A pontoon boat ride on Kalamalka Lake

The many colours of Kalamalka Lake provide an experience unlike any other in British Columbia’s Southern Interior.

The lake, just south of Vernon in the North Okanagan, is 16 kilometres long, with 42 kilometres of shoreline. We had a chance to spend a day enjoying the lake on a pontoon boat recently. The boat tour is an excursion offered by the folks at Camel’s Hump Guest Ranch. We stayed at Camel’s Hump Guest Ranch earlier this summer (read our blog here) and had intended to do the pontoon ride that weekend, but since it was rainy, we decided to save it for a sunny day.

Mike, our boat operator, took us around the lake on a sunny Sunday, offering details about the sights along the way. 

“Spending time at Kalamalka Lake was a new experience for us. As we live in the South Okanagan, we generally enjoy Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake, so we were excited for our first trip to explore Kalamalka Lake.”


The visual beauty alone made this excursion a worthwhile experience. The lake is known as the lake of a thousand colours, and it lived up to this name when we were there on a Sunday in early August. The lake had a turquoise hue while we were there, conjuring up images of tropical retreats. At other times, the lake can show a myriad of colours from cyan to indigo. The unique display of colour is caused by light scattering in the water, caused by the presence of calcium carbonate in the lake. 

Kalamalka Lake has a well-deserved reputation as a recreation area in the North Okanagan. There are city parks and public beaches along the lake in Vernon and Coldstream. Provincial parks at the lake include Kekuli Bay Provincial Park and Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. There are also plenty of waterfront resort homes and cottages along the shoreline, including some available as vacation rentals.

There are plenty of attractions along the lake, including 10 beaches which were all busy while we were on the water. Near Rattlesnake Point, there are areas for cliff jumping. We saw people swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, boating, and jet skiing. 

“We stopped a few times for a swim in different areas of the lake. Jumping into the lake from the pontoon boat was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the Okanagan sunshine.”


The lake is a perfect place to relax on a hot summer’s day. During the summer, the water temperature is pleasant, averaging between 22 and 27 C. 

The Okanagan Rail Trail follows the length of the lake on the west shore from Vernon to Kelowna. The trail is mostly flat and is well used by cyclists and hikers who want to experience the lake from dry land.

If you’re looking for a new adventure, we are happy to recommend a summertime pontoon boat excursion on Kalamalka Lake with Mike. Be sure to bring your camera, bathing suit, some sunscreen, and cold beverages.

The smiles on the faces of the other passengers of the boat confirmed good times were had by all.

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