The Swimming Holes of Vaseux Lake

by Josée


Vaseux Lake is a relatively small lake that lies between the towns of Okanagan Falls and Oliver in the South Okanagan, British Columbia. It is a good spot for shoreline fishing and reknown for its small and large mouth bass. Motorized boats are prohibited on the water because the lake is small and home to a significant number of endangered wildlife and plant species. However, row boats, canoes, kayaks and stand-up-paddle boards are allowed and make for a great way to explore the lake. The north end of Vaseux lake is an Environment Canada Waterfowl Sanctuary and can be explored by taking a quick stroll along a short boardwalk at the Vaseux Lake Wildlife Centre. The south end of the lake, which is my favourite part, is overshadowed by the dramatic cliff of McIntyre Bluff and home to one the best swimming holes in the South Okanagan.

To access the south end of Vaseux Lake drive along Highway 97 towards and turn left on Sundial Road. Go down this road until you spot a small boat launch on the right hand side. Watch out for poison ivy! There’s a bunch of it close to the water’s edge. From the boat launch the swimming holes are not far off. Paddle left along the shore and then south towards the Okanagan River and the imposing McIntyre Bluff. Soon the first of the small bays will appear on the right hand side; this is the larger of the two. A little further down is the second bay, a small cove with beautiful deep clear blue water. This is where its at! These two bays are actually kettle lakes, holes made by blocks of ice left behind by retreating glaciers, that eventually joined up to Vaseux Lake. Yet, unlike the chilly waters of Okanagan Lake, these swimming holes are deliciously warm.

If you are visiting the South Okanagan, or are a local, I highly recommend taking the time to visit this special place during the summer. You will not be disappointed!

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Jeremie August 4, 2016 - 11:05 am

Looking good!

Josée August 4, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Awe thanks <3

Power August 15, 2016 - 11:04 am

Super! We are at vaseaux camping right now. Will check this gem out

Josée August 15, 2016 - 11:41 am

Have fun camping! I hope you get to enjoy this special place while you’re there 🙂

Power August 17, 2016 - 8:15 am

It’s was INCREDIBLE!!! Just knowing we were swimming in a melted glacier hole was magical! Even saw a deer on side enjoying the scenery. This was the highlight of our trip so far. Thanks Josée

Josée August 17, 2016 - 9:26 am

I am so glad you had the chance to visit!! It’s such a magical spot 🙂 It makes me happy that others get to enjoy it as well.

Sharon Sadler September 12, 2019 - 11:14 am

Thank you for sharing this information about Vaseux Lake! Being a senior and new at kayaking, (first and only outing was on Vaseux), I was hesitant to approach the area where the river runs out of the lake, fearing a current. Can you advise whether there is a current, as I don’t believe I could paddle back if there is one.

Anna Machial November 2, 2021 - 9:26 am

Josee, at one point you had the directions for the pictographs from the swimming holes. I know how to reach the pictographs via the McIntyre Bluff hike but would like to access from Vaseux Lake. Could you send me the directions? Thank you.


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