Travel Diary » Christina Lake and Cascade Falls
Two nights on a quiet lake just over the Canadian side of the US-Canada border two weeks before the summer holiday hordes arrive. That was one of the highlights of our short road trip in June.
Christina Lake is a small lake and community near Grand Forks in British Columbia, less than 10 minutes drive from the US border. Over summer it's one of the warmest lakes in BC, making it a popular holiday destination. We ended up there almost by chance after friends mentioned that it was a nice spot to stop along our drive.
Getting there from Kelowna or Big White is easy - just take Highway 33 south and then turn onto Highway 3 towards Grand Forks. It's about a 3-3.5hr picturesque drive with a few lovely roadside rest stops and tiny towns along the way.
Two weeks before the official start of summer holidays, Christina Lake was practically deserted. Most of the lakefront is lined with private dwellings but there are a couple of public beaches. Quiet streets lined with giant trees and lake front houses, ice cream stores on every second corner and frequent signs suggesting you should keep a look out for deer as they often wander through the town. I couldn't live there year round but it certainly would be a lovely spot to have a summer home.
We stumbled across Totem motel and resort (a camping ground with motel rooms) after turning down a side street on a whim. As it was mid-week and outside peak season, they gave us such fantastic rates on accommodation that we ended up with a 3-bedroom apartment for less than you would usually pay for a motel room in Canada. Better still, the apartment was right next to the pool and a great playground. The kids would have been happy to stay for a month.
Unfortunately, with summer holidays still two weeks away, almost all the activities around the lake were shut. We were hoping to get out on the water, play mini-golf and give archery a try but they weren't open yet. So instead we settled for a short hike to Cascade Falls and the old train bridge on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
The trestle bridge crosses the river just after it passes into a narrow gorge. With all the recent snow melt the water was churning through the gorge. A few of the rapids were so big they formed waves.
Cascade Falls is located further along the same gorge. It's spectacular, particularly with all the snow-melt. A picture just doesn't capture the noise and power of the falls in spring.
We could have happily stayed in Christina Lake for a few weeks but with most things still shut we decided to move on and come back another time.
Both the falls and bridge are on the Kettle Valley Rail trail. It's a great trail to walk along with kids or cycle because it's very flat and well groomed. Just be careful around the bluffs above the falls. It's a long way down!
There are several ways to reach the falls and bridge:
This post is part of Friday Postcards at WalkingOnTravels.com