Okanagan-Shuswap Nearby: Osoyoos
This 3,500 resident town is just above the Canada-US border. The east side of Osoyoos Lake
is home to a sand desert that extends 48 kilometres north to Skaha Lake, and forms Canada's
only "pocket desert." The climate and terrain here is similar to Spain's leading to the
adoption of Spanish building styles. Since 1974, the town has been rebuilding on the theme
"Spanish Capital of Canada." The US border crossing is just 4 km south of Osoyoos.
The town's name comes from the native word for "narrowing of the waters" because of its
location at a narrowing of Osoyoos Lake. The town decided in 1964 to creatively recycle its
sewage, rather than polluting the lake. The treated effluent is used to water the sparkling
greens on the golf course, which doesn't allow any golfing for a few hours after the watering.
The town has 19 kilometres of sandy beach lining one of Canada's warmest freshwater lakes.
The town is home to a waterslide park and Mt Baldy Ski Area.
Business listings for Osoyoos
Annual events include the Cherry Fiesta (late June) with raft race horse races, art auction and
parade. See area Festivals & Events
Federal Ecological Reserve (Pocket Desert)
east on Road 22, 7.5 km north of Osoyoos
This 100 hectare desert is the northern extreme of the American Great basin Desert, which extends all the way to Mexico. Since 1921, much of the area has been transformed by irrigation, except for this reserve of unspoiled desert. The climate supports several rare plants and animals. Look for burrowing owls, turkey vultures, pacific rattlesnake, bats, black-headed grosbeaks, antelope bush, sage, rabbitbrush and prickly pear cactus.
Wild Rapids Waterslide
East Lakeshore Drive
Three giant waterslides, five giant hot tubs and two mini slides. Open July and August.
8 km west on Crowsnest Highway 3
This 12 hectare lake has heavy dissolved concentrations of various minerals including copper, silver, gold, sulphates, and epsom salts. These rise to the surface into plates that "spot" the lake's surface. Natives called the lake "Klilok" or medicine lake, and believed that a soak brought both youth and wisdom. The lake is on private property, so viewing is from the highway.
5 kilometres west of town
Great viewpoint over the town and the lake
on Highway 3, 1 km east of Highway 97
The only banana farm in Canada, with produce for sale at the Fernandes market.
Touch of Holland Windmill
1.4 km east on Highway 3
A replica of an 1816 Dutch windmill, complete with lower level living quarters. Stones grind flour on the upper level, with baked goods made on site with the mill's own flour. Open may to September, Monday to Saturday 8 am to 5:30 pm, and Sundays 8 am to 2 pm; Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5:30 pm the rest of the year.
Gyro Community Park
This park has an 1891 log building, typical of late 1800s pioneer homes, and a provincial police exhibit covering its history since being established in 1858 during the gold rush. There are also displays of early mining tools, Indian artifacts, a moonshine still and butterflies. Open June to September.
11.5 from Osoyoos, on Mount Baldy Rd, off #3 east
This turn of the century ghost town was the home of those working the Cariboo mine from 1887 to 1903. It is said that there is still buried treasure in the area, including two gold bars stolen at gunpoint from mine officials. Do not venture beyond fenced areas.
Mount Baldy Ski Area
18 km northeast of Osoyoos, on Mount Baldy Road, off Highway 3 east
This ski area has 12 runs with over 550 metres of vertical drop.
Haynes Point Provincial Park
2 km south of Osoyoos
This 38 hectare park with campsites (all assigned names by the locals) features a distinctive sand spit that reaches ¾ of the way across Osoyoos Lake. The remaining stretch can be waded across (its chest-deep) and was used as a ford by the herders working the pioneer Haynes Ranch. The park also features some unique animals, the tiny Calliope hummingbird, yellow bellied marmots, pygmy horned toads and painted turtles.
Festivals & Events
Oliver & Osoyoos wineries & vineyards