Wildlife

Deer Okanagan
Jun25

Wildlife to watch out for whilst hiking in the Okanagan

 

Spring in the Okanagan brings out more wildlife.  Bears come out from hibernation, rattle snakes bask in the sun and birds become more adventurous.  Though unlikely, it is possible to come face to face with several animals.  Here are the top six to watch out for when hiking in Kelowna and surrounding areas:

  • Bears –

    Black Bear

    The most likely bear that you would encounter near Kelowna is a Black Bear. Black bears can come in all shapes, colours and sizes.  Though the bears feast mainly on berries, insects, fish and grasses, they can develop an appetite for human food. Because of this, it is important to not leave food scraps or trash on any hiking trails or campsites!  If you encounter a bear, you should never try to run away.  Instead raise your hands above your head, act big and talk to the bear whilst you begin to back away.

  • Deer –

    Deer Okanagan

    There are plenty of deer in and around Kelowna, so this would be the most likely animal that you would spot on a local hike. There are three types of deer that are prevalent in the Okanagan areas: Mule Deer, White-Tailed Deer and Black-Tailed Deer. Though Deer are not dangerous animals, it is still best to leave them alone (especially their young), give them space and keep dogs close.

  • Big Horn Sheep –

    Big Horn Sheep

    Keep your eyes peeled for Big Horn Sheep. These sheep are spread out in small flocks across the Okanagan regions.  They are rarely spotted in well populated trails and urban areas, but they are great animals to see if you get a chance! The males have large, curled horns which distinguish them from other types of sheep – and these horns act as a sign of the ram’s status, as well as being used as weapons in battle.

  • Western Rattle Snake –

    Western Rattlesnake

    You won’t usually find a Western Rattle Snake on a well-established hiking trail, but never say never! You could encounter snakes under rocks or logs so be careful. Watch where you are treading or putting your hands – you don’t want to accidentally disturb a sleeping snake!  In Canada, only found in the warmer climates of the Okanagan, and small parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Western Rattle Snake is venomous and carnivorous.

  • Cougars –

    Cougar Okanagan

    Cougars, or Mountain Lions, are the second most powerful predator in Canada (after bears). The Okanagan is prime territory for cougars due to its mountainous, rocky terrain.  Because they are most active between dusk and dawn, it is unlikely that you will see a cougar on a day hike.  However, if you do spot fresh tracks or warning signs that a cougar is in the area, it is best to turn back!

Always be on the watch for wildlife when out on a hike, and always travel in a group.  If you are unsure what to take with you when hiking, please refer to our Okanagan Hiking Packing List.  There are so many trails around Kelowna to enjoy – Do you think you will encounter any of these animals?  Have you seen any interesting wildlife on your adventures?

 

Written by Hannah Poaros

Okanagan Mountain Goat
Oct30

Day trip to Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park

 

Now that the weather is starting to cool down and Lake Okanagan is getting almost too cold to swim in, why not embark on a hike? Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park is open year-round and is the ideal place to warm up your muscles.

The Park spans over 10,580 hectares and is the only part of Lake Okanagan’s shoreline that remains undeveloped, making it perfect for hikers.  As you explore higher levels of the mountain, you will be treated to superb views of the lake.  You can enjoy a range of ecosystems and micro-climates because of the park’s large size.   This means you might be in partial-desert wilderness when you are at lower levels, then as you climb further you can expect to see beautiful green forests.  Also watch out for wildlife in the area – if you’re lucky, you might get the chance to see deer, elk and black bears! Why not sit tight and see if you can find a mountain goat?  There are also several reptiles to keep your eyes peeled for, including the Western Rattlesnake.

Go camping, hiking & boating!

For keen campers or boaters, this park offers six marine campgrounds as well as sheltered beaches – an excellent opportunity to explore the lake from a different location!

There are several trails of varying lengths and difficulties, so be sure to check out the BC Parks map to see what ones are most suitable for you.  It’s also important to note that the area is prone to wildfires – watch out for unexpected hazards and expect some unstable conditions.  Travel carefully and always let someone know where you are going.  The park has limited facilities so make sure that you take plenty of water with you, especially in the summer.

 

For more activities in the Okanagan, check out our previous blog posts here.  Happy hiking!

Written by Hannah Poaros