If you’re familiar with Kelowna’s hikes, I’m sure you’ve heard of Knox Mountain. It’s home to one of Kelowna’s most popular trails, Paul’s Tomb, afterall. Even though that trail is well-known for a reason, Knox Mountain has way more places to explore. Take Kathleen Lake, for example! It’s a small, beautiful lake that’s important to the local ecosystem. Plus, the trail is usually very quiet and you’ll be hard pressed to run into other people.
You can also check out panoramic views of Kelowna if you explore the many trails around the lake itself. It’s easy to turn a small hike to Kathleen Lake into much larger adventure.
Kathleen Lake on Knox Mountain
Kathleen Lake is a small, geographically isolated water basin. Sounds fancy, but all that means is that it has no outlet and is surrounded by upland. It’s home to lots of animal and plant life and is essential to the area’s wildlife. Birds and insects love to sing and coyotes and mule deer hang out in the area, so keep your eyes open.
Kathleen Lake is a peaceful, secluded hideaway from the bustling city.
Hiking at Kathleen Lake
The trail around Kathleen Lake is fairly easy and good for most experience levels. You’ll wind around the lake with great viewpoints and access points along the way. You’ll get up-close-and-personal with the lake before heading uphill to a much higher vantage point above a small cliff. The trail itself is usually fairly wide and well-maintained, except for a short section on the south side of the lake that’s narrow and much rougher.
As you’re hiking around Kathleen Lake, you’ll notice a lot of other trails. Knox Mountain is riddled with trails and it’s easy to get off track — although that’s great if you want a longer hike! If you haven’t explored the trails before, it’s a good idea to track yourself using an app like AllTrails or Gaia because it would be easy to get turned around.
As you’re exploring, make sure you stick to the paths. Without even mentioning LNT principles, the ecosystem is super fragile and dry which makes it highly vulnerable to erosion and deterioration. Just stay on the trails!
Kathleen Lake Trailhead
Since there are so many trails on Knox Mountain, there are a lot of ways to get to Kathleen Lake. Having said that, there’s one main trailhead and I recommend you start there if you’re new to the area. The trailhead is about halfway up Knox Mountain Drive, but there’s no room to park along the road. Because of that, I usually park on the nearby Woodpark Court and walk down.
The upper half of Knox Mountain Drive is closed to vehicles early in the year, which makes for an easy climb for hikers and bikers alike. Come mid-April, the road opens up to cars. If you don’t want to hike to the trailhead on the pavement, there’s a nice trail that runs parallel to the road.
Kathleen Lake is a perfect trail for a quick and easy jaunt into nature. It’s right in town, but it doesn’t feel like you are. And if you’re feeling up for a longer adventure, there are a ton of other trails to explore on Knox Mountain!