Float The Penticton River Channel
The Best Okanagan Summer Vacation 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!
The Okanagan River Channel Penticton BC
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!
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
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.
Your fun day of floating starts near Okanagan Lake at the launch site on Riverside Drive.
The Launch Site
Depending on the speed of the water through the channel, which is controlled by the dam 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. 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
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!
Many People Love To Float The Channel!
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
Taking A Break
The Last Leg
The End Of The Road (or river channel!)
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!
Love the Okanagan? Hey, then, share the love!