Osoyoos: Why Head To This Canadian Hot Spot?

Osoyoos is located at the southern end of the Okanagan Valley, beside the international border with Oroville, Washington. The region is considered Canada’s only true desert.

Framed by desert hills, lakes, vineyards, and orchards, Osoyoos is the ultimate year-round desert destination with a climate that allows you to luxuriate in its unique surroundings. Taste the area’s delicious fresh fruit, and drink award-winning wines directly at their source.

Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The area is one of the largest grape-growing regions of British Columbia, with more than 15 estate wineries within a 15-minute drive of the town centre.

There’s more to Osoyoos than bright blue skies and wineries set against gentle sloping hills. While the community embraces and proudly showcases their vintner industry, Osoyoos also has sophisticated resorts, numerous full-service RV parks, championship golf courses, the nation’s warmest lake, and a wide range of cultural, intellectual, and artistic experiences.

Osoyoos is set on a vast and rugged landscape of hills and grasslands that invite hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing within easy access to the city. Osoyoos Lake is easily accessed from downtown for fishing, sightseeing, or water activities.

Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s something for all visitors to Osoyoos: sandy beaches around a desert environment, ski hills, playgrounds, orchards, wineries, and a First Nations cultural centre.

Osoyoos is a place where First Nations culture and contemporary lifestyles exist side by side and where ancient traditions and modern life have each carved out their place within a dramatic and welcoming environment.

Owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band and located on 1,200 acres of band land, Nk’Mip Cellars is the first Aboriginal-owned and-operated winery in North America. The word Nk’Mip translates to “Bottomland” in English, being located at the southern end of the Osoyoos reservation. Over 500 Osoyoos Band members live here in the hottest and driest part of Canada.

Moon Curser Vineyards overlooking Osoyoos and Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Moon Curser Vineyards overlooking Osoyoos and Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The adjoining resort offers a restaurant, conference facilities, accommodation, campground and RV park, and championship golf course.

The Spirit Ridge at NK’ MIP Resort and the NK/ MIP Desert Cultural Centre are built on the slopes of Anarchist Mountain. The resort was built adobe style, making it look right at home in the surrounding desert, and guests can visit the onsite winery, play a round on the Sonora Dunes Golf Course, relax at the spa, or hang out at one of two pools. The adults-only pool offers a sweeping view of Osoyoos Lake.

The Desert Cultural Centre includes extensive indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries built to create a fun, interactive learning environment with hands-on displays, education stations, and two multi-media theatre experiences.

One on the numerous beaches on Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One on the numerous beaches on Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the most spectacular drives starts on Highway 3 west of Osoyoos. The road climbs through Wild West sagebrush country and passes Spotted Lake, a bizarre saline pond featuring hundreds of huge crystalline rings.

At Richter Pass, a gravel road leaves the north side of the highway and climbs Mount Kobau. The lookout at the peak gives you an unsurpassed view of the valley far below, a gold, green, and blue gem set in a sea of mountain forests.

There are numerous beaches for sun worshipers, activity seekers, walkers, or loungers who just want to relax and let the warmth of the sun and surf melt away their cares.

The two most popular are Gyro Beach located in the heart of town in front of the Watermark Resort, while the other is Cottonwood Beach adjacent to Main Street on the east side of town. Both of these beaches are great for anyone who likes warm, clear waters, and hot summer days when the temperature reaches upwards of 95 degrees. For an out-of-the-way beach, try Legion

West of Osoyoos, Highway 3 climbs through Wild West sagebrush country and passes Spotted Lake, a bizarre saline pond featuring hundreds of huge crystalline rings. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

West of Osoyoos, Highway 3 climbs through Wild West sagebrush country and passes Spotted Lake, a bizarre saline pond featuring hundreds of huge crystalline rings. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Beach, tucked into a cove on the southwest side of the bridge.

Fast Facts

Osoyoos and area boasts some pretty unique statistics that make the area distinct from any other: Population: 4,845

Elevation: 909 feet

Home to Canada’s only desert environment

Home to Canada’s warmest freshwater lake: Osoyoos Lake

Home to some of the warmest average temperatures in Canada summertime: 82.4F, autumn: 61.5F, winter: 34.3F, spring: 64.2F

Average annual sunshine: 2,039 hours

Average annual rainfall: 9.8 inches

Average annual snowfall: 2.1 inches

Resort overlooks Osoyoos and Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Waltons Lakefront RV Resort overlooks Osoyoos and Lake Osoyoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Home to North America’s first aboriginal owned and operated winery: Nk’Mip Cellars

Where to Stay: NK’mip RV Park and Campground; Walton’s Lakefront RV Resort

Worth Pondering…

It’s a beautiful day for it.

—Wilbur Cross

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