Looking to explore some of BC’s most treasured hidden gems? Nestled on the northeastern shore of Okanagan Lake is Western Canada’s only freshwater dive park, which is situated in Ellison Provincial Park. What’s more, the park gates officially open for the season on Monday, May 27th, so there’s never been a better time to plan a trip out to see it!

Surrounded by 220 hectares of forested benchlands, rocky shorelines, and sheltered coves, Ellison Park has plenty of recreational opportunities to offer visitors from spring through fall. According to BC Parks, there are over six kilometres of ‘easy’ walking trails, and over 60 reservable front-country campsites to choose from.

Note that hiking along the scenic headlands can get pretty steep, so make sure to move carefully in these areas!

These steeper trails reward hikers with panoramic vistas of Okanagan Lake to Spallumcheen, Fintry, Terrace Mountain, and the communities of Westside Road.

It’s also home to the only freshwater dive park in Western Canada, which contains a range of fascinating plant and animal life, as well as “sunken artifacts.” 

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ellison park bc
Photo via BC Parks

In addition to the dive park, Ellison Park has three main beaches with ‘warm waters’ to swim in every summer. Each is a designated swimming area with buoys to keep boats further out, though there are no active lifeguards on duty.

Finally, those looking to try their hand at rock climbing can find small granite cliffs by South Bay that are perfect for beginners, according to BC Parks. For more skilled climbers and boulderers, there are top-rope climbing opportunities, as well as guided rock climbing camps in the park.

Park gate info

The park gate is open from March 27th to October 14th, and operates from 11 am to 7 pm. Note that the gate is closed outside of these hours, and closes for the winter season.

So there you have it, Vancouver! Adventures of all kinds await here!

Ellison Park 

Where: Okanagan Lake, BC