Bear Creek Provincial Park in Kelowna

If you’re visiting Kelowna, Bear Creek Provincial Park is a great place to camp and explore the outdoors! The park is located on the western shores of Okanagan Lake and has amazing views of the lake, surrounding hills, and even Kelowna itself.

Bear Creek Provincial Park is 158 hectares and is most well-known for its campground, day-use area, and hiking trails. Whether you’re kayaking on Okanagan Lake, hiking the nearby canyon, or just soaking in the sunshine, there are plenty of things to do at Bear Creek. The park’s also home to a ton of geese, so keep an eye out for their poop!

Tip: Use Backroad Mapbooks to find nearby parks and adventures! The Thompson Okanagan edition will serve you well while exploring the Okanagan.

KELOWNA WEATHER

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Where is Bear Creek Provincial Park located?

Bear Creek Provincial Park is located in the Central Okanagan, about 10 minutes from Kelowna and 1 hour from Vernon. The campground sits on the shores of Okanagan Lake and is an excellent place to disconnect from city life without travelling far.

Bear Creek is accessed via Westside Road, a beautiful scenic back road that connects West Kelowna and Vernon. The paved, single-lane road winds along the northern portion of Okanagan Lake and is worth driving just for the sake of the beautiful drive.

Westside Road cuts Bear Creek Provincial Park in half. You’ll find the campground and beach on the eastern/lakeside of the park; the canyon hiking and waterfall are on the western side.

Directions from Kelowna

Bear Creek Provincial Park is 11 km from downtown Kelowna. On a good day, the drive takes about 10 minutes, but if the bridge is backed up it can take much longer.

To drive from Kelowna to Bear Creek, cross the bridge and take the Westside Road exit at the top of the hill. Turn right and continue on Westside Road for 6.8 km until you reach the park entrance on your right. There’s a small wooden sign just before the gate.

Before the campground entrance, there’s a parking lot on your left. This is where the sani-station and hiking trails are. Continue a few feet past this and you’ve reached the campground and day-use area.

Tip: Traffic in Kelowna, especially downtown and over the bridge, can be terrible during rush hour and/or summer. Expect to move slowly and for people to run lights or cut you off.

Directions from Vernon

To drive from Vernon to Bear Creek Provincial Park, you can either drive through Kelowna or take the scenic Westside Road route. Personally, I prefer Westside Road because it’s gorgeous and you can skip the craziness of Kelowna.

Bear Creek via Kelowna (64 km)

Driving to Bear Creek from Vernon via Kelowna is very straightforward. Take Highway 97 south until you reach Kelowna. You’ll pass through Lake Country, as well as see Kalamalka and Wood Lake on your way.

Once you’ve reached Kelowna, continue over the bridge to West Kelowna. At the top of the hill after the bridge, take the Westside Road exit and keep right to merge onto Westside Road. Continue for 6.8 km until you reach Bear Creek Provincial Park. There’s a small wooden sign at the campground/day-use entrance.

Bear Creek via Westside Road (73 km)

Driving to Bear Creek from Vernon via Westside Road is a little longer, but definitely worth the detour. Not only is it a beautiful drive, but you’ll skip over the nuthouse that is Kelowna in the summer and maybe even spot some bighorn sheep!

This route is quite windy and some sections aren’t in the best repair. If you’re in a large trailer or RV, it’s easier to drive through Kelowna.

To take the scenic route from Vernon, head north on Highway 97 and take the Highway 97 N exit for Kamloops. Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp. Continue for 5.6 km, then turn left onto Westside Road (with signs for Westshore/Fintry/Killiney). Stay on Westside Road for 58.6 km until you reach the campground entrance on your left.

Tip: Fintry Provincial Park is on this route. Stop to check out the beautiful waterfall and heritage site! There’s also a large campground here.

Camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park

Tents, trailers, and RVs are all welcome at the Bear Creek campground. There are plenty of facilities and amenities — you can enjoy lake access, flush toilets, warm showers, an onsite sani-station, and much more. Many campsites have electricity and/or water hookups.

Bear Creek has 143 vehicle-accessible campsites (18 double) and is usually open from the end of March to mid-October (check here for exact dates). Reservations, first-come-first-served, and overflow are all options here.

The cost of camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park is reasonable when compared to hotels in the area, but it’s still pretty pricey for camping, especially if you’re tenting. Prices range from $35 to $45* per night.

*While I do my best to provide up-to-date fees, there may be a discrepancy between what’s posted here and the actual cost.

Campground map of Bear Creek Provincial Park.

Campsites at Bear Creek

Camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park is super popular, especially on weekends and during the summer. Luckily, it’s a large campground with plenty of room for everyone! Still, it’s important to plan ahead if you want to snag a campsite at Bear Creek.

