Ellison Provincial Park
About This Park
The park’s natural attractions, combined with the dry, sunny Okanagan climate provide many recreational opportunities from spring through fall. Hiking trails along the scenic headlands are steep and require care and attention.
Established Date: May 1, 1962
Park Size: 220 hectares
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- Cultural Heritage: A rich cultural history is illustrated by signs of First Nation habitation in four archaeological sites and by old European homesteads.
- Conservation: Most of the park is dominated by stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir with grassy open areas typical of the Okanagan Basin landscape. A blue-listed plant species, Engelmann’s knotweed, is also found in the park.
- Wildlife: Porcupines, deer and columbian ground squirrels are common along the trail above Okanagan Lake.
- Management Planning Information
- There is currently no approved valid management plan for this area. Management plans are prepared as soon as practicable, subject to available resources and the ability of key planning partners to participate.
Activities Available at this Park
Canoes and kayaks are welcome. No rentals at the park.
This park does not have a boat launch. There are several nearby, approximately 10 minutes away. Houseboats can pull ashore at Sandy Beach, the standard park camping fee is charged for overnight use. Mooring buoys offshore in South Bay and Otter Bay are part of a marine park system sponsored by the Okanagan’s yacht clubs. Water-skiing and cruising are also popular.
Bicycles must keep to roadways and designated trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia. The North Okanagan Cycling Society (NOCS) club along with BC Parks has added a network of scenic multi-use trails. Ellison Park offers fantastic biking opportunities for a wide range of skill levels.
Maps and app access can be found at okcycling.com/trails.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas (except Sandy Beach) or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
Sandy Beach, a pet beach, is accessed from the trail leading out of the campground between sites 11 and 12. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Facilities Available at this Park
Some facilities in the park are wheelchair-accessible. The trails down to the lake are paved; however, they are steep and require caution. There is a drop-off area at the beach, but vehicles must return to the parking lot. There are three wheelchair-accessible toilets and a wheelchair-accessible shower in the park.
Two beautiful bays with over 50 picnic tables and a group picnic area are reached by trail from the day-use parking lot.
There are two parking lots for the day-use area beaches. The two main beaches are accessed by a steep, coarsely paved trail with benches conveniently located at the switchbacks.
Otter Bay has a pit toilet, fountain tap and volleyball net. Picnic tables with views of the lake line the crescent-shaped beach of coarse pink sand. The area is shaded by well-spaced Douglas fir trees with an open understory. The tables are on cement pads and the ground is pebbly gravel. There are two fire pits in this area but no BBQ attachments for the tables. The swimming area is marked with swim buoys. The bay is sheltered by rocky headlands making it a great spot for swimming.
South Bay has a fountain tap. The picnic tables sit slightly above the large sandy beach and are separated from it by a low rock wall. Ponderosa pines are interspersed amongst the tables allowing for some shade. The area offers a great view of the Fintry delta to the south and the other side of the lake. The swimming area is marked with buoys and mooring buoys stretch to the south towards a third beach.
The third beach, Sandy Beach, is a pet beach accessed by a trail of hard-packed dirt from between sites 11 and 12. A pit toilet is found roughly 50m up from the beach. The beach has coarse pink sand and is the smallest of the three beaches. Pets are allowed in this area.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
This park offers 71 vehicle accessible campsites, 8 of which are double sites. There are no pull-through sites at this park. Campsite reservations are accepted (61 of these sites are reservable) and first-come, first-served sites are also available. While there is no gatehouse, an information shelter is located where the access road enters the campground.
The park is open during the main camping season. In the off-season, a locked gate blocks the access road at Okanagan Landing road. It is roughly 300 m down a steep grade to the campsites, making walk-in camping difficult in the off-season. Through the summer, the gate is closed between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am.
Most sites are large and well-shaded by a canopy of mature Douglas fir
and Ponderosa pine. The sites are well-spaced and the abundance of low
shrubs affords privacy. The campsite pads are gravel and have fire rings
and picnic tables. For very large RVs (over 50 feet) the entrances to the
pads may be narrow and there are a few low-hanging branches to watch out