Float The Penticton River Channel

The Best Summer Penticton Attraction!

For visitors and many of us locals, the Penticton river channel, fits the best definition of leisure and fun summer activities. It's one of the hottest - or coolest ;-) - Penticton attractions and it's FREE to float!

summer fun penticton river channel

If you're looking to take a break from the beaches, come and spend an afternoon on the river channel.

All you need is something to float on! (And safety gear, of course!)

Our kids love to swim the channel with a snorkel and mask, and watch the fish swimming along the bottom.

Us parents love to just relax and enjoy the ride!

The float starts near Okanagan Lake at the launch site on Riverside Drive.

the river channel begins at okanagan lake in penticton

Also known as the Okanagan River Channel, it is a man made water channel that was created in the 1950's to control flooding and water flow from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake.

Today, it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in Penticton, and a favorite for fun summer activities for kids!

The river channel is about 7 km (just over 4 miles) long, with a rest stop at the halfway point, at Green Mountain Road.

Depending on the speed of the water through the channel, which is controlled by the damn at Okanagan Lake, the first half usually runs a bit faster.

It's also more shallow, with some spots less than 5 feet deep.

To get to the half way point will take about an hour and a half or so, if the water levels are down and the current is slow.

The Launch Site
penticton river channel launch site

When the water is up, the current runs faster and it may only take you about 45 minutes. If you plan to float the entire channel, prepare for a 3 or 4 hour ride.

Here's a few tips to help you have a great day of floating the Penticton river channel.

  • Sunscreen
  • On a hot summer day under the Okanagan sun, and especially in the water, sunscreen is a priority. It doesn't take long to burn when the sun reflects off the water, so lather up good with sunscreen and avoid the painful after effects of sunburn!

  • Water and Snacks
  • If you can bring along water and snacks, it's a good idea to do so. Floating the entire Penticton River Channel can take 3 to 4 hours, and daytime temperatures in the Okanagan can be in the 30's C and dehydration can occur quickly. You'll want to stay well hydrated so you can float the channel a second time!

  • Floating Devices
  • If you have your own inner tube, air mattress or other floaty, great, but if not you can rent them from Coyote Cruises at the launch site.

    Floaties, tubes, boats and other floating devices are sold at many local dollar stores, Canadian Tire, gas stations, at the river channel itself, and even some of the grocery stores in the city of Penticton. If you plan to spend time on the beaches as well as the channel, you may opt to pick one up.

  • Inflating Your Floaties
  • There is an air inflation service at the launch site for $2 if you need your floatation device filled. We use our own portable air pump to inflate and deflate our boats.

  • Getting Back To Your Vehicle
  • There are two ways to get from the end of the Penticton River Channel back to your vehicle. One option is to bring two vehicles and park one at either end of the channel, however parking is limited.

    If you want to float the whole length of River Channel, you could leave a vehicle at the end of the channel at Skaha Lake, but parking is quite limited there also.

    Coyote Cruises provides a bus shuttle from the mid point back to the launch site and runs at regular intervals throughout the day.

Fun Summer Activites For Kids - Floaty Boats Ahoy!

floaty boats ahoy on the river channel in penticton


Many People Love To Float The Channel!

floating the penticton channel is fun for everyone

The mid point is also the pick up point if you need to catch a ride back on the river channel bus.


Almost At The Midway Point

the midway point halfway down the river channel in penticton


Taking A Break

taking a break at the midway point


The Last Leg

the last leg of the channel usually runs slower


The End Of The Road (or river!)

end of the penticton river channel at skaha lake


Staying Safe In The Water

As with any water activity, please use common sense when floating the Penticton River Channel.

Although we've never experienced unusually rapid currents or excessively deep water, water levels can (and do!) rise with the outflow from the dam.

Use a life jacket! Keep your family SAFE!

Have a great time floating the channel!!

If you're not into floating the Penticton river channel, you'll surely love the beautiful beaches in our city!

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By: Erika Friedrich Copyright© 2008-2014 OkanaganVacationGuide.com All Rights Reserved