Coming off of summer with endless action, it is almost hard to believe fall is in full swing as the weather in Osoyoos has remained in stunning form.
As we near the middle of October, locals and visitors in the region have continued to soak in the sun’s rays, with daily temperatures remaining in the mid-20s. While the weather is still optimal, fall has shifted the pace of life, with it feeling less frenetic and days slowing down ever so slightly.
With the season setting in and life slowing down, doesn’t it feel perfect for a fall getaway to Osoyoos?
Although the power boats have been put in storage and the beachfront has become less crowded, there is still so much to do and explore around Osoyoos during autumn, so we figured we would show you what your days could look like during a fall getaway to the area!
Day 1: Coffee, Art & Chasing Fall Colours
The day of arrival in Osoyoos for any fall getaway is the perfect time to get settled and get a lay of the land.
The lake is extremely calm and peaceful at this time of year with minimal boat traffic, so we highly recommend taking a stroll along the waterfront path at Gyro Park to take in the beautiful surroundings, while also getting views of the yellow and gold leaves on trees across the way.
Following a waterfront walk, we suggest stopping in at one of our local coffee shops for a delicious seasonal beverage or treat, such as a pumpkin-spiced latte, cinnamon bun, or both! JoJo’s Cafe, Junction 3 Coffee House and Wander Cafe all offer top-notch java experiences.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, the first day of a fall getaway is also perfect to visit the bakeries in town for something mouth-wateringly spectacular.
Another thing to consider while spending time walking the Town is to check out the impressive art collections at either of the two galleries in Osoyoos — or both!
The Art Gallery Osoyoos, located on Main Street, features guest artists, both local and non-local, throughout the year and is worth checking out to see the rich tapestry of work on display. Just a few blocks away, you’ll also find the Okanagan Art Gallery — a space full of natural light, showcasing the unique and beautiful art of the South Okanagan/Boundary/Similkameen region. This stop features a variety of work from painters, sculptors, and photographers that are sure to enhance your day of arrival.
The South Okanagan becomes covered in pockets of red, orange and yellow leaves, creating a vibrant and awe-inspiring landscape at this time of year so a perfect way to round out your first day is to check out the changing leaves.
With the vineyards, orchards, forests, ranch country, and desert hills becoming a spectrum of colours only seen at this time of year, it is worth venturing out to sẁiẁs Provincial Park (Haynes Point) — only a short drive or a 30-minute walk from the heart of town — to take in some incredible scenes and sights of serenity.
You might also consider driving east of town to the Anarchist Mountain Lookout to get a birds-eye view of the lake and surrounding area.
Day 2: International Hike & Bike Trail via E-Bike
Get ready to utilize a South Okanagan gem – the International Hike & Bike Trail. This gorgeous trail, dedicated to cyclists and people on foot, runs along the Okanagan River Channel. As you ride, you will travel past vineyards — with leaves of gold — orchards and local farms.
The trailhead can be found approximately 8 km (5 miles) north of the heart of Osoyoos, at the north end of the lake. The path runs a total of 18.4 km (11.4 mi) and is well worth travelling along, spending a fall day taking in the views of the South Okanagan from a two-wheeler.
We recommend tackling the trail via e-bike, which are available for rent on Main Street in Osoyoos at Double O Bikes. This will ultimately give you some extra power in those pedals.
One stop that is worth making along your route is the historic Haynes Ranch. Located on Black Sage Road, just east of the International Hike & Bike trailhead you will find the abandoned farmhouse. This collection of buildings made up one of the first cattle ranches in the South Okanagan and now provides an extremely rustic and picturesque backdrop.
Day 3: Wine, Dine & Relax
You can’t visit Osoyoos without stopping at a winery — or several. Setting aside a portion of a day to visit the abundance of award-winning vineyards is an important part of any fall getaway. While some of them close down their tasting rooms in the offseason, many keep their doors open and their bottles pouring, so you will want to do some research.
It is always advised to call in advance and book your tasting as well — this will in turn help you map out your visits. One of the best ways to visit multiple vineyards is by booking a wine tour or shuttle in order to help you navigate the region in a safe, fun and comfortable manner.
Multiple wineries in the region offer some incredible dining spaces with must-try lunch menus. It is well worth it to book a reservation at a place like Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl or Terrafina at Hester Creek, to indulge in some top-notch lunch dishes that maximize the use of local ingredients from the fall harvest.
For the non-wine drinkers, there are also several cideries scattered around the region and a local brewery right in the heart of town!
After inevitably buying a few bottles for future enjoyment, it feels right to take a load off and take some time for yourself via relaxation.
