Bear Creek Provincial Park is a great place to camp and explore the outdoors near Kelowna. The park is located on the western shores of Okanagan Lake and has amazing views of the lake, surrounding hills, and even Kelowna itself.
Bear Creek Provincial Park is 158 hectares and is most well-known for its campground, day-use area, and hiking trails.
The park’s also home to a ton of Canadian geese, so keep an eye out for their poop! They’ll generally stay out of the way, but geese can be aggressive so it’s best to give them plenty of space.
Read next: Provincial park campgrounds near Kelowna »
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Bear Creek Provincial Park Stats
There are a lot of different things available at Bear Creek. From camping and day-use to hiking and paddling, there’s something for everyone.
- Campsites: 143
- Camping type: Front-country
- Park size: 158 hectares
- Fees: Day use: free | Camping: $35 – $45/night
- Dates: Day use: year-round | Camping: late March to mid-October (make a reservation)
Where is Bear Creek Provincial Park located?
Bear Creek Provincial Park is located in the Central Okanagan, about 10 minutes from Kelowna and 1 hour from Vernon. The campground sits on the shores of Okanagan Lake and is an excellent place to disconnect from city life without travelling far.
Directions to Bear Creek
Bear Creek is accessed via Westside Road which is a beautiful scenic back road that connects West Kelowna and Vernon. The paved, single-lane road winds along the northern portion of Okanagan Lake and is worth taking just for the sake of the beautiful drive.
Camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park
Tents, trailers, and RVs are all welcome at the Bear Creek campground. There are plenty of facilities and amenities — you can enjoy lake access, flush toilets, warm showers, an onsite sani-station, and much more. Many campsites have electricity and/or water hookups.
Bear Creek has 143 vehicle-accessible campsites (18 double) and is usually open from the end of March to mid-October (check here for exact dates). Reservations, first-come-first-served, and overflow are all options here.
The cost of camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park is reasonable when compared to hotels in the area, but it’s still pretty pricey for camping, especially if you’re tenting. Prices range from $35 to $45* per night.
*While I do my best to provide up-to-date fees, there may be a discrepancy between what’s posted here and the actual cost.
Camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park is super popular, especially on weekends and during the summer. Luckily, it’s a large campground with plenty of room for everyone! Still, it’s important to plan ahead if you want to snag a campsite at Bear Creek.
The Bear Creek campground generally opens at the end of March and offers reservations, first-come-first-served, and overflow camping. Explore each type of camping system below.
Tip: My favourite sites at the Bear Creek campground are #105, 106, and 107. They have the best views of the lake and are right on the beach.
Reservations at Bear Creek campground
I highly recommend getting a reservation for camping at Bear Creek Provincial Park. The campground isn’t far from Kelowna and is literally on the shores of Okanagan Lake, which makes it an very popular place to go camping in the Okanagan.
When Bear Creek campground opens in late March (check exact dates), there’s roughly one week that’s not reservable. After that, from April to October, 100% of the 143 campsites can be booked in advance.
Reservations must be made through camping.bcparks.ca. You cannot book by calling. Camping.bcparks.ca starts accepting reservations at the end of March at 7am daily.
Pro Tip: If you don’t mind spring camping, it’s easiest to get a reservation when camping.bcparks.ca opens in the spring. Two months worth of sites will be available, whereas later in the season it becomes much more difficult to find openings (you’ll likely be checking every day).
First-Come First-Served at Bear Creek Provincial Park
From late March to April 1, there are plenty of first-come-first-served campsites available at Bear Creek Provincial Park. You actually can’t reserve a campsite during this time.
However, from April 1 onwards, the sites are 100% reservable and your likelihood of getting a site without booking goes down drastically.
If you wanna be spontaneous on your summer camping trips, it’s still possible to show up at Bear Creek campground and hope for the best. This can be risky, though, because there’s no guarantee you’ll get a site. If you do take this route, you’ll probably end up in overflow camping.
Pro tip: Always drive through and check site registrations. You can also check online the day-of for available campsites (day-of campsites cannot be reserved online). When we stayed at Bear Creek, the most desirable sites (in my opinion, sites #105 & 106) were open because the people left early. The other site next to us, #108, was open for two nights. Always check on-site!
If you have a small setup such as a car or bike (and only one or two people), you can also ask strangers if they’d be willing to let you stay for the night (you’ll have to pay for an extra vehicle). My parents have done this many times on their motorcycle.
Overflow Camping at Bear Creek
Bear Creek Provincial Park does have overflow camping — it’s in the large day-use parking lot. If you don’t make a reservation during the summer, this will most likely be where you’ll end up.
In overflow camping, you won’t have access to privacy or a personal campfire ring, but it can still be an enjoyable place to stay. You’re close to Okanagan Lake and can use the same facilities as everyone else (showers, toilets, and water).
The day-use area has a few firepits you can use, as well as plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to hang out at.
Hookup Sites at Bear Creek
Bear Creek has 51 campsites with electrical hookups and seven with full hookups.
- 30 amp sites: 46-80, 123-129, 131, 133, 136, 140, 142, 143
- 50 amp, water, and sewer pull-thru sites: 130, 132, 134, 135, 137, 139, and 141
Sites with 30 amps have an additional $8/night fee and sites with full hookups have an additional $10/night fee.
Bear Creek Provincial Park offers front-country camping only. The campsites are large, well-maintained, and offer everything you’d expect from a provincial park, including large gravel pads, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are numerous sites with electrical hookups and seven pull-thrus.
