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Okanagan

Crawford (Canyon) Falls in Kelowna

I absolutely looooove chasing waterfalls! If you’re a fellow waterfall chaser, you’ll have a great time exploring Crawford Falls in Kelowna. It’s a beautiful, easy hike that descends into a small canyon that’s home to not one, but two waterfalls. Crawford Falls, which is also called Canyon Falls, is open year-round and is fun to explore throughout the seasons.

Crawford Falls is located in the middle of a quiet neighbourhood in Kelowna. Who knew such a cool little spot existed? That’s part of what I love about the Okanagan so much — there are so many awesome little trails nestled in the unlikeliest of places. You just never know what you’re gonna find!

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Trail Information for Crawford Falls

I love hiking at Crawford Falls all year long. It’s a great place to take a dip in the summer and in the winter, the frozen waterfall is beautiful!

Hiking Notes

Use this information to plan your hike! Things like difficulty and duration vary person to person, but I’ve included other information such as elevation gain and length to help you decide if Crawford Falls is a good trail for you.

DifficultyModerately easy
Length2 km, 1.3 mi
Duration30 mins to 1 hour
Trail TypeLinear, there-and-back
Elevation StatsCrawford Falls Elevation Info (PDF)
GPS FileGPXKML, AllTrails

Trail Map

Use this trail map of Crawford Falls to plan your hike. I’ve highlighted the trailhead and the viewpoints for the upper and lower falls.

The lower waterfall at Crawford Falls in Kelowna. A gentle waterfall is nestled in a rocky canyon.
The lower waterfall at Crawford Falls.
Woman hikes down a snowy trail.

Crawford Falls, aka Canyon Falls

One of the most confusing things about this waterfall hike is that it has two names: Crawford Falls and Canyon Falls. Let me set the story straight — they’re one and the same. For the sake of this article, I’m going to refer to the waterfall as Crawford Falls.

Overall, this is a short, quick hike that takes about an hour. There are usually at least a few groups on the trail, but it never seems overly crowded. And if you visit in the winter, you’ll probably have the trail to yourself! Not nearly as many people wanna brave the cold.

The frozen lower waterfall at Crawford/Canyon Falls in Kelowna. Woman stands in front of the waterfall.
A rocky path through a canyon to the lower Crawford Falls.
A woman stands near a railing on a snowy hiking trail in Kelowna.

What to Expect

The trail to Crawford Falls has been improved a lot over the past couple of years, so it’s a lot easier now than it used to be. There are signs, staircases, and railings that make the trail to the lower falls obvious. The trail to the upper falls viewpoint isn’t quite as clear, though. More on that later.

From the parking area, the trail squeezes between a fancy home and the edge of the canyon. Before long you’ll reach an obvious fork in the trail. One trail continues along the top of the canyon to the upper falls viewpoint and the other trail quickly descends into the canyon to the lower falls. Before you head off, enjoy the view of Okanagan Lake and Kuiper’s Peak from here and see if you can spot the lower falls through the trees.

Woman stands in front of the 20-foot lower falls at Crawford Falls.
Woman sits in front of a frozen waterfall.
Woman stands in front of a waterfall in the summer.

Lower Crawford Falls

To reach the lower waterfall at Crawford Falls, take the trail that heads down into the canyon. It’s a steep, quick descent. The trail isn’t too difficult in the summer, but it can be a little awkward (especially in the beginning). However, in the winter it gets very icy and slippery. Be careful, go slow, and wear the proper gear.

You’ll hike through a tunnel of trees that’s covered in rocks — this is the hardest part of the trail to the lower falls. After that the trail is a lot clearer, winding over a small trickle of water, across a grassy hillside, and down a metal staircase. You’ll continue to descend, eventually meeting up with Bellevue Creek. Once you’ve reached the creek, you’re almost there. Continue heading into the canyon and you’ll soon spot the waterfall.

The lower Crawford Falls is a beautiful, gentle waterfall. The 20-foot waterfall tumbles down into a rocky cove, surrounded by large rocks and the canyon walls. It’s a beautiful place to explore and you could even enjoy a quick dip in the small pool at the base of the waterfall. If you visit in the winter, the frozen waterfall is spectacular!

The frozen upper falls at Crawford Falls.
Warning sign on a tree.
The upper falls viewpoint at Crawford Falls in Kelowna.

Upper Crawford Falls

As you’re exploring the lower falls, you’ll notice a trail up the rock face that leads to the upper Crawford Falls. You’ll also see signs clearly telling you not to do that. I’ve seen articles telling people to ignore those signs, but I don’t agree. Not only is the scramble up the rock face steep, slick, and dangerous, it’s deteriorating the hillside.

For full transparency, I have visited the upper Crawford Falls once. It was years ago, long before signs advised otherwise. Although the waterfall is impressive — it’s about 40-feet tall, after all! — I don’t recommend you access it this way. When you’re exploring, it’s important to respect the rules surrounding natural areas so that they remain beautiful and accessible for years to come. Luckily, there’s another way you can see the upper Crawford Falls! 

Trail at the top of the canyon to the upper falls viewpoint.
Top of the lower falls trail.
View of Okanagan Lake from the Crawford Falls.

Upper Crawford Falls Viewpoint

To see the upper Crawford Falls, head back the way you came. When you get to the top, take the second fork that follows the top of the canyon. There are a few different routes on this trail (ignore the open digging sign, you won’t be near it) but if you keep to the right you’ll eventually reach a viewpoint where you can see the upper Crawford Falls from above. It’s a small viewpoint and a little nerve-wracking to peer over, but the view is awesome. 

If you wanna get a little closer, there’s a rope nearby that descends into the canyon and brings you to the top of the waterfall. It’s a very steep descent and the rope looks a little sketchy, but it’s doable. Just be careful and realistic about your abilities. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t get too close to the top of the waterfall!

A wide view of the lower falls at Crawford Falls.
Woman stands by a railing on a hill.
Woman hikes down a tunnel of trees.

Parking

There isn’t a lot of parking at Crawford Falls. The trailhead is located in Canyon Falls Court, a small cul-de-sac with a designated parking area. Make sure you park within the signs and don’t block any driveways. I always try to go early to snag one of the coveted spots!

Woman hikes down an icy trail in the winter.
View down a metal staircase in a forested canyon.
The lower falls at Crawford Falls.

The time of year you visit Crawford Falls will really determine what you should pack on your hike. It is a short hike so you don’t need to bring a ton of gear, but a few things will help you make the most of your waterfall adventure!

  • Swimsuit: In the summer, the pool at the base of the lower Crawford Falls is a great place for a quick dip! I love Londre and Wolven swimsuits because they’re both sustainability made and beautiful. 
  • Lightweight towel: If you take a dip, a quick-dry towel is a great thing to bring along.
  • Runners: Even though it’s a short hike, parts of the trail don’t have a lot of traction. Regardless of the season, wear shoes with a grip so that you’re not slipping and sliding all over the place. Runners or hiking boots are best.
  • Crampons: In the winter the trail gets very icy. You don’t need crampons, but they’ll make your life a hell of a lot easier. They’re basically spiky grips you attach to your boots that prevent slipping on icy trails.
  • Hammock: There are plenty of places you could pitch a hammock and enjoy the small piece of paradise.

Final Notes

Crawford Falls is a great hike for waterfall chasers! Even though it’s a short trail, you can check out two beautiful waterfalls in the middle of a residential area in Kelowna. Make sure you respect the area and obey signage so that everyone can enjoy the area for years!

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