Kathleen Lake Trail Guide: Knox Mountain Park in Kelowna, BC

Kathleen Lake is a small, beautiful lake hidden in the hills of Knox Mountain in Kelowna, British Columbia.

If you’re familiar with Kelowna’s hikes, I’m sure you’ve heard of Knox Mountain — it’s home to one of Kelowna’s most popular trails, Paul’s Tomb. Even though Paul’s Tomb is well-known for a reason (it’s beautiful), Knox Mountain has way more places to explore than just this one hike.

Take Kathleen Lake, for example. This small, beautiful lake is important to the local ecosystem. Plus, the 2 km trail is usually quiet and you’ll be hard pressed to run into other people.

You can also enjoy panoramic views of Kelowna if you explore the many trails around the lake. It’s easy to turn a small hike to Kathleen Lake into much larger adventure. As a Kelowna local who’s hiked this trail many times, I can confidently say you should check it out!

View of Kathleen Lake from the shoreline. The water is very still and surrounded by the forest.

Trail Stats for Kathleen Lake

Kathleen Lake is a perfect trail for a quick and easy jaunt into nature. It’s right near downtown Kelowna, but it doesn’t feel like you are. And if you’re feeling up for a longer adventure, there are a ton of other trails to explore on Knox Mountain!

Although Kathleen Lake isn’t one of my top hikes for Kelowna, that doesn’t mean you should write it off. I love this little trail!

Dirt trail through a very green forest on Knox Mountain in Kelowna.

Exploring Kathleen Lake on Knox Mountain

Kathleen Lake is a small, geographically isolated water basin on Knox Mountain.

Sounds fancy, but all that means is that it has no outlet and is surrounded by upland. It’s home to lots of animal and plant life and is essential to the area’s wildlife. Birds and insects love to sing and coyotes and mule deer hang out in the area, so keep your eyes open. Bring along a birding book and see if you can name a few!

Kathleen Lake is a peaceful, secluded hideaway from the bustling city that is Kelowna. I love coming here for a quick dose of nature.

Hiking at Kathleen Lake

The trail around Kathleen Lake is fairly easy and good for most experience levels.

You’ll wind around the lake with great viewpoints and water access points along the way. You’ll get up-close-and-personal with the lake before heading uphill to a higher vantage point above a small cliff. The trail itself is usually fairly wide and well-maintained, except for a short section on the south side of the lake that’s narrow and rough.

As you’re hiking around Kathleen Lake, you’ll notice a lot of other trails. Knox Mountain is riddled with trails and it’s easy to get off track — which is great if you want a longer hike, but not so great if you’re prone to getting turned around. If you haven’t explored the trails before, it’s a good idea to track yourself using an app (my fav is AllTrails).

As you’re exploring, make sure you stick to the paths. Without even mentioning LNT principles, the ecosystem is super fragile and dry which makes it highly vulnerable to erosion and deterioration. Just stay on the trails, it’s easy!

Kathleen Lake Trailheads & Parking

There are lots of ways to reach Kathleen Lake since there are so many trails on Knox Mountain. Luckily, there are two main trailheads if you don’t want to spend all afternoon hiking in the park.

Knox Mountain Drive Trailhead

I recommend you start here if you’re new to the area. This trailhead is about halfway up Knox Mountain Drive; however, there’s nowhere to park and Knox Mountain Drive is closed to vehicles half the year. Instead, park on Woodpark Court and walk down.

The upper half of Knox Mountain Drive is closed to vehicles early in the year, which makes for an easy climb for hikers and bikers alike. Come mid-April, the road opens up to cars. If you don’t want to hike to the trailhead on the pavement, there’s a nice trail that runs parallel to the road.

Boynton Place Trailhead

For an unofficial trailhead, park at Boynton Place and take the trails to Kathleen Lake. This trailhead starts with an uphill climb right away and I recommend using an app to navigate since there’s no signage until you reach the top.

Spring forest in Kelowna.

Your Next Adventure in Kelowna

Where to explore next in Kelowna? Don’t worry, I have some ideas!

  • Paul’s Tomb on Knox Mountain: Paul’s Tomb is a tried and true fav for locals and visitors alike. This trail is in the same park as Kathleen Lake and is definitely worth a visit if you’ve got time.
  • Lochview Trail on Knox Mountain: This has been a go-to fav of mine for years! The trail follows Okanagan Lake and ends up in the same place as Paul’s Tomb, but it’s a lot quieter.
  • Dilworth Mountain Park: This is less of a hike and more of a saunter with stunning views over Kelowna. Go here for sunset, you won’t be disappointed!
Places mapped by Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

Where to Stay in Kelowna

Are you visiting Kelowna and looking for accommodations? Kelowna is a popular destination, so luckily there are lots of places to stay!

  • Bear Creek Provincial Park: Want to camp? This is a great campground for RVs to tents that’s right on Okanagan Lake. It can book up fast, especially in the summer, but it is a large campground so you might just luck out!
  • Hotel Zed: This is a fun and very unique hotel in downtown Kelowna!

Prefer to find your own accommodations? Check out your options here.

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