8 Free Campsites in the Okanagan Valley
Browne Lake (Kelowna)
Good for fishing and swimming (but beware of leeches!). It is extremely peaceful and calm with a ton of space. Approximately one hour east of Kelowna off Highway 33. There is no cell service for Telus, and only spotty service for Rogers. Sites have picnic tables, fire pits, and access to outhouses. There is also a boat launch.
To get there, head SE on Highway 33 to McCulloch Reservoir / Hydraulic Lake Road. Turn right (west) here and follow the road for 2 km, past Hydraulic Lake. Turn right (north) onto a secondary road and follow to Browne Lake. The road can get a bit rough so take it slow.
Boss Lake (Merritt/Kelowna)
Boss Lake is a massive camping area approximately 45 minutes south of Merritt, and 1.5 hours from West Kelowna. Sites are large, making them great for bigger motorhomes or large groups. Lake offers good fishing and swimming, nearby dirt bike trails, and access to outhouses. Boat launch on the north end of lake.
During summer months rangers sometimes walk around to collect small camping fees (about $12 per vehicle per night). Also note there is no cell service in this area!
Voght Valley Road and Kane Valley Roads are both gravel, but easily accessible for any motorhome.
Beaver Lake (Kelowna)
Beaver Lake is only 45 minutes from Kelowna. Sites are small but private, and include picnic tables, fire pits and outhouses. The area is ripe with mountain bike, dirt bike, and atv trails, with even more remote lakes nearby are accessible only via 4x4 vehicles. Beaver Lake is the first lake in the chain of lakes in this area, so it can get quite busy during summer months.
To get there from Highway 97, turn east on to Beaver Lake Road and follow for 16 km until you reach a resort. Just before the resort, there is a gravel road to the left. Take this gravel road and cross a bridge. Look for a small access road to the right of the recreation site.
Idleback Lake (Penticton)
Idleback lake is a quiet fishing lake, approximately 30-40 minutes east of Penticton. Sites have picnic tables and access to toilets, as well as a cartop boat launch. Fly fishing is especially popular here. Watch out for leeches!
To get there, head east up Carmi Ave in Penticton then turn right onto Beaverdell Road. After approximately 20 km you will reach the OK Falls Forest Service Road. Turn left (north) and continue for another 6 km. Idleback Lake will be on your left (west) side. The road is gravel, but motorhomes should have no trouble accessing the lake.
Allendale Lake (OK Falls)
Allendale Lake is another great fishing lake, approximately 1 hour east of Ok Falls. There are only 6 sites at this spot, but it is usually not very busy. The road is gravel but very wide. Motorhomes should have no trouble accessing the lake. There are great dirt bike and ATV trails in the area.
To get there, follow Highway 97 to Ok Falls to the 201 Forest Service Road. At KM marker #18 on the 201 FSR, turn north onto Allendale Road and continue for just over 6 km. You will see the Recreation Site access on your right. From there it is 300m down to the lake.
Chewuch River (Northern Washington)
Okay, this one’s not in Canada, but technically is still in the Okanagan valley region. 2 hours south of Osoyoos is the quaint tourist town of Winthrop. There are some excellent pulloffs on the Chewuch River that lead to private camping spots. Check the GPS coordinates below for our favourite spot that even has a private beach. There is plenty of mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor activities within a short drive.
If you are going to/from the coast, highway 20 (North Cascades) is a georgious drive and much more scenic than the southern alternatives.
From Osoyoos, head south on Highway 97 after the US-Canada border crossing and head towards Winthrop. Go through Winthrop town, and head down Chewuch Road. Try any of the pull outs on the right side of Chewuch along the river.
Cherryville Rec Site (North Okanagan)
If you find yourself in the North Okanagan and are looking to do some river camping, the Cherryville Rec Site is a must. The site is located on the Shuswap River and has easy access. There’s lots of space so it’s suitable for group camping and can fit small motorhomes if needed. River fishing and hiking are the main activities.
o get there, follow highway 6 to Cherryville onto Sugar Lake Road. Access to the campground is 5.3km from the Sugar Lake Road junction and is on your left.
Bouleau Lake (Vernon)
Bouleau Lake is a medium sized fishing lake about an hour outside of Vernon. The free site features four campsites, a boat launch, picnic tables and outhouses.
It is considered an excellent family fishing lake with good numbers of Rainbow Trout in the 0.5-1 lb range. A great lake to get introduced to fly fishing.
To get there, take Highway 97 to Westside Road, turnoff on Whiteman Creek Forest Service Road, and again on Bouleau Lake Forest Service Road. There will be signs to lead you to the campsite.