Winter doesn’t mean the hiking season is over. If anything, it lets you rediscover places in a whole new, almost magical, way. Waterfalls are particularly beautiful in the winter. The lower, frozen waterfall at Crawford Falls in Kelowna offers a beautiful look at what happens when time stands still.
Note: Crawford Falls is currently closed. We’ll update this article when we hear it’s opened, but please check the Kelowna Tourism website for most up-to-date open info.
Crawford Falls in Kelowna
Crawford Falls, also known as Canyon Falls, is located 20 minutes from downtown Kelowna and is home to two beautiful waterfalls: a 20-foot and a larger, 40-foot one. In the winter, it’s only safe to access the 20-foot waterfall.
It’s a short, quick hike but it’s usually quiet and a great way to break that winter cabin fever.
Trailhead + parking
The Crawford Falls trailhead is located in a residential cul-de-sac. There’s limited designated parking along the curb and enough room for about five cars. Stay within the designated area because you could be ticketed and/or towed if not. Directions and a Google Map to the trail head are at the end of the article.
A note of caution: Be wary of ice in the winter because vehicles can easily slide. I say this from experience — we came back from our hike to find a large truck had slid into the front of our SUV.
What to expect
Hiking to Crawford Falls in the winter can be a difficult task. Even though it’s only a short, 1.5 km hike, the steep, icy decent makes it hard. Ice crampons will make your hike not only easier, but safer. If all else fails, slide down the icy trail on your butt.
The trail can be difficult, but it’s easier than it used to be. The trail was redone in 2017 and there are now numerous metal stairs throughout that lesson the amount of ice and snow you’ll have to hike over. These are mostly near the waterfall, though, so you’ll still have to safely navigate the very beginning, steep section of the trail.
Before you begin the descent into the canyon, stop to see if you can spot the first waterfall through the trees. If you listen carefully, you might even hear her dull roar.
20-foot frozen waterfall
The first waterfall at Crawford Falls is hidden in a crevice of the canyon. A metal staircase brings you down to the water and a small trail leads you straight to the falls. From the top of this staircase, you can spot the waterfall. The stairs used to be a metal ladder before the trail was redone in 2017.
The frozen waterfall is breathtaking in the winter and looks as if time has forgotten it. When the ice thaws, it creates small windows that give you a great view of the cascading water. The canyon walls climb around you and snow clings to the moss adorned walls. Tiny icicles grow on the edges of the winter wonderland.
What to pack
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The lower 20-foot falls at Crawford Falls in Kelowna are easily accessible in the winter with a short hike from Canyon Falls Court. The parking is limited and you’ll be ticketed if you’re parked outside of the appointed area. Additional parking is available on the surrounding roads.
If you’re hiking in the winter, be extremely careful of the snow and ice and dress appropriately. Check out our tips for a fun and safe winter adventure!