Man walking along a mountain trail looking down on a sandy beach and turquoise waters

Vernon's Hidden Gems: 6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Vernon is home to hidden beaches and breathtaking views that remain largely unknown to visitors. These local favorites often require a delightful walk or a refreshing hike, leading you through some of the most picturesque landscapes our area has to offer. In this post, we’ll explore six such gems, from secluded shores to panoramic vistas, each offering a peaceful retreat into nature!

Woman standing barefoot on the shore of Juniper Bay beach in Vernon BC

1. Jade and Juniper Bay

Nestled along the shores of Kalamalka Lake, Jade and Juniper Bay are located in Kalamalka Lake Park and are true hidden gems ideal for those seeking tranquility. These lesser-known beaches boast crystal-clear waters and picturesque settings, perfect for a day of swimming, paddleboarding, or simply enjoying a quiet picnic by the water. The vibrant colors of the lake shift from turquoise to emerald depending on the light. 

Both beaches are easily accessible via a trail that leads directly from the parking lot. If you're drawn to the serene allure of Jade Bay, take the first right. For those wanting to explore Juniper, simply continue along the paved path to your left. Each route offers its own unique slice of paradise.

Discover Jade and Juniper Bay

Ariel shot of Rattlesnake Point in Vernon BC

2. Rattlesnake Point

If your thirst for adventure isn't quenched after visiting Jade or Juniper Bay, take the connecting trail from Juniper Bay to Rattlesnake Point. This path offers stunning, unobstructed views of Kalamalka Lake, leading you along a less-traveled route that promises a peaceful hike. As you reach the trail's end, a breathtaking lookout awaits, providing the perfect spot for sunset snapshots!

Learn more about Rattlesnake Point

Ariel shot of Mackie Lake House situated by Sovereign Park

3. Sovereign Park

Adjacent to Mackie Lake House lies the charming Sovereign Park, featuring expansive green lawns perfect for children to play, a beach volleyball court, horseshoe pitches and more! Venture across the well-kept lawn toward the lake, and you’ll discover a secluded path leading down to the peaceful shores of Kalamalka Lake where you can set up for a day of basking in the sun or have a lakeside picnic.

For a touch of culture during your visit, step back in time at the Mackie Lake House. This historic 1910 home is beautifully preserved, showcasing original furnishings and stunning architecture. Encircled by lush gardens and offering serene lake views, it provides a unique glimpse into Vernon’s past. 

Learn more about Sovereign Park

scenic views of lake and vineyard

4. Grey Canal - Bella Vista

The Grey Canal Bella Vista hike in Vernon is a part of the expansive Grey Canal Trail System, which features seven distinct trail sections across the Greater Vernon area. This trail system traces the route of the historic Grey Canal, a former 50 km irrigation channel that played a crucial role in sustaining orchards and agricultural lands throughout the region. The Bella Vista section itself is an easy 3.5 km trail ideal for both walking and cycling. Offering a level, gravel-surfaced path, it passes through picturesque landscapes including lush orchards, expansive vineyards, and serene grasslands. The trail provides 'Bella' views of Okanagan Lake, the Commonage area, Bluenose Mountain, and the city of Vernon.

Discover the grey canal


Rock climbing bluffs located at Cougar Canyon in Vernon BC

5. Cougar Canyon

Nestled in the stunning Kalamalka Provincial Park, Cougar Canyon stands as an ecological marvel, its dramatic cliffs carved by centuries of geological activity. This deep canyon is not only a haven for rock climbers and nature enthusiasts but also serves as an excellent gateway to some of the region's premier mountain biking adventures.

Just a short ride away, Kalamalka Provincial Park (Kal Park) offers an extensive network of trails, boasting over 70km of routes for both mountain biking and hiking. Known for its diverse riding styles and trail difficulties, Kal Park caters to bikers of all skill levels amidst an array of breathtaking scenery. And with the park perched on the edge of the lake, bikers can enjoy the convenience of a sandy beach near the trailhead, perfect for a post-ride swim or relaxation.

Learn more about Cougar Canyon

Ariel shot of Cosens Bay Beach featuring sandy shoes and turquoise waters

6. Cosens Bay Beach

Tucked away in Kalamalka Provincial Park, Cosens Bay Beach is one of the best-hidden gems in the entire Okanagan Valley boasting a hidden sandy beach with crystal-clear waters. This paradise promises a rewarding escape!

Reachable only by a scenic 2.5 km trek via a wide gravel trail that welcomes hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, Cosens Bay Beach provides a tranquil getaway. Here, you can enjoy outstanding swimming conditions and convenient picnic tables that invite you to linger over a leisurely lunch surrounded by nature. Remember to bring all your essentials for the day, as the journey back to the parking lot is an adventure in itself. But rest assured, the serenity and beauty of Cosens Bay make every step worthwhile.

take me there

Vernon’s lesser-known spots are brimming with unique adventures, each offering a distinct slice of the region’s natural beauty and heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or thrill-seeker, these hidden gems provide the perfect setting to create unforgettable memories. 

If you’re planning your beach visits for this spring and summer, don’t miss our curated list of local favorite spots! 

Check it out here