As you know we are social campers, not back country hard core campers. We love to gather with friends and family at a lake and hope for sun. This usually involves several women blowing up individual flotation bed and paddling several feet into the lake. I realize this sound terribly laborious and you must marvel at all the obstacles we have endured.
How can so many women chat while continuing to floating away from each other?
How can your drinks still be full by the time you reach your destination?
Doesn’t the lake keep pushing us back to shore, resulting in constant paddling.
We camped at Lightning Lake Campground a couple years back on our anniversary but just realized I did not do a complete review. Lightning Lake Campground is one of 5 campgrounds located within E.C. Manning Park. It is by far the most popular campground, making it difficult to get into. We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find that review by clicking here.
There are two loops in this campground. I would recommend the large loop if you have a choice. We camped here in early September and stayed in site 13. It was a very large level site that had limited trees but because the sites are so spread apart it still felt very private. There are 92 sites in the large loop and they are all generally good. The park is located high in the mountains so the days were warm but the evenings were very chilly. Camping in this park is a hiker’s paradise with endless trails for every level. The park does an amazing job of providing literature on all, including: the trail name, starting point, level, distance, elevation, estimated time, special features and a short trail description. We did the Canyon Nature Trail and part of the Lightning Lakes Chain. Both were very scenic and easy hikes that almost anyone can handle. There are so many trails it is difficult to decide which one to do. If you’re lucky, you will see some wildlife along the way.
After completing your hike you can then enjoy some time at the lake. The campground is located next to stunning Lightning Lake, which is perfect for kayaking, canoeing and, if the weather is warm enough, swimming. They offer boat rentals at the lake for those who want to give it a try. Some trails require a short portage. The park also has several horse and bike trails. If you like the outdoors this is the campground for you.
We used to visit Otter Lake Provincial Park every year with friends and I completed my first review back in 2015. I was excited to head back to Otter Lake and even more excited that we were camping in one of my suggested sites. As our trip approached it became clear that BC was in one of the worst forest fire seasons ever and the area about 20 km east of the campground was being evacuated. We were a worried whether we would be able to access our campground and how thick the smoke would be around us. As it turned out we were lucky, although we could see a haze and smell the smoke, we managed to have a relaxing weekend away.
As we headed off to Tulameen I was interested to see if the road was in any better shape than 10 years ago. The answer is NO. Although it is okay for RV’s, it does have a lot of “watch for rocks falling” signs and it was clearly still an issue as told by all the rocks on the road.
On this trip we camped with my sister and her husband in double site 14/15, which was a recommended site on my first Otter Lake blog. This is a waterfront site with a steep path to our own private beach. We had kayaks with us so it was great to be able to leave them on the beach to use at our leisure. The site is very treed and level with a nice view of the lake. It offers lots of privacy and we barely even noticed the generator noise from the site beside us. Our plan was to relax for the weekend so we really didn’t venture out much. Saturday morning my dad and brother-in-law headed to a nearby lake to try their luck at fishing and Sunday we drove into town to go for a walk on the Kettle Valley Trail. It was a great weekend away and the campground was as beautiful and pristine as I remembered.
Here is my advise for this campground
Most sites at this campground are large, level and have good privacy.
I would recommend 24/25 if you want to be close to the main beach. It is large, close to the washrooms and has a view of the lake
14/15 and 12/13 both have great lake views, are large and both have lake access with their own small beaches (although the paths are steep getting to the beach.) They are a bit farther from the public beach and washrooms.
5/6 and 28/29 are both on are lakefront and are otherwise great. 43/44 be the only being double I would avoid.
Any of the lake front sites are winners with the exception of 21 because it is very open to the boat launch traffic.
If you want a pull-through my top choice would be site 11(picture below)
Site 19 backs onto the recycling/garbage area so avoid that one if you can.
I would try to avoid 35, 38, 40 & 42. Last year these were first come, first serve sites because they back onto the highway; they are much more exposed and a bit smaller. Having said that, if this is all I could get, I would still take them.
