Destination: Peachland, British Columbia

Photography by Richard Giordano

Nestled on the western shore of Okanagan Lake, the charming town of Peachland, British Columbia, is located in the south-central region of the province, midway between the sizable cities of Kelowna (to the north) and Penticton (to the south). While Peachland itself is worth a visit, what truly captures the hearts of visitors are the winding country roads lined with cherry orchards and ranches, signs for fresh eggs and haskap berries, hearty ponderosa pines, and the warm waters of Okanagan Lake.

When I was a young, aspiring figure skater, my dad would drive me to the arena in Penticton to compete. As we cruised along Highway 97, listening to “Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat, I didn’t realize that behind the sage-filled hills lining the highway were a variety of BC Recreation Sites, plenty of hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation opportunities, and traces of old fur-trading routes and trails used by hopeful miners heading north during the gold rush. If you happen to pass through yourself, be sure to stop at one of the many bountiful fruit stands along the highway, as sweet treats like peaches, cherries, blueberries, and homemade pie are local, fresh, and irresistible.

Where to Camp

BC Recreation Sites are free or low-cost minimalist campsites located throughout the province, often just off a Forestry Service Road. Many rec sites allow campers to stay up to two weeks, but best practice is to check out the BC Recreation Sites website to confirm.

Just off the Princeton-Summerland Road, Crump Recreational Site is a 35-minute drive southwest from Peachland. There are 11 campsites to choose from, which are free of charge. If you are brave enough, follow the narrow, winding track to the bottom of the valley where the remnants of the old Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) have long vanished. There is another site by the river that is more secluded. If you brought your bike, head out on the KVR trail—it is located mere steps from the river.

Other notable sites include Trout Creek Crossing, Silver Lake Forest Rec Site, and the Okanagan Lake Provincial Park North and South campgrounds if you require additional facilities or hook-ups.

What to Do

Pincushion Mountain Hiking Trail is a 2.1 mile out and back trail, with stellar views of Okanagan Lake and a billowing Canadian flag to take selfies with. There are steep sections and loose gravel, so wear your best shoes for the jaunt. Next, head to Beach Avenue for a refreshing swim in the lake. The miles-long pebble beach is easily accessible by vehicle—you can pull over and walk right in. If you’ve arrived in the fall or winter, skip the polar bear swim and warm up with a coffee from Bliss Bakery and Bistro instead.

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory.