spotted lake osoyoos

This incredible lake in British Columbia is covered in colourful spots

Canada is known for the allure of its natural wonders, from the forested wilds of Ontario cottage country, to the flowerpot rocks of the East Coast, to the mountains and turquoise glacial lakes of British Columbia.

But you've probably never seen anything quite like B.C.'s Spotted Lake.

Nestled in the Similkameen Valley near the South Okanagan Grasslands, the majority of the lake evaporates in the summer, revealing its peculiar eponymous "spots": shallow pools hued by a number of mineral deposits like magnesium, calcium, and sodium sulfates.

Varying levels and types of minerals, as well as amounts of seasonal precipitation, mean that the spots are ever-changing and appear different every year.

The spots can range from yellow-brown to blue-green, and are best viewed from June to September

The water's minerals were used to produce ammunition during World War I, though the lake has been a sacred spiritual site of the Okanagan Syilx peoples for generations, and is now owned along with the 22 hectares of surrounding land by the Okanagan Nation Alliance Chiefs Executive Council.

The waters of kłlilx’w or Kliluk, as it is known, are said to have healing properties.

Because the lake is a protected cultural heritage site, as well as an ecologically sensitive area, trespassing is prohibited — but that doesn't mean you can't take in the once-in-a-lifetime view and snap a few Insta-worthy pics from afar.

There are also a few local centres where you can learn more about the lake's geology and history; namely the Osoyoos Desert Centre and the Nk'Mip Desert & Cultural Center. The lake can be visited from Highway 3 to Keremeos, just north of Osooyos.

Lead photo by


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Travel

10 greenhouses in Canada to visit for a break from the cold this winter

This picturesque lake in Canada mysteriously vanishes every year

Red Rock Coulee is a barren field in Canada that looks like it has objects from outer space

This forest in Canada has more than 80k signs from people across the globe

10 of the most sacred Indigenous sites across Canada

Little Limestone Lake in Manitoba changes colours depending on the temperature

This former Quebec City prison now houses a library devoted to English-speaking history

The Big Rock in Okotoks is a geological wonder in Canada formed thousands of years ago