How Deep Is Okanagan Lake? And 7 Best Things To Do There!

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Formed around 10,000 years ago, the Okanagan Lake is a prime treasure of British Columbia. It is known to have formed during the Fraser Glaciation period, which led to the carving of the beautiful lake.

The lake runs from Vernon Creek to Penticton and is a famous recreation site for many. The Okanagan lake runs 232m deep while the shallow regions have a depth of 75m.

Snorkelling and scuba diving are the best activities to experience how deep is Okanagan Lake. It ranks 15th among the deepest lakes in Canada and hosts numerous outdoor activities for visitors. Discover how deep is Okanagan Lake in British Columbia and what resides in it.

How Did The Lake Form?

Frequent glaciations in the past led to the formation of the lake. It is believed that other factors like volcanic eruptions were also contributing factors to the formation.

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The melting of the ice dam during the Fraser Glaciation period carved out lake Okanagan. The ice fell into the ground and formed a depression which was filled by the melted ice.

The lake was formed in the Pleistocene Epoch. Now you can wonder why and how deep is Okanagan Lake. It is a monomictic type of lake – which means that it has a mixing phase only once a year. The north side is slightly dimictic.

Initially, it was named the glacial Lake Penticton. The Entire Okanagan valley is used for recreation with many visitors each year discovering how deep is Okanagan Lake.

Geography of Okanagan Lake

The lake stretches over 120 km with a width of 5 km. Surrounded by the Monashee mountains, the lake is home to numerous flora and fauna species. How deep is Okanagan Lake and how beautiful it is?

Surrounded by fertile terraces, the lake is a Fjord lake – which is an elongated body of water that stretches far inland. The lake usually freezes in January and February.

how deep is Okanagan Lake
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Nestled between Columbia and the Cascade Mountain ranges, the Lake flows out to the Columbia River. It is also a part of the river drainage system. It is fascinating to discover how deep is Okanagan Lake.

The shoreline has a length of about 270 km. The lake has three basins – the mid-basin, the southern basin and the north basin.

The shallow regions of the lake have numerous algae and plant growth. The lake is home to fish species like – whitefish and rainbow trout.

The other lakes surrounding Okanagan lake are:

  • Swan Lake.
  • Kalamalka Lake.
  • Wood Lakes.
  • Skaha Lake.
  • Vaseux Lake.
  • Osoyoos Lake.

Discover The Depths Of Lake Okanagan

You might wonder what organisms reside in the waters and how deep is Okanagan Lake. The lake surprisingly has an amazing ecosystem with numerous species of fish and benthos organisms which reside in the deepest point of Okanagan Lake.

Flora and Fauna of Okanagan Lake

The maximum depth of the lake is around 761 ft while the minimum depth is 246 ft. Due to more oxygen and better recycling of nutrients from the bottom to the surface area, the shallow regions are rich in plant growth.

how deep is Okanagan Lake
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Now that we know how deep is Okanagan lake, let’s have a look at what resides in it.

The lake is believed to have 39 different species of fish residing in them. Some notable fish species are Sockeye Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and Kokanee Salmon.

Floating macrophytes and phytoplanktons (producers) are abundant in the lake. The Eurasian milfoil and Mysid shrimp were introduced into the lake which significantly reduced the mass of Kokanee fishes.

One can imagine how deep is Okanagan Lake and the plethora of organisms present in the lake.

Flora Species at the Lake

  • Bulrush
  • Algae Lyngbya
  • Great Yellow Pond Lily
  • Pondweed
  • Fragilaria
  • Broad Leaf Reedmace

Fauna Species at the Lake

  • Ridgeback Peaclam
  • Helobdella
  • Red Worm
  • Carp
  • Whitefish
  • Rainbow Trout

Ogopogo – a 50 ft monster is believed to reside in Lake Okanagan, with initial sightings in the 1870s. An imagined statue of the so-called lake monster is displayed in Kelowna.

The mythical lake monster, Ogopogo dwells at the bottom of the lake with black skin. Only sightings of the lake monster are known and no firm discoveries are made in recent times.

Okanagan or Okanogan? – Fun Fact

The name of the lake had several different pronunciations out of which ‘Okanagan’ remains the most used one. The American pronunciations include ‘Okanogan’ and ‘Otchenaukane’ while the Canadian pronunciation is ‘Ookanawgan’.

Attractions At Okanagan Lake

The Okanagan Valley offers many attractions in and around Okanagan Lake. You can visit the famous Kelowna City park around the lake. It has many picnic facilities and food spots.

Visit the Skaha Lake park or the Osoyoos Lake, one of the warmest in Canada. The Myra-Bellevue park offers a scenic overlook of the Myra Canyon.

The Okanagan valley is home to three major population centres. The Squally Point is the best spot to cliff jump with your buddies!

how deep is Okanagan lake
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Skaha Lake Park

Located in Penticton, the park has a serene beach with sandy shorelines. People specially visit the park to enjoy the picturesque beauty and amazing water activities.

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You can build a sand castle or swim in the clear waters. The park has the best tennis courts and playgrounds.  Facilitated with picnic areas and washrooms, Skaha park is among the best attractions around Okanagan Lake.