The Bear Creek campground generally opens at the end of March and offers reservations, first-come-first-served, and overflow camping. Explore each type of camping system below.

Tip: My favourite sites at Bear Creek are #105, 106, and 107. They have the best views of the lake and are right on the beach.

Reservations at Bear Creek campground

highly recommend getting a reservation for camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park. The campground isn’t far from Kelowna and is literally on the shores of Okanagan Lake, which makes it an very popular place to go camping in the Okanagan.

When Bear Creek campground opens in late March (check exact dates), there’s roughly one week that’s not reservable. After that, from April to October, 100% of the 143 campsites can be booked in advance.

Reservations must be made through camping.bcparks.ca. You cannot book by calling. Camping.bcparks.ca starts accepting reservations at the end of March at 7am daily.


Pro Tip

If you don’t mind spring camping, it’s easiest to get a reservation when camping.bcparks.ca opens in late March.

Two months worth of sites will be available, whereas later in the season it becomes much more difficult to find openings (you’ll likely be checking every day).

This is how I managed to get one of the most desirable sites right on Okanagan Lake.

First-Come First-Served at Bear Creek Provincial Park

From late March to April 1, there are plenty of first-come-first-served campsites available at Bear Creek Provincial Park. You actually can’t reserve a campsite during this time.

However, from April 1 onwards, the sites are 100% reservable and your likelihood of getting a site without booking goes down drastically.

If you wanna be spontaneous on your summer camping trips, it’s still possible to show up at Bear Creek campground and hope for the best. This can be risky, though, because there’s no guarantee you’ll get a site. If you do take this route, you’ll probably end up in overflow camping.


Pro Tip

Always drive through and check site registrations (especially in the spring when the weather’s a little iffy). You can also check online the day-of for available campsites (day-of campsites cannot be reserved online).

When we stayed at Bear Creek, the most desirable sites (in my opinion, sites #105 & 106) were open because the people left early. The other site next to us, #108, was open for two nights. Always check on-site!

If you have a small setup such as a car or bike (and only one or two people), you can also ask strangers if they’d be willing to let you stay for the night (you’ll have to pay for an extra vehicle). My parents have done this many times on their motorcycle.

Overflow Camping at Bear Creek

Bear Creek Provincial Park does have overflow camping — it’s in the large day-use parking lot. If you don’t make a reservation during the summer, this will most likely be where you’ll end up.

In overflow camping, you won’t have access to privacy or a personal campfire ring, but it can still be an enjoyable place to stay. You’re close to Okanagan Lake and can use the same facilities as everyone else (showers, toilets, and water).

The day-use area has a few firepits you can use, as well as plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to hang out at.

Hookup Sites at Bear Creek

Bear Creek has 51 campsites with electrical hookups and seven with full hookups.

  • 30 amp sites: 46-80, 123-129, 131, 133, 136, 140, 142, 143
  • 50 amp, water, and sewer pull-thru sites: 130, 132, 134, 135, 137, 139, and 141

Sites with 30 amps have an additional $8/night fee and sites with full hookups have an additional $10/night fee.


Other Accommodation Options

If you’re unable to get a campsite at Bear Creek Provincial Park, don’t worry! Although the park is quite popular, it isn’t the only place in the region where you can stay.

There are plenty of other campgrounds, hotels/motels, and private rentals you can stay at in the Kelowna area.

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Recreation Sites

Hotels, Motels + Hostels

Kelowna has a ton of hotels and motels that are within 30 minutes of Bear Creek Provincial Park.

While not super popular, Kelowna does also have a few hostels. These can be great places to stay while exploring Kelowna and Bear Creek!

Hostels

Vehicle-Accessible, Front-Country Camping

Bear Creek Provincial Park offers front-country camping only. The campsites are large, well-maintained, and offer everything you’d expect from a provincial park, including large gravel pads, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are numerous sites with electrical hookups and seven pull-thrus.

Most of the sites are quite large and can accommodate extra vehicles or large RVs/trailers, but please double-check the site size before reserving. Site-specific information is available on BC Parks. There are 18 double sites.

The campground is divided into three loops.

Sites #1 – 80

Sites #1 to 80 are the original campsites. They’re set amongst large, spaced trees and irrigated lawns. The sites are well spaced and the trees provide plenty of shade, but there’s not much undergrowth for privacy.

Sites #4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, and 20 back onto Lambly (Bear) Creek which makes them slightly smaller with more privacy and vegetation. Sites 46 to 80 have 30 amp hookups.

Sites #81 – 122

Sites #81 to 122 are across the creek from the rest of the campground. These sites were developed in 1996 and the vegetation is very grown up now. Most of the sites have plenty of shade and bushy undergrowth, with a few saplings throughout.

