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!

Summer Fun In The Okanagan Floating The Penticton River ChannelThe 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!

Floating the River Channel is Fun For Everyone

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.

Your fun day of floating starts near Okanagan Lake at the launch site on Riverside Drive.

The Launch Site
Penticton River Channel 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.

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.


Every year people, both swimmers and especially non-swimmers, make the poor choice of getting in the water without life jackets, or they tie floaties together when this is not recommended.

As with any water activity, use common sense when floating the Penticton River Channel. WEAR A LIFE JACKET!!


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!


Here's a few more 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 Penticton River Channel!

Many People Love To Float The Channel!

Floating the 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

Penticton River Channel Near The Midway Point

Taking A Break

Penticton River Channel Half Way Point

The Last Leg

Penticton River Channel Second Half

The End Of The Road (or river channel!)

The End of the Penticton River Channel at Skaha Lake
We'll SAY IT AGAIN! - Stay 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!