Kalamalka Lake near Vernon in the Okanagan Valley has been rated as one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful lakes by National Geographic. It is stunning — its clear blue waters that range in hue from aqua to indigo are framed in by ponderosa pine-forested hills to the east and scrubby, rocky promontories to the west. In the middle of this natural splendour sits Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, a hiker’s and swimmer’s haven with marked trails that lead to secluded bays perfect for a dip on a hot day.
We hiked from the main parking lot down to a quiet bay and then up to a rocky lookout that afforded views down the lake and back toward Coldstream, near Vernon. From there it was an easy descent to Pet Beach, a dedicated area where you can let your dog swim. And doggy paddle Piper did. We took her out in the water a few times and let her swim back to shore, where she was rewarded with a treat. Before long she plunged in on her own and swam a lap around Blake. Then Avery threw a stick out for her, which she retrieved, over and over and over again till she was pooped.
High: Piper is officially a water dog! And we had the beach to ourselves, a drastic departure from nearby Kal Beach, the local Coldstream summer hangout that teems with people every day all summer.
Low: For some reason we didn’t bring swimming suits and Bennett tried imitating Piper’s puppy strokes… with all his clothes on.
Outcome: This park is an Okanagan Valley gem. Plan to spend a half day exploring it. Come prepared with water, snacks, swimming suits and a towel or two.