Best time to travel to British Columbia

Spotted Lake in British Columbia

Unique beauty and creative work of minerals can be observed on the Spotted Lake during summer

Best time: May–August

Spotted Lake
Spotted Lake near Osoyoos
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The city of Osoyoos in British Columbia is known for its warm summers, unique wildlife, deserts, and gorgeous lakes. One of the most popular natural formation is the Spotted Lake. This site draws thousands of visitors from all over the world.

What makes this lake so unique is a very high concentration of different minerals. It contains magnesium sulphate, calcium and sodium sulphates, eight other minerals and small doses of silver and titanium. During hot summer months, the water in the lake evaporates, leaving only large spots of minerals, which change in size and colour due to further evaporation.

Depending on the mineral composition the spots have different colours. Thus you can see some white, pale yellow, green or blue. The Spotted Lake has a long history, but today it is a cultural and ecologically sensitive area, as well as traditional medicine lake for Okanagan Syilx people. You can’t directly approach the lake because of the fence, but still many travelers come here to watch the beauty of the Spotted Lake from a little distance.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Spotted Lake in British Columbia?

Spotted Lake is most enjoyable in the summer months from May to August, as warm weather conditions are favorable for outdoor experiences. During these months, the water evaporates, leaving mineral-rich colorful spots, making it an ideal time for sightseers. Nonetheless, visitors must be conscious of the high traffic in peak season. Show more

What are the different minerals found in Spotted Lake?

Spotted Lake has a high mineral concentration, including magnesium sulphate, calcium, and sodium sulphates besides eight other minerals. Binoculars reveal spots of varying shapes and colors ranging from pale yellow, white, green to blue and containing minute amounts of silver and titanium. These mineral compositions and evaporation levels determine the spot's hues. Show more

Where is Spotted Lake located and how can one reach it?

Spotted Lake is in Osoyoos, British Columbia, approximately 5.5 km west of the city center, along Highway 3. Thousands of global tourists visit yearly, with access via paved and dirt roads. Visitors can park at designated areas and admire the site from behind a fence to preserve the lake's ecology and respect its cultural significance. Show more

What is the cultural significance of Spotted Lake for Okanagan Syilx people?

Okanagan Syilx highly regard Spotted Lake as a sacred site that holds cultural, medicinal, and ecological significance. Its minerals are used in medicinal treatments for ailments such as arthritis. The lake's distinctive shapes and colors are symbolic in local legends, religious teachings, and ceremonies. Visitors must act respectfully and comply with its cultural practices while exploring the area. Show more

Can I swim or touch the water in Spotted Lake?

Visitors are not permitted to swim in or touch any part of Spotted Lake as the area is cordoned off to regulate access. The rationale behind this is to protect the lake's cultural and ecological value and its unique mineral formations. Moreover, as it is under private ownership, it is essential to respect and uphold the rules governing the site. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin