Truly a natural wonderland, Bear Creek Park is in the Central Okanagan Basin on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
The park features lakeside camping, over 400 metres of sandy beaches and five kilometres of spectacular, well-marked hiking trails. A picturesque canyon has been carved into the bedrock by Bear Creek tumbling onto a cottonwood-lined delta.
This park is extremely busy during the summer season and reservations are required to camp here. For your convenience, during the summer season, the park has a concession located at the gatehouse and managed by the park operator.
Campground is 100% reservable starting March 31, 2023
Total number of campsites
Total reservable frontcountry sites: 143
Total vehicle-accessible sites: 143
Total double sites: 18
During the peak season, campsite reservations are required for all campsites in Bear Creek Park. All campsite reservations must be made through the BC Parks reservation service. For more information on reservations, see the frontcountry camping page.
When the campground is open outside peak season, all sites are available on a first come, first served basis. For information on when campsites are open and when reservations are required, see the dates of operation section, above.
The park has one campground, though it is divided by Lambly (Bear) Creek. There are 143 vehicle-accessible campsites in the park, including 18 double sites.
Campsite reservations are available at this park. For more information, see the ‘reservations’ section, above.
Sites one through 80 are on the north side of the creek in two loops. These medium-to-large-sized sites are found among well-spaced trees and irrigated lawns. The trees are trimmed and there is a mix of coniferous and deciduous varieties, including many non-native species. The effect is of fairly open, well-manicured grounds. The sites are gravel and each has a fire ring and picnic table on a cement pad. There are no barbeque table attachments. Nine of these sites back onto the creek. These are slightly smaller and surrounded by more dense vegetation.
Newly developed sites 123 through 143 are also on the north side. Fourteen of these sites offer 30-amp power and seven of them are pull-through sites with 50-amp power, sewers, and water. The pull-through sites are paved and do not allow tents. The other 14 sites are gravel. Each of these sites has a fire ring and a picnic table.
Crossing the creek, leads to sites 81 through 122 on the south side of the creek. Though most of this area is shaded, some of it is open with newly planted saplings, an irrigated lawn, and raised beds of bark-mulch landscaped with low growing plants and bushes between the sites. This area has its own shower and washroom building and taps.
Entering the campground
A gatehouse is situated near the park entrance just off Westside Road with a payphone and an information shelter. There is a gate on Westside Road that is locked from 11pm to 7am during the operating season and then locked during the off-season.
Cold well water is available for cooking and drinking. Taps are located throughout the campground.
Bear Creek Park has a playground equipped with two separate structures, designed for two separate age groups. The first structure is designed for children ages two to six. The second is designed for the more adventurous children ages eight to 12. The playground is located in the grassy area beside campsites 30 and 31. There is plenty of room for parents to sit on the grass and watch or engage with their children in the playground.
A sani-station is available during the collecting season. It is located across Westside Road from the gatehouse next to the Canyon Trail parking area. There is a $5 per-discharge fee.
Bear Creek Park offers 51 reservable, vehicle-accessible campsites with electrical hook-ups:
Sites 123 to 129, 131, 133, 136, 140, 142, and 143 offer 30-amp service
Sites 130, 132, 134, 135, 137, 139, and 141 are pull-through, paved sites that offer 50-amp electrical service and water
Sites 46 to 80 offer 30-amp service
Each site has its own picnic table and fire ring.
There is an additional electrical service charge of $8 per night for sites that offer 30-amp power and $10 per night for sites that offer 50-amp power and water (whether the power is in use or not).
While campfires are allowed and campfire rings are provided at each campsite, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using camping stoves instead.
Firewood can be purchased in the park or you may bring your own wood. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please do not gather firewood from the area around your campsite or anywhere else in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act ). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds valuable organic matter to the soil.
Campfire bans may be in place. Before lighting a fire, check for bans or restrictions on BC Wildfire Service and on local or Indigenous government websites.
Bear Creek Park offers a day-use area with 12 picnic tables and parking for 80 vehicles. To access this day-use area, turn left as you enter the campground. Alternatively, large, open lawns can be found throughout the park.
At the main day-use area, picnic tables are spread out on lawns overlooking the beach and shaded by well-spaced, mature cottonwood and oak trees. The picnic area offers great views across the lake to Knox Mountain and the city of Kelowna.
