As a family, we like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Even though we have a lake that’s over a 135km (approx 84 miles) in length a few blocks from our door, we generally spend our weekends traveling to one of the many forests, trails, or parks surrounding our beautiful city. Last summer we spent an incredible afternoon hiking to Christie Falls and had such a great time that we jumped at the opportunity to go back this Spring.
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Now Christie Falls is not the easiest of hikes but it is certainly one of the most rewarding and definitely well worth the trip to get there.
****Disclaimer – The second part of the Christie Falls hike involves a very steep decline to the bottom of the waterfall. I only recommended this part of the hike for those with at least some hiking experience. The first part of the hike is a moderate trail with a few obstacles along the path. If you are an inexperienced hiker I would recommend only doing the first part of the trail which leads you to the top of the fall.
This 2.2km hike is located approximately 35 minutes from Downtown Kelowna. While I will provide more specific instructions on how to get there further down this post, I will let you know now, that in order to reach this destination, you will have to have a working odometer and a vehicle that can handle a bumpy ride along a unpaved dirt road.
I don’t know what it is about the haunting, though incredibly stunning view that tends to remind me of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.
This trail is divided between a steep descent and a somewhat difficult walk. The reason why I say that the walk along the forest path is somewhat difficult is due to a number of fallen trees you need to climb over and/or under. If one thing is certain, it’s that you can definitely expect to get a little dirty on this hike as most of those fallen trees were burned in the fire and are still covered in ash.
If you are going to do this hike, I highly recommend a good pair of hikers that are waterproof, or that you don’t mind getting a little wet. (I wear these ones and I absolutely love them!) When we did this hike last summer, the path was very clearly marked and easy to follow – even the parts where we had to cross the creek. However, when did the hike this Spring, we found many parts of the trail to be under water due to the mountain run off and most of the creek crossings were partially washed away.
Eventually, you will find yourself at the top of a very steep decline. You have two choices at this point. You can either continue on the path to your right and end up at the top of the falls looking down, or you can brave the descent and hike down to the bottom.
Trust me, the decline to the bottom of Christie Falls looks way scarier than it is.
Okay, it’s a little scary, but I am also a huge chicken!
The descent to the bottom of the falls is guided by well-maintained ropes, which makes it much easier to climb. It also made me a whole lot safer, especially since we had our baby in his backpack. I know some people think that we are totally insane for bringing our child on some of these adventures, but I assure you we would never do anything that didn’t make us feel safe.
The safety of our child is always our number one concern.
Anyways, I digress.
Once you reach the bottom of the decline you will begin to notice a change in the terrain. What started out as dry and rocky, soon becomes very wet and green. When we did this hike last summer we were able to hike all the way down to the bottom of the waterfall and cross behind it to a little spot just passed a small cave where we enjoyed a picnic lunch.
This year, though the waterful was much larger and had far more power, the cave and path behind were blocked by a large piece of ice and snow.
Did I mention that it also happened to be extremely cold at the bottom this year?
If you saw how quickly we turned ourselves around you probably wouldn’t believe that last summer people were swimming in a small pool at the bottom of the falls enjoying the view.
Altogether this hike should only take about an hour – not including travel time, or the time spent at the falls. While we couldn’t enjoy the cave and our usual picnic spot, we did find a nice place to sit and enjoy the scenery at the top. We even met a few other families with babes and pups along the way.
So how does one get to Christie Falls?
Here are the directions to get to this amazing location:
- Drive across the William R. Bennett Bridge into West Kelowna.
- Take the Westside Road Exit and head North.
- Turn left onto Bear Lake Main (Just past Bear Creek Provincial Park)
- RESET YOUR ODOMETER (This road does include KM Markers)
- Continue driving for roughly 11.5km past Burn Co (which will be on your right) and a second cattle guard.
- Turn RIGHT onto ESPERON FSR (you will see KM Marker 13).
- RESET YOUR ODOMETER
- Continue down this road until you come to a lake on your left (roughly 10km) – this is Big Horn Dam.
- Turn RIGHT at KM Marker 24 (roughly 10.5km)
- RESET YOUR ODOMETER
- Continue driving for approximately 3.5 km and take your THIRD LEFT TURN (You will want to stay left for all forks in the road. The left turn I am referring to is very clearly a left turn).
- Continue driving to the end of this road. You will drive up a small steep hill and find yourself at the unpaved, small parking lot at the beginning of the trail.
I can’t wait until we get to this trail again! We have already begun planning the picnic lunch we will bring. Do you have any favorite hikes in your area? I would love to hear about them!
You can also find more about our hiking adventures here!