Hiking the White Lake Trail

by Josée


The White Lake Grasslands Protected Area and the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch are neighboring conservation areas that protect a combined 4,647 hectares of land located southwest of Okanagan Falls in the South Okanagan of British Columbia. The combined conservation area is unique in that it contains open grasslands, ponderosa pine forests, large outcroping of rocks and small alkaline lakes. It is also the home of various threatened and endangered species including the Whiteheaded Woodpecker and the Western Rattlesnake.

The White Lake Trail wanders through these conservation areas and starts at the south end of White Lake. Look for a small gravel parking area, metal gate and information kiosk located off Fairwiew White Lake Road. The trail begins as a two track trail and descends towards White Lake. The lake itself is fenced off which disappointed my children, but they were quickly distracted by clambering up the steep rocky banks on the opposite side of the trail. The trail continues on to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) and then begins to veer towards Kearns Creek Canyon. There is an entire 10 km loop that can be hiked from White Lake to Mahoney Lake and back again. The details of this hike can by found on Sweet Single Tracks.

I have been itching to complete the entire ten kilometer loop for some time. For now, however, I am content exploring portions of this lovely trail with my children and our friends. The first portion of the White Lake Trail is very easy going. We enjoyed a leisurely 3.8 km walk out-and-back from the parking lot in two hours which included many stops for exploring and snacking. I must mention, however, that this portion of the trail is very exposed and would be extremely hot during the summer. It is best to explore this trail in the spring, fall and winter. Also, there is no cell reception here because its proximity to the DRAO which is a cellular-free zone. And one more tidbit, it is possible to push a good off-road stroller (single-wide) along the trail if there is the need and the determination. To get a better idea of where this hike is I have included a picture of our tracks below.


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