We suggest relaxing in the pool or hot tub at your accommodation or booking a spa appointment after a part-day spent among the grapes.
Levia Wellness Spa, Heaven on Earth and Solterra Desert Spa offer full services to help you completely unwind, whether it be a massage or aromatherapy or another form of care treatment. During the fall season, you might find yourself lucky to experience a “warm pumpkin pie pedicure” or a “pumpkin tea facial” as well, because hey, you are in Osoyoos so why not?
Now that you are floating on clouds, it is time to choose one of Osoyoos’ fantastic dinner options that are nearby most hotels in town.
Day 4: Indigenous Cultural Connections
Osoyoos and the South Okanagan are rich in Indigenous history and you would be remiss if you visited and didn’t spend time experiencing the local culture.
To start the day off, head up to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre. The beautiful centre — which got some renovations done this summer — is a great place to spend some time learning about the history of the Osoyoos Indian Band and the importance of the land and region. Inside you can also stop into a multi-sensory theatre where you can experience the legends of Sen’klip (the Coyote).
Don’t forget to visit the “Critter Corner” as well where you can see eye-to-eye with a Western Rattlesnake and a Great Basin Desert Snake!
All tours during the fall are self-guided and with the weather still holding up, we recommend walking along the trails outside the centre too in order to get an up-close view of this wondrous desert ecosystem. During your walk, you will be able to poke your head into a brand new pit house that has been added this fall and will be used in the future by the Osoyoos Indian Band for hosting events.
While outside, keep your eyes peeled as you just might spot some of the desert’s unique wildlife as well.
Now I know we outlined visiting wineries on the previous day but in leaving the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre up at Spirit Ridge, you are just a few steps away from the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America: Nk’Mip Cellars.
This winery was born in 2002 and today moves over 22,000 cases of wine each year. In fact, 12 per cent of all grapes grown in British Columbia are from Osoyoos Indian Band land. It is worth booking a tasting and spending time reading about the local band members who made the dream of agricultural tourism and success in the wine business come to life.
When in the tasting room, don’t miss some of the vibrant art pieces hanging on the wall done by local South Okanagan Indigenous residents — some of which have been translated to labels on the Nk’Mip Cellars wine bottles!
If you are feeling hungry, next door at The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry you can try cuisine inspired by the Indigenous roots of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Across the road from the Nk’Mip Cellars tasting room, you will find Sonora Dunes Golf Course. This is another opportunity to fill your day with an outdoor activity. The 9-hole golf course will be taking tee times throughout the fall and offers emerald fairways that wind amongst the desert sagebrush. While teeing off, you will have some spectacular views as well, overlooking the Nk’Mip Cellars vineyard and Osoyoos Lake.
In the late afternoon and early evening, to cap off the day, you will want to venture approximately 10 minutes west of Osoyoos along Highway 3 to catch the sun setting over kłlilx’w (Spotted Lake). This lake is a sacred place of healing for the Syilx people, the First Nations of the Okanagan. Its hundreds of separate pools contain one of the world’s highest concentrations of Epsom salts, calcium, sodium sulphates, and other minerals — which cause the ‘spots.’ At sunset, Spotted Lake is absolutely magical.
Day 5: Paddle & Pumpkins
Oh ya, if you are in town, we also have an incredible lake that can’t be missed. While the water temperatures are starting to drop, the daily calmness creates perfect conditions for getting out for a paddle.
Now paddling can come in multiple forms, but we recommend a canoe in the early morning. You may also opt for a kayak or even a standup paddleboard. Let’s put it this way, you can’t go wrong at this time of year for whatever vessel you choose.
In addition to renting boats on your own (or bring your own with you), you can take a lesson with an experienced guide, participate in a group tour or join a SUP yoga session.
Another way to enjoy the lake in the fall is by going fishing. Osoyoos Lake has a wide variety of fish and close to 20kms of parameter shorelines to fish from! Get out there first thing in the morning, take advantage of great fishing, and enjoy the calm and quiet.
As it is the fall season, we have to mention the harvest as well. Pumpkins and gourds are bountiful at this time of year and visiting any one of the fruit stands around the area will bring you a positively overwhelming fall feel. Whether it is to buy some fresh, local seasonal ingredients or just to take some photos, it is well worth it!
You might also consider heading out to Covert Farms and picking your own pumpkin from their Discovery Garden pumpkin patch!
This 5-day itinerary only scratches the surface of what’s available to you during a fall escape in Osoyoos and we can only hope it inspires some of your choices of activities when you choose to treat yourself with a getaway!