Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Vaseux Lake Provincial Park

View of Vaseux Lake
Location: 30 minutes south of Penticton
Website:  BC Parks
Map: Google Maps
Camping Facilities: Strictly Car Camping
Grade: C+
Stargazing: So-so, but some washing out from the lights of Penticton and Kelowna
Summary: Convenient to wine country, but painfully close to the highway
Park entrance from our campsite
Thoughts: If you're making your way around wine country, there is no shortage of bed and breakfasts that are happy to gouge you for a stay in one of their quaint, wall-papered rooms.  Okay, gouge is a bit strong, but as I stated previously, there are options for staying in wine country so that you can focus your spending on the most important aspect - the wine.  Vaseux Lake Provincial Park represents another option.  This is a first-come, first-served operation, with the operators stopping in on occasion to ensure you made your payment (though we just deposited it in the collection box - nobody showed up to check us in).  It's also located very close to the bird sanctuary of the same name, so close that you can hear them from the shore.

The sites are all oriented along the shoreline, giving each camping group access to a little spot of shore.  This is a wonderful thing too, considering the view that you get of the cliffs across the shore.  While we were happy with the lake access, the main problem with this site is that you're tightly sandwiched between the highway and the lake.  It's a span of no greater than 20 meters from lake to road, so you're guaranteed to have highway noise if you sleep in a tent.  But solitude and serenity were not the intention when the Vaseux Lake park was set up; this spot is strictly a stop over for drivers and potentially wine aficionados looking to sleep on the cheap (hello!).  It's a great place to rest before venturing into the spectacular Cascade Mountains area, which is just to the west.  Another good thing about this park is that it tries to provide you with some basic privacy by including some shrubbery between sites - with mixed results.

Stairs from our campsite to the waterfront
Sure, it's not glamorous, it's not remote, it's not quaint, and it's not chi-chi.  Vaseux Lake is inexpensive, reasonably well planned (given the limited space it uses), conveniently located in the middle of wine country and has some very nice natural scenery to make you forget that you're sitting on the roadside. Worth the $16, for sure!
Campfire on Vaseux Lake

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