Rock Climbing with Kids at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park: Kids’ Cliff

by Josée

Recently I wrote about two great crags for kids to climb at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park: Daycare and Red Tail Wall. You can read more about these areas here: Rock Climbing with Kids at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park: Daycare and Red Tail Wall. Another great place for kids to climb is the aptly named: Kids’ Cliff!

Getting to Kids’ Cliff

There are two ways to access Kids’ Cliff, which is located at the very northern end of Skaha Bluffs. The first access is through the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park entrance and the second is through an alternative access on Evergreen Drive in Penticton, BC.  Getting to Kids’ Cliff from Evergreen Drive is quicker (1.7 km) than hiking up from the Bluffs parking lot (3.1 km), so if getting to Kids’ Cliff is the ultimate goal (and you are hiking with kids) I recommend taking the Evergreen Drive access.

The Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park Entrance

The Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park entrance which is located just south of Penticton, BC, on the east side of Skaha Lake. Coming from Penticton, drive towards South Main Street which will turn into Lakeside Road. Look for a road sign directing you to turn left on Smythe Drive. Coming from the south, take Eastside Road which follows Skaha Lake on the east and turn right on Smythe Drive. Smythe Drive will turn into a single-lane paved road leading up to the parking lots.

There are two parking lots at the top, a lower parking lot and an upper parking lot, to reach Kids’ Cliff park in the lower parking lot. The gate opens at 7:00 am and if you happen to come on a busy day you (weekend, holiday, summer…) the parking lots fill up fast!

The approach to Kids’ Cliff is about 3.1 km and quite technical in places, with some steep drop-offs. To get to Kids’ Cliff follow the trail that leads towards The Fortress and continue along it as it passes Red Tail Group, Doctors Group, and Maternal Group to the Northern Crags. Kids’ Cliff is located at the northern tip of the Northern Crags.

The Evergreen Drive Entrance

The second access is located at the end of Evergreen Drive in Penticton, BC.  Coming from Penticton, drive to South Main Street and turn onto Pineview Road. Follow Pineview Road for a while and then turn right onto Evergreen Drive. The trailhead access is located at the very end of Evergreen Drive.

Park along the side of the road, being careful not to block any residential driveways (please be respectful!). At the end of the street there is a well trodden path that starts between two trees, with a large concrete block on the right. Look for a white and red sign that says ‘High Hazard Forest Fire Area: No Smoking, No Campfires’.  Follow the trail as it veers right.

The trail will climb up and then descend until it comes to a fork. Go left and start the 120 m grind upwards. There will be one area where the trail diverges into four directions (left, right, up, down), ignore these paths and keep on going straight up. After a little ways the trail will come to an open area and there will be a some rocks and sticks pointing to a right veering trail. Take this trail right and continue to climb upwards! While hiking up this final stretch keep an eye out for another single track trail veering right. It isn’t marked, but this is the last part of the trail that bring you to Kids’ Cliff. If in doubt stop and listen for the sounds of nearby climbers. On our recent hiked through, this last stretch of trail (end of May 2017) was partly flooded and an alternative trail over rocky terrain was cleared.

The Evergreen Drive trail to Kids’ cliff is definitely shorter and not as technical, but it is a bit of a grind (120 m elevation) and can get pretty hot (it’s partially exposed).

Kids’ Cliff

Kids’ Cliff is a great place to climb. The rock gets morning sun and afternoon shade, making it a nice place to hang out on a warm summer’s day. The rock itself is nice and vertical (not slabby like Daycare) and has a group of sport climbs ranging from 5.9 to 5.12. The other great thing about Kids’ Cliff is that is tends to be less busy even on weekends; beginner climbers and groups tend to flock to Daycare and Red Tail Wall instead.

Pros: 

  • Quick and safe approach from Evergreen Drive (120 m grind up) (1.7 km, one way)
  • Good variety of routes (5.9 to 5.12)
  • Vertical wall
  • Shady in the afternoon
  • Less busy

Cons:

  • Longer and more technical approach from Skaha Bluffs parking lot (3.1 km, one way)
  • Potential spring flooding (May 2017)
  • Routes are a little more difficult

Note: The trail leading to Kids’ Cliff from Evergreen Drive crosses over private property. In fact, the entire north-west section of Skaha Bluffs, including Kids’ Cliff,  is on private property and not part of the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

Tip: For more information about Daycare, Red Tail Wall or about the many other crags and routes at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park get a copy of Skaha Rockclimbs: A User’s Manual by Howie Richardson.

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