Mountain Springs Nature Retreat is a bed and breakfast and nature centre located in the Marron Valley, just west of Kaleden and Skaha Lake. From Highway 97, turn onto Highway 3A going towards Keremeos and Vancouver. Drive 6.1 km along Highway 3A looking carefully for a small sign marking the entrance to Mountain Springs Nature Retreat. Once found, follow a single lane gravel road down into the Marron Valley to the retreat Driveway Loop.
The retreat is nestled within three hundred acres of land and overlooks the picturesque Marron Lake. The diverse landscape is home to many different creatures and plants and the various trails that wind throughout provide perfect opportunities for exploring the area. Some of the trails were created by wild animals, and others were made by early settlers. In fact, another reason to visit Mountain Springs is to learn about its interesting history. The Sylix first nation people lived in the area for hundred of years but in the early twentieth century settlers came to work on the Marron Lake dam and Kaleden irrigation project. To this day remnants of this not too distant past remain throughout the area.
We had the opportunity to explore two trails at Mountain Springs Nature Retreat: The Falls Trail and The Canyon Valley Trail. The Falls Trail is a short single track trail that climbs a small hill and ends at a cascading waterfall. It is not stroller friendly but it is a very short hike, perhaps a five minute, a bit longer with a young child. The Canyon Valley Trail is the longest trail in the area and follows an old road down past a marsh, through a wooded canyon and into a picturesque valley. The trail peters off after a sign that says Burson’s Barn. The remains of the barn, a pile of old wood, lies across the stream. The lovely cold brook near the barn is a highlight of this hike. Take a moment to admire the watercress and rock dotted stream and give into the desire to dip in yours toes and check for fairies. The entire hike, out-and-back, is about 2km, and because it is mostly sheltered by trees it would be perfect for exploring spring, summer and fall. Be aware of poison ivy, however, there is plenty along the trail.
An important note: This nature retreat is on private property and is accessible by appointment only (call +1-250-497-8209). The website also states that visitors will be charged a nominal fee ($5 per person) to spend the day exploring this beautiful area. Don’t let these things dissuade you! It is well worth making an opportunity to explore this beautiful area.