Kettle River Recreation Area is a provincial park located just north of Rock Creek, a quaint agricultural community located in the Kootenay Boundary Region of British Columiba (about 57 km east of Osoyoos, BC). In 2015 Rock Creek was devastated by a wildfire that burned down thirty homes and large swathes of surrounding forests. This devastation can be seen as you descend into Rock Creek and drive up towards the Kettle River campground.
Upon entering the provincial park you will come face-to-face with the remains of hundreds of dead black trees jutting out of lush green undergrowth. At this point you might wonder if there’s any campground at all, but as you drive down the road the trees are scorched but still alive! Ponderosa pine are incredibly resilient to wildfire. The campground itself is still covered in beautiful lush forest.
Kettle River Recreation Area is a favourite campground of ours and many of our friends. Most of the campsites are surrounded by thick trees and bushes which make for a great sound barrier between neighbours. If you get a spot near the Kettle River then the only sounds you’ll hear at night are rushing waters, croaking frogs and possibly honking geese (strange but true).
Families love this campground because it has a great play park for kids and a fun pump track (a bike track with turns, bumps and dips) for older kids to test out their biking skills. The Kettle River wraps around the campground and is a natural draw for everyone. However, be very careful, in the spring this river can be high and fast moving. This year (2017) the river was so high it flooded part of the campground for a couple weeks. Later in the summer, when river is low, it can be a fun place for swimming and playing.
And for families that enjoying trail biking, the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail goes right through the campground. You can take the trail north up towards Westbridge or South down towards Rock Creek. We biked the 7.5 km trail from the campground to the Rock Creek Station where we enjoyed frozen treats and refilled our water bags for the ride back. The trail from the campground to the Rock Creek Station and back again is 15 km and took us about two-and-a-half hours to complete. The majority of the trail is packed gravel and follows the Kettle River as it flows down the valley. The trail is partially shaded but there is one section where the trail ends and you must bike along an exposed paved road for a little while.
The Kettle River Recreation Area campground definitely has enough to do and explore to keep families busy for an entire weekend. I highly recommend it!