Beautiful, clean, quiet lake. Great for swimming, kayaking or boating.
Short drive to Tulameen where you can access the KVR trail or public beach
Very large level sites with lots of privacy
Paved roads for young cyclists
No hooks ups so expect generator noise
No running water so no showers and half the toilets are outhouses.
Very narrow, windy road from Princeton to Tulameen (30 km)
We stayed in this park for 3 nights with my sister and her husband. We were mainly interested in visiting winery’s and golfing so the location was fantastic for us. When you google “Things To Do in OK Falls”, wineries monopolize 11 of the 14 suggestions. We visited 5 of them I can attest to their high rating. They were so good we even joined the Great Estates Okanagan Wine Club which might be the best club I have ever joined, check it out!
Having said that I can say if we had kids with us it would have been the best park because it was not on the lake and it is a fair distance, with a highway crossing, to get to the lake. Other top things to do are biking the Kettle Valley Trail and visiting Okanagan Falls which both would have been great for families. I always like when I can list things to do that I couldn’t get to because it gives me a reason to go back.
The park was full during our stay and we found it to be very quiet which was fortunate because it is very open with little privacy between sites. We camped in site 4 in the middle section of the park and it was open to the other sites around us.
The sites are generally large and are all fairly level so maneuvering your RV is easy. There are large shade trees scattered around the park but no real low level trees to offer privacy between sites. There are 8 sites that line the creek area and they are the best choice for privacy and view although I suspect mosquito’s could be an issue. The sites along Green Lake Road would be my last choice due to noise but in reality it is not that busy of a road.
Here is my advise for this campground
Site 16 would be my top pick. It is both long and private which is unusual in this park.
Site 18 & 20 are both wide and long and have nice green space behind them.
Sites 22, 23 & 25 back onto the river and have green space surrounding making them a nice choice.
Sites 11 &13 are smaller but do have some privacy
All the sites in the center lack privacy
Site 5 back onto the host site so not ideal for location
Site 9, 17 & 24 I would rate as poor. They are very open and have zero privacy
Great climate with almost guaranteed hot dry weather in the summer
Small in size making it a quiet get away.
Close to town for shopping and outings.
Lots of golf and winery’s nearby
Fresh fruit stands scattered everywhere.
No showers or bathrooms with running water.
No hook ups
Due to the heat there is a lot of generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
I have to thank my sister for getting the site. For 3 days she went into work early so that she could be logged onto Discover Camping in order to hit the booking button as soon as the reservation system opened. It was a difficult task but on day 3 she had success and was able to secure a site for 6 nights. Due to the popularity of this park you can only book 7 nights at a time but really it is still near impossible to get a reservation.
We stayed on the north side of the park in site 33. It was a beautiful lake-front site with a small hill that accessed the lake. The site was a good size and easily fit their 24 foot fifth wheel with its 3 feet slide and both our trucks. There were trees on all sides that provided morning and late afternoon shade but mid day your only relief from the 40 degree heat was the lake or an air conditioned winery. I can confirm that both solutions work great.
This Provincial Park does not have hook ups so if you don’t like extreme heat then this is not the park for you. Osoyoos is considered a desert and the high temperatures confirm it. There are no showers here and the toilets are flushing outhouses. I will say the staff did an amazing job keeping all the facilities spotless and the grounds clean. As with all BC Provincial parks generators are allowed twice a day from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and then again from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. We don’t have a generator but that is not to say I am against them, what I am against are people who choose to turn them on outside the assigned hours or who feel they don’t want to listen to the noise and plant them in the bushes closer to their neighbour’s site than there own. I am pleased to report this park staff did a great job of enforcing the generator rules. This made everyone’s stay much more enjoyable because you could predict when the hum of generators would start up.
The main attraction of the park is the lake and its warm temperature. What is even more impressive is the city has a machine that rakes the lakes shores of weeds regularly making swimming that much more enjoyable. There is a lot of boat, seadoo, kayak and paddle board traffic on the lake so people watching from your campsite is a great past time.
