Lake Okanagan has a maximum depth of 232 meters, or 761ft. Making it the 6th deepest lake in British Columbia, and 15th deepest overall in Canada. Other characteristics include a shore length of 135 km long, a maximum width of 5 km, and a surface area of nearly 351 square kilometres.
Beach Bum Tours offers Pontoon Boat Tours on Okanagan Lake for up to 12 guests which includes your own Captain.
Geographically speaking, Lake Okanagan is classified as a Fjord. Fjord is a Norwegian term that translates roughly to “a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland”. Variant spellings often include “fiord lake”.
But in order to accurately be defined as a Fjord lake, repeated glaciations or an ice age must have taken place. The most well known glaciation period in British Columbia was the Fraser Glaciation, which also happens to be the most recent one.
This occurred approximately 10,000 years ago when a Glacier covering the Okanagan region melted and an ice dam formed around Okanagan Falls. Causing Glacier Lake Penticton to form, a deep lake with a maximum depth over 100 meters above the current elevation of Lake Okanagan.
Glacial Lake Penticton was nestled between the Monashee Mountains and the Coast Mountains, and watershed took place north into what is now known as Shuswap Lake.
Post Glacial the Okanagan great divide took place. Where Okanagan Lake was formed and eventually a drainage system through the Okanagan River. Today this channel is found in Penticton, and some locals describe it as the best floating channel in the region.
After draining south of Penticton the river continues into the South Okanagan until it reaches the American border. Eventually this water finds its confluence into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. A watershed infamously known for Lewis and Clark and their pacific northwest expeditions.
Boat Launches Between Kelowna and Vernon
Everyone loves boating in the Okanagan. Luckily, there is no shortage of boat launches allowing you to get out there. Between Kelowna and Vernon there is 6 to be exact. A popular spot found in Vernon is Okanagan Landing at Paddlewheel Park & Beach. While people looking to launch in Kelowna, the Yacht club downtown is very accessible.
If launching right in the middle of these city population centres doesn’t interest you, consider visiting Lake Country directly in between Vernon and Kelowna. In Lake Country there is no shortage of water sources, with Wood Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Lake Okanagan all within a few kilometres.
If you didn’t come prepared with water transportation, no need to fret. Renting a pontoon boat with Beach Bum Tours for the day is quick and easy activity everyone can enjoy. Each boat fits up to 12 people and launches on Wood Lake with access to Kalamalka Lake for a memorable afternoon cruising multiple lakes.
The Okanagan Valley sits directly between the Columbia and Cascade Mountain ranges in British Columbia. While this region has a rich history of fruit cultivation and farming, it was first home to the indigenous, or better known as the Interior Salish. They named this region “the place of water”.
It was way back in 1976 that several of the indigenous tribes of the Okanagan all came together at the head of the lake, and constructed the Okanagan Nation Alliance, also known as the Okanagan Indian Band. This is very similar to the Colville Confederated Tribes that was formed just south of the Okanagan in Washington USA. Today, when you drive across the William R Bennett Bridge into West Kelowna, much of the land occupied is rightfully indigenous land.
When you mention the Okanagan Valley today, most people in Canada immediately think fresh fruit, warm weather, wine, and endless activity opportunities. While the region is surrounded by the interior plateau, navigation to the Okanagan Valley is quite simple. We are located nearly central between both Calgary and Vancouver with several people calling Okanagan Lake their summer vacation home.
From West Kelowna to east of the valley, the lake is home to all of us in the interior. Few places in Canada offer such diversity each season when living in the great white north.
Cities and Towns surrounding Lake Okanagan
When spending the day on Okanagan Lake you will find numerous landing spots. Kelowna is at the epicenter of the Okanagan, with West Kelowna across the shore connected only through the William R Bennett Bridge. Before construction, the Kelowna floating bridge was in place with a lift span to allow boating traffic through.
Towards the North shore Vernon can be found, a smaller city with access to the Monashee Mountains. While Penticton is discovered on the southern most point.
Lesser known place names in the Okanagan include Peachland, Summerland, Naramata, and Lake Country. Peachland and Summerland are both found on the southwest side of Okanagan Lake. Naramata sits on the southeast shore, accessible only through Penticton. While Lake Country is directly centred between Kelowna and Vernon, deriving its name from the the three lakes and water surrounding the municipality.
Where is the deepest part of Okanagan Lake?
The deepest point of Lake Okanagan is found near Grant Island, also known as Nahun Weenox in Okanagan Indian Band Salish terms. Grant Island is located about one kilometre off the shores of the Lake Country municipality, on the north section of the lake.
While most people are interested to know it is one of only two islands found on Okanagan Lake, the other being Rattlesnake Island. Rattlesnake Island is located much further south near Squally Point.
Is Okanagan Lake safe to swim in?
Okanagan Lake is one of the most enjoyed water sources during the summer months in all of British Columbia. People come from all over western Canada and pullout sunscreen to soak in the sun. Beaches are bountiful with over 30 official, and numerous other unofficial that are included in the locals best kept secrets.
What lives in Okanagan Lake?
Okanagan Lake is home to an abundance of fish species, most commonly found include Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon. But if you ask a local what lives in it, some will answer with “The Ogopogo”.
Much like Loch Ness in Scotland, Okanagan Lake has its own mythical lake monster. Here it is commonly referred to as the Ogopogo. Some swear by its existence, although no scientific evidence has ever been established. Squally Point, approximately 1km south of Rattlesnake Island is said to be the home of Ogopogo. This mythical lake monster originated from First Nation folklore in the early 1900’s. Today the Ogopogo mostly serves as an important media representations for the region, including the Kelowna Rockets hockey team.
What is the deepest lake in British Columbia?
The deepest lake found in British Columbia is Adams Lake, with a maximum depth of 1502 feet.
Ready to Book A Pontoon Boat on Okanagan Lake?
Want to check out Okanagan Lake for yourself? Beach Bum Tours offers 3 different lake tours in Kelowna. Book a boat tour below or combine a boat and wine tour for the perfect day.