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Syringa Provincial Park
About This Park
Syringa Provincial Park is located in south central BC near the southeast end of the Lower Arrow Lake. The lake is a part of the Columbia River that was widened and deepened with the construction of the Hugh Keenleyside Dam at Castlegar. Recreation opportunities on the Arrow Lake Reservoir have made the park a long time popular destination and offer a comfortable base camp for the family to pursue a variety of recreational pursuits including fishing, boating and swimming. Explore local history and visit the Doukhbour Village Museum and Zukerberg Island located in nearby Castlegar.
The park protects not only provincially significant interior Douglas-fir forests but also preserves one of the few remaining examples of grassland ecosystems in the Kootenays. A variety of wildlife are at home in the park including, elk, deer and a herd of rocky mountain bighorn sheep that can often be observed grazing on the many rock bluffs. Opportunities for nature appreciation occur all year making this park a destination in every season.
Know Before You Go
- Lake weather can change rapidly; be prepared. Visitors should be aware that high winds could come quickly.
All campsite and group site reservations must be made the BC Parks reservations system. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Group Campsite Reservations
Nature and Culture
- History: The park was named for Syringa Creek, which flows into the Lower Arrow Lake near the park’s eatern or southeastern boundary. The “Syringa” or Mock Orange is a shrub which is indigenous to the area. It blooms in early spring showing clusters of white flowers with bright yellow stamens that emit a powerful, pleasing fragrance. First established in 1968 to provide recreational opportunities, the park was increased to its present size in 1995 to protect a provincially significant ecosystem.
- Cultural Heritage: This area is significant to the Okanagan, Shuswap, Sinixt, and Ktunaxa/Kinbasket First Nations. It encompasses areas of cultural and spiritual values.
- Conservation: The moderately dry and warm climate of this part of the West Kootenay is conducive to the growth of plants and trees like bunchgrass and ponderosa pine that are not normally found in the region. It contains beaches, grasslands, open and closed pine forest, rock outcroppings and canyons. It is important seasonal range for rocky mountain bighorn sheep, elk, deer and cougar. Many bird species inhabit the parks’ forest and grasslands including white-throated swifts, canyon wrens nesting in the rock bands and great blue heron at the waters edge.
- Wildlife: Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. Please view all wildlife from a distance.
- Management Planning Information
The management plan for Syringa Park was approved in May 2017.
Syringa Provincial Park Management Plan [PDF 8.0MB] (May 2017)
Activities Available at this Park
The Yellow Pine Nature Trail is a year-round trail, approximately 4 km long and takes 45 minutes to an hour to reach the top look out. It has 3 access points - From the south end of the park, on the topside of the main access road. On Deer Park road, directly above the gate house and from the edge of the day-use/picnic area parking lot, continuing across Deer Park road. The trail climbs the hillside behind the park, is fairly steep and considered a moderate hike. Yellow Pine Trail takes you through mature yellow pine, past several granite rock outcroppings and offers intermittent views of Arrow Lake from a terraced hillside. Rest and enjoy the view from the first lookout or go all the way to the summit. Both lookouts have benches. An additional 2 km of trail links the picnic area with the campground.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroy plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash
As Syringa Park is on a reservoir, the water does fluctuate from spring through fall. The water level is low in May, rises in June and is at full pond for July, August and September.
There are three beaches:
- Camper’s Beach adjacent to the campground
- Boater’s Beach at the boat launch
- Main Beach at the primary day-use/picnic site
The upper portion of the beaches is sand with the lower portion rocky, which is mostly exposed at low water. For 6 weeks in the summer during high water, Main Beach has a roped off swimming area with a maximum depth of six feet. The water temperature is described as refreshing to cool, however, with three choices and a combined 450 metres of sandy beach, the park provides an abundance of sunbathing and swimming opportunities.
There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Facilities Available at this Park
Wheelchair-accessible facilities in this park include flush toilets in the toilet building(s) at the main day-use/picnic area and campground. From the main day-use/picnic area a paved pathway is available to allow access to the picnic tables. The surface area between the tables is gravel and grass.
There is a boil water advisory in place at this park until further notice while the water system is updgraded.
Cold well water is available for cooking and drinking. Four water taps are located throughout the campground, with two each at both the day-use/picnic area and boat launch. Taps are shut off during the off-season.
This park has three day-use/picnic areas. As Syringa Park is on a reservoir, the water does fluctuate from spring through fall. The water level is low in May, rises in June and is at full pond for July, August and September. The upper portion of the beach is sand with the lower portion rocky, which is mostly exposed at low water. Barbeque stands and fire rings are not available.
The main picnic area is located northwest of the campground along the lake. The beach is 250 metres long with 30 picnic tables located on a raised partially shaded grassy terrace in front of the beach. A toilet/change house, 2 pit toilets and water taps are available for day users. This day-use/picnic area is the largest in the park, with a paved parking lot that can accommodate 220 vehicles.
As indicated by its name Boat Launch day-use/picnic area with its 150-metre beach, 6 picnic tables and 4 pit toilets can be found at the boat launch in the south end of the park just past the park entrance.
Camping day-use/picnic area is located in front of the campground and is primarily used by campers. The beach is 50 metres long and has 7 tables. The campground washrooms and water taps are nearby. This day-use/picnic area hosts the only adventure playground, in the park. The playground is set in sand with a swing set, monkey bars, slide and spring horse.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
The park has two campgrounds with vehicle-accessible sites. All the sites are gravel and the road in the Main Campground is paved; the road in Big Horn is packed gravel. There are no pull through campsites, however, all the sites in Main Campground are considered large and will accommodate bigger rigs. The Big Horn RV sites are generous, back in, gravel pads with electrical service. The Big Horn Loop sites are on the smaller size, more suitable for tents, campers and smaller RVs. All sites provide limited parking for extra vehicles. The Main Campground is one large loop with one cross road at its center. The Big Horn is adjacent to the day-use area with most sites overlooking the lake. The majority of the sites are shaded in a mixed forest of fir and pine.
The park offers services during the peak season of May to September. Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available. Visitors can select any non-reserved site and staff will come to collect fees. A gatehouse with a pay phone is located about 2 km from the park entrance sign. The closest store is Scottie’s Marina 1.5 km from the park.