My favourite sites, #105 to 109, are located on this loop. They’re the only campsites at Bear Creek that have direct, private access to the lake.

Sites #123 – 143

The newest additions to Bear Creek are sites #123 to 143, located at the north end of the campground near the day-use area. These sites aren’t included in the three main loops.

These campsites have hookups; 7 are paved pull-thrus with full hookups (30/50 amp power, sewer, and water) and another 7 have 30 amp power only. Tents aren’t allowed on the full-hookup campsites.

These sites were landscaped in 2018, which means there’s limited privacy until the trees and other vegetation have grown more.

Have you ever wanted to try out an RV or van? Try Outdoorsy (it’s basically Airbnb for RVs and trailers – save $50 with this link) or Escape Campervans to experience #vanlife without committing to it!


Camping Fees

CampsitesRegular: $35/night
30 amp: $43/night
Full hookup: $45/night
Online Reservation$6/night
Seniors*$17.50/night
Full hookup: $26/night
*Applies from the day after Labour Day to June 14
Second Vehicle$17.50/night
Tip: If you have an RV and tow vehicle, make sure your tow is attached when arriving. Otherwise you’ll be charged for an extra vehicle.
Firewood$10/bundle
Sani-station$5/use

*While I do my best to provide up-to-date fees, there may be a discrepancy between what’s posted here and the actual cost.


Camp Host Information

There’s camp host at Bear Creek Provincial Park is located near the park entrance, just beside the gatehouse.

The park is operated by Kaloya Contracting Ltd. and can be contacted at (250) 766-7972 and [email protected].

Facilities + Amenities at Bear Creek Provincial Park

Bear Creek is a very well-maintained park and has many facilities in the campground. There are also limited facilities along the hiking trails.

If you happen to forget something, you easily drive into West Kelowna or Kelowna (or even pop out to enjoy a delicious dinner).

Showers 

The Bear Creek campground has four clean, well-maintained shower facilities. Three of the showers are located in the two main loops, with the fourth in the loop across the creek. Showers are free and warm.

The shower facilities also have flush toilets, electrical plugs, sinks with mirrors, hand dryers, and dishwashing stations.

There’s no need to be grubby camper with so many options for showers (unless you want to be, of course)!

Toilets

There are five flush toilet buildings throughout the campground and day-use area. With the exception of the day-use change room, all of the toilets are located in the shower buildings.

There are no outhouses or pit toilets in the campground. Personally, I wish there were a few outhouses sprinkled throughout so that you don’t have to walk as far and can have some, ahem, extra privacy if needed 😂.

Across the road at the trailhead, there’s an outhouse. There’s another outhouse about halfway through the Canyon Rim Trail.

Water

There are two water taps in the third loop of the campground. All other taps are available from the dishwashing stations attached to the shower buildings throughout the campground. The water taps are turned off during the winter (October to April). 

The water is usually drinkable, but there are sometimes issues that require you to boil it or use a filtration system such as LifestrawSteripen, or tablets.

There are seven campsites with full hookups that include water access.

Sani-Dump

Bear Creek Provincial Park has a sani-dump just outside the campground near the parking lot for the hiking trails. It’s $5 per use.

You can also use this sani-dump guide, which includes over 1000 locations across Canada, to find nearby sani-stations. 

Campfires

Each campsite has a campfire ring with a grate that you can use. There are also campfire rings in the day-use area.

You can buy firewood for $10/bundle from the park host or when staff come by throughout the day. We once left a sign that said “wood please” because they drive by so quickly — it worked!

Fire bans or limited burning hours may be implemented (particularly during the summer) — if you’re unsure of the rules, check with staff or the BC Wildfire Service website before lighting a campfire. During fire bans, you can use a portable propane fire instead (not available on-site).

Dishwashing Stations

There are five dishwashing stations throughout the campground. Each shower building, as well as the day-use change room, has stainless steel dishwashing stations. There’s even hot water! 

Playgrounds + Fields

There are two large playgrounds, which are adjacent to a large grassy lawns, at the center of the campground near the lake.

The jungle-gym style playground is mulched and has numerous slides, ropes, and bars that keep kids entertained for hours. The large, irrigated grassy lawn is quite large and surrounded by trees which makes it a great area to enjoy some sports.

There are also picnic tables nearby so families can hang out with their kids. Some campsites back directly onto the playground and lawn which is great for families with young kids. 

Parking

There’s plenty of parking at Bear Creek Provincial Park. The day-use parking lot at the north end of the park is large and can easily accommodate lots of people. There’s also a smaller parking lot at the hiking trailheads.

Many people also park on the shoulders of Westside Road when they’re hiking.

If you’re visiting someone who’s camping, the campsites are usually large enough to accommodate a few extra vehicles without blocking the road.

