Fintry Falls Provincial Park, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Fintry Falls Provincial Park is located on the beautiful Fintry delta along the incredibly beautiful Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. There is a small community located on one end of the delta and it is known as Fintry. The provincial park itself has campsites and gorgeous beaches located within it’s boundaries. Shorts Creek, which eventually turns into the falls starts high on top of Terrace Mountain and exits out into the lake.
The Fintry Delta is a natural paradise, so it’s not hard to see why indigenous peoples made this their home for thousands of years. Trails around the park that were once used by the tribes were eventually taken over by European settlers to be used as fur trade routes. The land was eventually purchased by Captain James Cameron Dun-Waters, a wealthy Scottish businessman who named the delta Fintry after his hometown in Scotland. Eventually it would become the popular Provincial Park we now know today.
There are two ways to get out to Fintry, one is from Kelowna(34 kms drive) and the other is from Vernon(49 kms drive). The road is a winding, but scenic ride along the Okanagan Lake and provides amazing views of the valley, but it can also be dangerous in some areas. It’s called Westside Road, but because of it’s many curves it has also been given the nickname “tail of the Ogopogo”, after the legendary lake monster that is said to live in the lake. The road was originally a wagon trail and part of the historical Hudson Bay Trail.
Upon arriving at Fintry Falls parking lot you will find signs with easy to follow directions and bear warning signs. Fintry is on the edge of a deep wilderness area, so wild animals are very common. You may even come across small herds of the Bighorn Sheep.
Many old buildings still stand on the property, some are in dismay and others are still functioning to this day, including a large manor where the Captain and his family once resided.
The hike to the falls has lots and lots of steps and then more steps after that. I thought about counting these steps, but I figured taking in the scenery might be nicer. I’m not complaining at all about the steps, I’m always up for a workout on the ol’ gluteus maximus.
If you come early in the spring or summer, depending on precipitation that year, you may find yourself taking an unwanted or possibly wanted shower. This time we visited the trail was dry, but two years ago when we came, we got a bit soggy, but given that it was hot as hell that day we actually enjoyed the cool down.
Wooden constructed lookout platforms provide visitors with a great view overlooking the falls.
Our trip to the park ended up being in the heart of Saskatoon Berry season, so of course we stopped and gathered all we could eat. The berries were definitely a much needed treat, especially after getting there and realizing we didn’t pack water, so really any moisture to my face was welcome.
Looking down on just a fraction of the stairs you will have to climb on your way up. Once near the top you can see Okanagan Lake and a large portion of the delta.
There are several old bridges which were once used to hold water pipes, that were used for irrigation purposes. The bridges are blocked off by a fence and warning signs are well posted, but some crazy daredevils will still jump over and take some death defying shots for the gram. Some poor bugger decided to do that and fell over into the falls, luckily he ended up living to see another day.
Once you get to the top of the stairs you can continue on the trail, though some spots are super sketchy and one slip could have you sliding off of the cliff to meet the reaper.
There’s an old building at the bottom of the trail which is in shambles and the roof is collapsing, so it could be slightly dangerous to enter. Though, this is Exploratory Glory right? It’s not called Unexploratory Glory. Of course we went in!
So happy we went in because we would have never saw this wicked art work. The blue face, the greenery and the run down building, ended up setting a neat tone for some really cool pictures.
There’s nothing like finding a beach at the end of a strenuous hike and having it all to yourselves, at least for 20 minutes until it pisses rain on you.
Fintry Falls is and excellent place to stop for a day or even a weekend and especially great for families visiting the Okanagan. With the falls, the beaches and the campsites, the family should have plenty of things to do to for a few days. I would also recommend a day trip that we ourselves have done several times and that is to basically drive a loop around a large portion of Okanagan Lake, going from Vernon around the lake and over the bridge through Kelowna and back to Vernon. The trip takes the better part of a day and I would suggest leaving early. There are many nice places to stop along the way as well as several resorts, that offer vacation rentals. One cool place of note is La Casa, which is a small resort community where you can stop and eat lunch at the local pub. Then hit Fintry Falls, do your hike and afterwards relax on the beach for some rays of sunshine. After all that head over the bridge into Kelowna and stop by Bernard Street to check out the shops and if your hungry get some diner at one of the many eclectic restaurants available in this lively part of town. Lastly head back to Vernon and enjoy the scenes of the turquoise Kalamalka Lake.