Most of the sites are quite large and can accommodate extra vehicles or large RVs/trailers, but please double-check the site size before reserving. Site-specific information is available on BC Parks. There are 18 double sites.
The campground is divided into three loops.
- Campsites: Regular: $35/night | 30 amp: $43/night | Full hookup: $45/night
- Online Reservation: $6/night
- Seniors: $17.50/night | Full hookup: $26/night
*Applies from the day after Labour Day to June 14
- Second Vehicle: $17.50/night
- Firewood: $10/bundle
- Sani-station: $5/use
*While I do my best to provide up-to-date fees, there may be a discrepancy between what’s posted here and the actual cost.
Camp Host Information
The camp host at Bear Creek Provincial Park is located near the park entrance, just beside the gatehouse.
Facilities & Amenities
Bear Creek is a very well-maintained park and has many facilities in the campground. There are also limited facilities along the hiking trails.
If you happen to forget something or want to enjoy a delicious meal, you easily drive into West Kelowna or Kelowna.
Things to Do at Bear Creek Provincial park
Just like most of the provincial parks in the Okanagan, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at Bear Creek! You can enjoy water activities including swimming, kayaking, SUP, as well as hiking, camping, and even swim up to a waterfall.
Kayaking, SUP, and Canoeing
What better way to enjoy Okanagan Lake than by kayak, paddleboard, or canoe? The lake’s just begging to be explored.
Luckily, it couldn’t be easier for these dreams to come true than at Bear Creek! Okanagan Beach Rentals, which is set up right on the beach inside the park, offers paddleboards and kayaks for rent. The rentals are reasonably priced and extremely convenient.
There’s no boat launch at Bear Creek so, unfortunately, you can’t launch boats from here. But if you can portage your portable watercraft a few hundred feet on mostly flat, clear land (with a small dip down to the water), then you can certainly bring your own gear!
Swimming & Beach
There are over 400m of sandy and rocky beaches at Bear Creek. The beach runs the entire length of the campground, from the day-use all the way to the south end. The wide creek divides the beach, creating two completely separate places to enjoy the lake.
The beach is fairly narrow, but large enough to set up for the day. The day-use beach area backs onto grassy lawn, but the south-end beach backs onto campsites.
Although the beach has some rocks, there are no large rocks in the lake itself and it has a fairly gentle slope. The swimming area is marked by buoys. There are no life guards on duty.
At the day-use beach, there’s a changeroom with stalls, flush toilets, and dishwashing.
Hiking at Bear Creek Provincial Park
Across the road from the Bear Creek campground are ~5 km of hiking trails. These trails are rated as moderately easy and bring hikers along the edge of a small canyon. There are a few different trails, but they’re all very similar. The Canyon Rim Trail at Bear Creek is my favourite.
You can enjoy views of Lambly (Bear) Creek as it runs through the canyon, as well as a waterfall. In fact, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can hike/swim to the waterfall itself! ONLY do this when the creek is slow moving because it can be dangerous.
There’s also an easy, flat trail along the edge of the lake in the campground.
The day-use area at Bear Creek Provincial Park is quite extensive. There’s a large, 80-vehicle parking lot near the beach, as well as roughly 12 picnic tables with amazing views of Okanagan Lake.
The picnic tables are spread out along the beach and grassy lawn which provides lots of room between groups. Oak and cottonwood trees provide shade.
There are extensive lawns throughout the day-use where you can enjoy games like bocce ball, giant Jenga, ring toss, or bean bag toss. You could also enjoy a picnic! We often use the day-use at Bear Creek to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.
Tip: There are lots of Canadian geese at Bear Creek. Be mindful of their poop and give them plenty of room.
My Thoughts on Bear Creek Provincial Park
Bear Creek is one of my favourite local provincial parks. We often use the day-use area as a quick getaway from town.
I’ve camped here a number of times and have always enjoyed it. The hiking trails are also one of my go-to easy hikes in Kelowna. Plus, the swim-in only waterfall is one of the coolest things to do in Kelowna!
I love the large campsites because we can easily invite friends and family for the day and they can park right at our site. It’s also close enough to Kelowna that we can try to get in without reservations and it not be a big deal if we don’t get a spot (this is only helpful if you’re a local, of course).
I do wish reservation management was better for no-shows, but this is always an issue with provincial parks and isn’t unique to Bear Creek. I also wish there were more outhouses throughout.
Overall, I 100% recommend Bear Creek! The camping and hiking are awesome.
Bear Creek Provincial Park is roughly 10 minutes from both Kelowna and West Kelowna. It’s a quick, easy drive into town if you need to buy something or want to use the campground as a base for exploring the area.
Kelowna and West Kelowna have everything you’d need, including gas stations, Walmart, Superstore, Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and RV suppliers. There are also outdoor stores such as MEC and Atmosphere, as well as plenty of restaurants, wineries, breweries, and fun activities like ziplining, biking, and horseback riding.
Bear Creek Provincial Park FAQ
From April 1 to close, Bear Creek doesn’t officially have an FCFS campsites. However, for one week at the end of March, all sites are FCFS. Any other time, any unreserved site is FCFS.
Bear Creek Provincial Park is 158 hectares and has 143 campsites.
Yes! But please be cautious and only swim when the spring run-off is over and the creek is slow moving. You can swim to the waterfall visible from the hiking trails.
Yes, Bear Creek is dog friendly. They must be leashed and picked up after. Dogs are allowed in the campground and hiking trails, but not on the beach.
Yes, there’s excellent cell and data service at Bear Creek Provincial Park campground.