One thing to keep in mind when camping at this park is the wind. It comes from both directions and can gust up in minutes. We were sitting in the screen house playing cards one night and with 5 minutes it went from no wind to blowing the screen house over. This is important to keep in mind because the wind can destroy your awning in seconds so it is best to leave it closed unless you are sitting at your campground. We only put up the screen house because the bugs were so bad it was annoying to sit at the table and play cards.
A couple of other things to note about this park is the poison ivy and the rip tide. The park has done its best to post sign near and around the poison ivy and have included a photo to help you recognize it but if I had small children I would be sure to keep then away from the bush. I would also be aware of the rip tide at point. The park has put up signs to warn you but I certainly would avoid campgrounds near this point if I had family that intended to swim.
Here is my advise for this campground
Double site 27/28 is a winner. It has the most trees, is across from the bathroom, is fairly large and is lake front with easy access to the lake.
Site 22/23 would be my second choice but really any lake front site on the north side is very good offering several trees and fairly good privacy
Site 26 is not lake front but is was very well treed and very private. Would be my choice if I could not get lake front
The lake front sites on the south side are not as treed and felt like they would be more impacted by the wind but the south side did have much better beach space between sites.
I would avoid sites 16,17 and 20 due to the undertow at the nearby point.
Site 7, 10 are both very exposed and open
I would also avoid 1,2,3 and sites 37-41. This run along the main access road and are much smaller with very little privacy. You also get the traffic both coming and going so they are a bit busier.
This campground also has RV overflow which run the length of the park access road. There are essentially parallel parking stalls along the road but at least it is a solution if you have no where else to go. You can only stay in these spots for one night.
The weather; you are almost guaranteed dry hot weather
The lake; it is warm and free of weeds.
Flush toilets, if you have to live with pit toilets it is nice they are flushing ones.
Short drive to town where there is lots to do and buy.
Lots of winery and golf choices
Amazing fresh fruit if you visit in the summer.
No showers nor bathrooms with running water
Due to the heat there is a lot of
generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
Limited shade options
Unpredictable high winds makes tarping for shade impossible
Things to do:
Winery’s: Over 40 winery’s in the Oliver/Osoyoos area
Golf: If you can handle the heat there a several courses in the area.
Desert Center: Guided tours to learn about desert ecology, habitat restoration and conservation of endangered ecosystems
We are 2 weeks into one of the worst forest fire seasons in British Columbia’s history and there is little relief in sight. Currently there are 162 fires burning and a total of 131000 hectors of forest scorched. With little rain in the forecast it is hard to know when things will improve.
Let the count down begin! In less than 24 hours campers across BC will plant themselves in front of computers, anxiously ready to hit ENTER, and crossing their fingers hoping to reserve a campsite at one of BC’s coveted Provincial Campgrounds.
You can only book 3 months in advance so reservations for dates of June 15th and prior are only accepted. In June, if you are able to camp during the weekdays, you should be okay getting a reservation but weekends will book up within minutes. As the calendar moves into July and August any date is near impossible to secure. We have been able to get into most of the popular Provincial Parks at some point over the last 20 years but each year it gets harder and harder.
We are now into our second winter storing our RV and each year we debate whether we should buy an RV cover or not. When we had our tent trailer we did the unthinkable and covered it with a blue camping tarp. I can hear the collective gasp. What might surprise you is we did this for 10 years and not once did our trailer leak. Adding to our inexperience, not once did we (get ready to gasp) reseal our seams or treat our roof. I know shocking!!! Continue reading →
12 months of blogging and it has been an interesting ride. With the help of my husband we have created an electronic scrapbook of all our family camping trips. We have shared our reviews, tips and funny stories all while researching new products and campgrounds. We have connected with so many other campers and learned that camping outside of Canada must be on our bucket list.
Christmas 2008 was spent enjoying the snow at our trailer. Still one of the most memorable holidays we have had.
The adult version of the bag I featured earlier. It’s like a sleeping bag snuggie and also comes in several super hero themes as well. The Original model is good to -9 Celsius. There is also a model for warmer weather.