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 offers a beautiful look at what happens when time stands still.
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 first, 20-foot waterfall. It’s a short, quick hike but it’s usually quiet and a great way to break that winter cabin fever.
The trailhead is located in a residential cul-de-sac and parking is quite limited. There are 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. Also, be wary in the winter of ice that could cause vehicles to slide. This happened to us: we came back from our hike to see a large truck had slid into the front of our SUV.
The Hike to Crawford Falls
Hiking to Crawford Falls in the winter can be a difficult task. It’s a short, 1.5 km hike but the descent is steep and icy with slick packed snow. Traction cleats will make your hike not only easier, but safer. If all else fails, slide down the icy trail on your butt.
Although the trail can be difficult, 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.
Reaching the 20-Foot Frozen Waterfall at Crawford Falls
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. Before the trail was redone in 2017, the stairs were a metal ladder.
The frozen waterfall is breathtaking in the winter and stands as 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.
Exploring the Crawford Falls waterfalls is part of our Okanagan Bucket List! If you want more fun places to explore all year-long, check it out!
If you're going to bring anything on your winter adventure to Crawford Falls, make sure it's traction cleats. They make a world of a difference!
The hike to Crawford Falls is short, but it's steep and the snow gets very packed down. The spiky cleats will help you keep traction on the snow which will make your adventure much safer.
Information & Trailhead Location
The lower, 20-foot falls at Crawford Falls 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.
|Distance||~1.5 km return|
|Difficulty||Moderate due to snow and ice|
|Notes||The lower falls are easily accessible in the winter; however, we don't recommend visiting the upper falls.|