• The barn at Haynes Ranch
  • White Lake
  • Rock formations near White Lake
  • Custom Crafted Home
  • Custom Crafted Home
  • Naramata from the Kettle Valley Railway Trail
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Higher elevation

A spring Sunday outing in the Okanagan-Similkameen

One of the great things about the South Okanagan-Similkameen region of British Columbia is that you can experience very different landscapes and climates in a very short period of time.

On Sunday, a warm spring day, I took a meandering drive along the back roads of the Okanagan Valley, crossing into the neighbouring Similkameen Valley and back again.

In a very short distance, I passed through wetlands, desert, spreading vineyards, forests of different types and mountain scenery. There were deep blue lakes and a few shallow saline ones. There were cattle and horse ranches and vast expanses of wilderness. Cities, villages and little hamlets. Spreading mansions and tiny hovels.

At the farthest part of my journey, I continued north from Penticton along the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, past the vineyards of Naramata, and up a twisty dirt mountain road towards Chute Lake. It was a journey I’d never made before, even though it is just an hour and a half from where I live. There, earlier fires have left stick-like trees dotted across the rugged mountains of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park.

Although the temperature was warm, there was still a lot of snow at the elevation of around 4,000 feet making it impossible to explore further. I took a few photos and made a mental note to come back again when the snow is gone.

An old barn is reflected in one of the oxbows at the historic Haynes Ranch just north of Osoyoos, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

An old barn is reflected in one of the oxbows at the historic Haynes Ranch just north of Osoyoos, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Clouds cast shadows over the mountains and grasslands at White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. The small saline lake is surrounded by sagebrush and is in a protected area. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Clouds cast shadows over the mountains and grasslands at White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. The small saline lake is surrounded by sagebrush and is in a protected area. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Steep rock formations rise from the sagebrush grasslands near White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Steep rock formations rise from the sagebrush grasslands near White Lake, north of Oliver, B.C. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Hand-crafted custom home, open concept, lovely mountain views in every direction. Beautiful skylights. Great starter home for a handyman willing to give it some TLC. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A hiking and biking trail now follows the former bed of the Kettle Valley Railway in the Okanagan Valley and beyond. The view of Okanagan Lake and the wine country around Naramata is spectacular from this portion of the trail. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A hiking and biking trail now follows the former bed of the Kettle Valley Railway in the Okanagan Valley and beyond. The view of Okanagan Lake and the wine country around Naramata is spectacular from this portion of the trail. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

The barren rock of Okanagan Mountain rises above the forests east of Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Kelowna. Some of the higher forests have seen fire damage in past years. This view was taken from Chute Lake Road. (Richard McGuire photo)

There's still snow, ice and ponds of meltwater at higher elevations along Chute Lake Road, north of Penticton. The road passes close to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, seen in the background. Although there was still substantial snow in some places at this elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, the air temperature was close to 20 C. New growth is springing up on land once burned by forest fire. (Richard McGuire photo)

There’s still snow, ice and ponds of meltwater at higher elevations along Chute Lake Road, north of Penticton. The road passes close to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, seen in the background. Although there was still substantial snow in some places at this elevation of nearly 4,000 feet, the air temperature was close to 20 C. New growth is springing up on land once burned by forest fire. (Richard McGuire photo)