FOR YEARS, I’d driven by Spotted Lake along British Columbia’s Highway 3 (aka the Crowsnest), driving between Vancouver and the interior. I always glimpsed it out the window, but it wasn’t until after many passes that I finally pulled over to have a better look and read about what it is. The small lake is rich with minerals and in the summer, when much of the water has evaporated, these minerals are concentrated into small pools which give the lake its spotted and colorful appearance. Besides being an area of ecological importance, it’s also a culturally sensitive area for the Okanagan Syilx First Nations people who have traditionally used the lake for therapeutic purposes.

How to get to the lake

The lake is about a 10-minute drive west of Osoyoos (about 4.5 hours east of Vancouver) and can easily be seen from the road. There’s a small pullout with room for a few cars to park. Once parked you’ll be confronted with a closed gate because it’s prohibited to get any closer, but the lake’s elevated position gives a good perspective.

What you need to consider

  • Respect the signs and do not trespass to get closer to the lake.
  • The intensity of the spots changes throughout the year.
  • Nearby Osoyoos is a great little spot for a summer vacation and Osoyoos Lake is a beautiful lake to swim in.