Right next to the parking lot is a bathroom and change house with flush toilets that are wheelchair-accessible. A kiosk beside the change house has interpretive signs discussing the area and some of the issues facing this park.
Pit or flush toilets
Flush and pit toilets are located conveniently throughout the campground. There is a washroom building found at the park entrance just past the gatehouse with wheelchair-accessible shower stalls. Two more flush toilet buildings with shower stalls are next to sites 26 and 54. The southern campsite loop also has a washroom building with flush toilets and shower stalls. There are two pit toilets across Westside Road, one at the trailhead and another in the middle of the trail loop.
There are hot showers in the washrooms. See the ‘pit or flush toilets’ section, above, for more information. There is no extra charge for showers, which are for registered guests only.
At Bear Creek Park, gentle trails take hikers along the creek as it passes through the campground. For those seeking a more demanding hike the Bear Creek Canyon trail offers spectacular views of the creek and the surrounding area.
For your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Taking shortcuts destroys plant life and soil structure.
The Bear Creek Canyon Trail
Allow one hour to hike this route.
The trail leaves the parking lot and makes a loop of the canyon. Hikers can cross the creek on a footbridge to the north side of the canyon and begin their ascent of the slope. A sturdy staircase of milled lumber makes the climb a little easier and reduces impact on the plant life and soil structure. A viewpoint after the first flight of stairs offers a place to rest and look down at the creek.
The wide, hard-packed trail continues up the rim of the canyon with two more viewpoints perched on the edge of the canyon wall and hemmed in by chainlink fence. The view of the creek, as it meanders through the steep-walled canyon forming various ripples and small waterfalls, is fantastic. Gradually the trail levels out and then begins a descent to the creek. A pit toilet is located here. The trail follows the creek for a short distance before crossing to the south side.
The canyon forms a microclimate with noticeably different vegetation on the two sides of the creek. The slope on the north is dry with Ponderosa pine and bunches of grass while the cooler south side has Douglas fir and carpets of moss, evidence of more moisture and shade.
The Canyon Trail was affected by a wildfire in 2011. Wildfires have produced many hazards in the area. You should be aware of these hazards and the increased risk of injury prior to entering the area. The hazards include unstable trees, holes, and loose rock. The hazards have been reduced along the main trail system and campground areas. Travel off the main trail system has an increased level of risk.
Over 400m of coarse, sandy beach stretches the length of the campground from the day-use area to the creek. There are pebbles on the beach but no big rocks in the water. The beach is narrow and the swimming area is marked with buoys.
There are no lifeguards on duty in BC Parks.
Canoes and kayaks are welcome. A private company on site offers people-powered water toy rentals from Wednesday to Sunday starting June 21.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has a fun, hands-on, Learn to Fish Program that will teach basic angling skills to youth under 16 years old. Contact the park operator for information.
There are excellent views of the canyon and lake from the Bear Creek Canyon Trail. Cottonwoods along the creek and delta provide habitat for a variety of birds, creating birdwatching opportunities.
Pets on leash
Domestic animals must be leashed at all times and they are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to the potential for problems with bears and other wildlife.
Cycling is allowed only on roadways in Bear Creek Park. There are no mountain biking trails within the park.
In particular, bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within the park. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy is for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Okanagan Lake provides many waterskiing and jetskiing opportunities. Jetski and boat rentals are available at Lake Okanagan Resort, 10 minutes north of the park on Westside Road.
Bear Creek Park is on Westside Road, nine kilometres off Highway 97, west of Kelowna. From Highway 97, travelling south, leave the city of Kelowna, cross the floating bridge, travel two kilometres, turn west onto Westside Road at the main intersection, and follow for seven kilometres. The entrance to the park is just past the bridge over Lambly (Bear) Creek. The closest communities, towns, and cities are Kelowna, Westbank, and small housing developments on Westside Road.
Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir proliferate in the dry, rocky hills above the canyon. Balsam root and prickly pear cactus compete for the area’s meager rainfall. The canyon floor below is home to maple and birch, Saskatoon and buffalo berry, wild rose, horsetail, and mosses. Flowers, trees, and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage.
When visiting Bear Creek Park, please do not damage or remove flowers, trees and shrubs.
Wildlife abounds, from the swallows and hawks that swoop through the canyon to the owls and coyotes that enliven the night. Noisy tree frogs can be heard in the spring and crickets are active in the summer.
Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. For more information, see the wildlife safety page.
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.