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

Nestled in North Okanagan, the 979 hectares park bustles with a spawning habitat. You can enjoy numerous outdoor activities like – canoeing and horseback riding.

View wildlife from the rattlesnake point for the best experience. Kalamalka waters have a significant blue colour due to the high concentration of Calcium Carbonate.

The Kalamalka Provincial Park has four parking areas for convenience. After you have discovered how deep is Okanagan Lake, this park is a must-visit.

Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoos Lake located in the south of Okanagan Valley is one of the top lakes to visit in the summer. The Lake flows into the Okanogan river.

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It is the warmest and one of the largest lakes in British Columbia. The deep lake was formed during the ice age.  After you explore how deep is Okanagan Lake, take a trip to Osoyoos.

Paddlewheel Park

Paddlewheel is a park situated on Okanagan Landing road with vibrant greenery. It is the perfect spot for kids and a must-visit for families.

Located on Fraser River, the park hosts many boat launches. You can discover the history of the park written on the stone plates.

Myra Canyon Park

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The Myra Canyon Park has a 22km trail where one can ride their bike. The trails offer a beautiful view throughout. You can visit the Meadow Vista Bee Farm on your way as well!

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park

The Vaseux Lake Provincial Park near Okanagan Falls is famous for fishing activities. The park has many tent sites and campgrounds for an amazing stay.

You can spend time at Vaseux Lake or visit the Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park

Now that you know how deep is Okanagan Lake, explore Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. Bustling with mountains and vast forests, the park is known for some of the best trails like – the Good Creek Canyon Trail, Wildhorse Canyon and Wildhorse Canyon North Loop.

Surrounded by Ponderosa pines, the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park has a rugged terrain. Its beauty would leave you in awe!

Explore adventurous activities like horseback riding and swimming. The park also has campgrounds with picnic facilities. Visit the archaeological sites in the park or trail the Divide Lake trail. The park is perfect for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.

The Okanagan Mountain lookout trail offers a scenic overlook. Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park is no less than a paradise in British Columbia.

how deep in Okanagan lake
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Towns in Okanagan Valley

The towns around Okanagan Lake, British Columbia are a must-visit. The famous towns in Okanagan Valley are:

  • Okanagan Falls.
  • Penticton.
  • Peachland.
  • West Kelowna.
  • Summerland.
  • Lake Country.

The Two Islands Of Okanagan Lake

Grant Island, which is a bird sanctuary, is one of the only two islands of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. We do know how deep is Okanagan Lake, but the deepest point is around Grant Island.

Near Grant Island, South of Squally Point, is Rattlesnake island, nicknamed Monster Island. The island has a mini golf course and a famous diving point.

Photo by Genadiy Selivanov from Shutterstock

The Okanagan Valley is the best to explore and know about how deep is Okanagan Lake.

Some other best attractions to visit around Lake Okanagan and Okanagan Valley are:

  • Gellatly Farm.
  • Davison Orchards country village.
  • Penticton Farmers’ Market.
  • Kalamalka lake park.
  • Shuswap Lake.
  • Kasugai Japanese Garden.
  • Waterfront Park.
  • Mission Creek Regional Park.
  • Okanagan Great Divide.
  • Okanagan Mission beach.
  • William R Bennett Bridge.

What Can You Do At The Lake?

Apart from a scenic view, the pristine lake offers countless activities to enjoy. Spend leisure time at the lake or go for adventurous water sports like – snorkelling and scuba diving.

Discover the Ogopogo sails or just walk along the trails, Okanagan lake is a refreshing experience for all. Journey your way through the lake and discover how deep is Okanagan lake.

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Rent the Pontoon Boat which starts its journey from Woodlake for a 3-4 hour tour around the lake with the best amenities. What could be better than a perfect guided tour with a savouring BBQ on the lunch menu?

A peaceful boat ride is the best to explore the lake with endless recreation opportunities and an adventure to know how deep is Okanagan Lake.

Okanagan Valley in British Columbia also hosts adventurous activities like hiking, picnicking and biking. The Paddlewheel park is the top spot to start your boating journey.

The best activities at the lake:

  • Boat rentals.
  • Kite Surfing.
  • Paddle Boarding.
  • Sailing.
  • Flyboarding.
  • Scuba Diving.
  • Kayaking.

How Deep Is Okanagan Lake? – Final Words

Okanagan Lake is the 15th deepest lake in Canada, brimming with life and attractions for all. You would be fascinated to discover how deep is Okanagan Lake? and what beholds it.

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Visit the Okanagan Great divide or the Lake Country, and amaze yourself with the adventuresome activities found here. The Bennett Bridge is a 1,050-metre bridge in Kelowna and offers a stunning scenic view.

The lake is pretty clean as described by most tourists, and nature is in its best form around the enter Okanagan Lake. It is one of the best places to visit in Kelowna.

The area surrounding Okanagan Lake is a serene atmosphere with fascinating wilderness. The huge post-glacial lake is truly a gem of Canada with bustling tourists every year and is a must-visit among the attractions in British Columbia.

Also read: Best Restaurants in Penticton.

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