Day-Use Area

The day-use area at Bear Creek is beautiful and provides plenty of opportunities for enjoying Okanagan Lake. You can sun bathe, hang out at the beach, kayak, SUP, canoe, swim, picnic, and use the playgrounds.

Things to Do at Bear Creek Provincial Park

Just like most of the provincial parks in the Okanagan, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at Bear Creek! You can enjoy water activities including swimming, kayaking, SUP, as well as hiking, camping, and even swim up to a waterfall.

Kayaking, SUP, and Canoeing

What better way to enjoy Okanagan Lake than by kayak, paddleboard, or canoe? The lake’s just begging to be explored.

Luckily, it couldn’t be easier for these dreams to come true than at Bear Creek! Okanagan Beach Rentals, which is set up right on the beach inside the park, offers paddleboards and kayaks for rent. The rentals are reasonably priced and extremely convenient.

There’s no boat launch at Bear Creek so, unfortunately, you can’t launch boats from here. But if you can portage your portable watercraft a few hundred feet on mostly flat, clear land (with a small dip down to the water), then you can certainly bring your own gear!

Swimming + Beach

There are over 400m of sandy and rocky beaches at Bear Creek. The beach runs the entire length of the campground, from the day-use all the way to the south end. The wide creek divides the beach, creating two completely separate places to enjoy the lake.

The beach is fairly narrow, but large enough to set up for the day. The day-use beach area backs onto grassy lawn, but the south-end beach backs onto campsites.

Although the beach has some rocks, there are no large rocks in the lake itself and it has a fairly gentle slope. The swimming area is marked by buoys.

There are no life guards on duty.

Changeroom

At the day-use beach, there’s a changeroom with stalls, flush toilets, and dishwashing.

Hiking at Bear Creek

Across the road from the Bear Creek campground are ~5 km of hiking trails. These trails rated as moderately easy and bring hikers along the edge of a small canyon. There are a few different trails, but they’re all very similar. The Canyon Rim Trail at Bear Creek is my favourite.

You can enjoy views of Lambly (Bear) Creek as it runs through the canyon, as well as a waterfall. In fact, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can hike/swim to the waterfall itself! ONLY do this when the creek is slow moving because it can be dangerous.

There’s also an easy, flat trail along the edge of the lake in the campground.

Day Use Area at Bear Creek Provincial Park

The day-use area at Bear Creek Provincial Park is quite extensive. There’s a large, 80-vehicle parking lot near the beach, as well as roughly 12 picnic tables with amazing views of Okanagan Lake.

The picnic tables are spread out along the beach and grassy lawn which provides lots of room between groups. Oak and cottonwood trees provide shade.

There are extensive lawns throughout the day-use where you can enjoy games like bocce ball, giant Jenga, ring toss, or bean bag toss. You could also enjoy a picnic! We often use the day-use at Bear Creek to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.

Tip: There are lots of Canadian geese at Bear Creek. Be mindful of their poop and give them plenty of room.

My Thoughts on Bear Creek Provincial Park

Bear Creek is one of my favourite local provincial parks. We often use the day-use area as a quick getaway from town. I’ve camped here a number of times and have always enjoyed it. The hiking trails are also one of my go-to easy hikes in Kelowna.

I love the large campsites because we can easily invite friends and family for the day and they can park right at our site. It’s also close enough to Kelowna that we can try to get in without reservations and it not be a big deal if we don’t get a spot (this is only helpful if you’re a local, of course).

I do wish reservation management was better for no-shows, but this is always an issue with provincial parks and isn’t unique to Bear Creek. I also wish there were more outhouses throughout.

Overall, I 100% recommend Bear Creek! The camping and hiking area awesome.


Nearest Services

Bear Creek Provincial Park is roughly 10 minutes from both Kelowna and West Kelowna. It’s a quick, easy drive into town if you need to buy something or want to use the campground as a base for exploring the area.

Kelowna and West Kelowna have everything you’d need, including gas stations, Walmart, SuperstoreCanadian Tire, Home Depot, and RV suppliers. There are also outdoor stores such as MEC and Atmosphere, as well as plenty of restaurants, wineries, breweries, and fun activities like ziplining, biking, and horseback riding.


FAQ

From April 1 to close, Bear Creek doesn’t officially have an FCFS campsites. However, for one week at the end of March, all sites are FCFS. Any other time, any unreserved site is FCFS.

Bear Creek Provincial Park is 158 hectares and has 143 campsites.

Yes! But please be cautious and only swim when the spring run-off is over and the creek is slow moving. You can swim to the waterfall visible from the hiking trails.

Yes, Bear Creek is dog friendly. They must be leashed and picked up after. Dogs are allowed in the campground and hiking trails, but not on the beach.

Yes, there’s excellent cell and data service at Bear Creek Provincial Park campground.

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