• Okanagan Lake Formation

    Okanagan Lake Bridge Kelowna Bc CanadaThe Okanagan is known for its spectacular lake, seen all the way from Vernon in the North to Penticton in the South. While on a wine tour with Distinctly Kelowna Tours you will have amazing views of the lake, vineyards and mountains.

    Okanagan Lake has had a long and complicated prehistorical development. Some factors influencing its origins are: a rupture along the Okanagan fault over 50 million years ago, volcanic action and sedimentary activity, regional tectonic forces, deep erosion from repeated glaciations and the melting of the Fraser Glacier that last occupied the valley 16,000 – 10,000 years ago.

    Glaciation Periods: The Ice Age began approximately 1.6 million years ago. Ice continued to build up until the entire province was covered. Only the very highest mountain peaks projected above the ice. The ice sheet was 1000 to 3000 metres thick.

    The best known de-glaciation in BC is the Fraser Glaciation, the most recent one. Its deposit forms much of the present surface terrain of BC.  Approximately 10,000 years ago, the part of the Fraser Glacier that covered the Okanagan Valley formed an ice dam near Okanagan Falls as it melted, causing a large deep lake to form, known as Glacial Lake Penticton. It reached a maximum elevation of 457 metres, over 100 metres above the present lake level.

    Kettles: a depression in the ground where ice became buried. When the ice melts, the ground collapses and formed the depression called a kettle or pit. If the kettle contains water, it is referred to as a kettle lake (Okanagan Lake originated partly as a “kettle lake”)

    Okanagan Lake is approximately 120 km long and averages 3.5 km wide. Ellison Park, south of Vernon is the deepest spot in the Okanagan Lake at 232 metres. The bottom of the lake basin contains up to 750 m of glacial material and non-glacial silt, sand and gravel. The bedrock below this is as much as 640 metres below sea level. The surface of the lake water is 342 m above sea level.


    Distinctly Kelowna Tours is one of Kelowna’s largest wine tour companies, offering winery tours, sightseeing tours, agri-tours, culinary tours and adventure tours throughout the Okanagan Valley to individuals and corporate groups.