosed by plastic link fence for safety. There are two benches underneath the platform.
The trail continues on to 80m of boardwalk and two more ground level viewing platforms with more educational signs. 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. To protect this sensitive ecosystem, no dogs are permitted in this area.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
The sites are large with level gravel pads, picnic tables and fire rings. The many of the sites can accommodate larger RVs. Most of the sites are right on the lake, one of the attractions of this park. The landscape is open with sites being separated by pockets of beach and scattered cottonwood and Ponderosa pine trees for shade. The inner campsites and those at the tip of the spit are in thickets of shrubs that offer more privacy and shade and the opportunity for bird watching. The nearest services are in Osoyoos and there is a phone in the campground near site #10.
- Guests with reservations: Check reservation board at campground entrance for pre-assigned site number.
- Guests without reservations: Check the reservation board for sites that may be available on a first-come, first-served basis or for one night only.
Special note: during peak season, reservations are highly recommended as first-come, first-served sites are available on a minimal basis only.