Province/Territory: British Columbia

Farms and vines of Canada's only desert

  • 10,000 year old desert sands
  • 600 acres of organic farmland
  • 123 suites and 30 lakefront villas

This remarkable culinary journey begins at Watermark Beach Resort on sun-warmed Osoyoos Lake and continues through Canada’s only pocket desert to the organic fields and vineyards, country market and wine shop at Covert Farms in the south Okanagan Valley.

Travel through a rare antelope-brush ecosystem, past steep bluffs that are home to 18 species of bats and onto a sandy plateau where a glacial ice dam burst 10,000 years ago. Here, First Nations fishing grounds on the Okanagan River nudge up against the lush biodynamic fields of 600-acre Covert Farms. Get picked up in a vintage 1952 Mercury truck for a fun guided farm tour, stopping along the way to pick and taste peaches, muskmelons and tomatoes, sun-basked and fresh from the vine. Back at the Watermark Wine Bar and Patio, local wines are paired with farm-fresh Okanagan Valley fare. Evening falls to the serenade of circling nighthawks and guests feel like they can almost reach out and touch the stars, brilliant against the ink-black night sky of a true Canadian desert.

Why you should visit

• Tour Canada's only pocket desert, travelling over sands left behind by the melting of Ice Age glaciers.
• Explore the desert's rare antelope-brush eco-system, home to coyotes, mule deer, California quail, gopher snakes and red-tailed hawks.
• Pick, taste and shop for farm-fresh produce and local wines at 600-acre organic Covert Farms.
• Learn more about biodynamic fields and vineyards from Covert Farms passionate, knowledgeable farmers, educators and chef.
• Sample creative Okanagan Valley food and wine pairings at the lakefront Watermark Wine Bar and Patio.
• Wakeboard, parasail and rent jet skis on Osoyoos Lake, Canada's warmest lake.
• Star-gaze under the desert’s ink-dark night skies, protected from light pollution by a 1960s city bylaw..

Weather

• With its semi-arid climate, the southern Okanagan Valley boasts hot, dry summers with average temperatures in June, July and August exceeding 40°C.
• The town of Osoyoos is often named the hottest spot in Canada. Temperatures remain high through Sept/Oct. Winters are short and mild, and spring arrives early in March.
• Discover local weather information.  Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
 

Visitor information

Hours & Admission Prices.  Daily seasonal farm tours, three times per day.
• On-site food & beverage, including a country market, wine shop and a rustic wine lounge in a renovated barn.
Onsite & online wine shop

When to go

• Spring and fall temperatures are pleasantly warm. June, July and August are the hottest months with temperatures reaching desert highs of more than 40°C.
• In April, buttercup sagebrush and antelope-brush bloom in the desert.
• Sail on balmy Osoyoos Lake from spring through fall.
• Take the Culinary Journey through Canada's Desert to Covert Farms in June to October, when the country market is open.
• Year-round, embark on eco-tours from Watermark Beach Resort to the Osoyoos Desert Centre.

Need to know

• Bring sunscreen, hats and sunglasses on the tour.
• Wear comfortable walking footwear and apparel.
• Dogs must remain on-leash at all times.
• Children’s programs are available.

Getting Here

• Watermark Beach Resort is located on Osoyoos Lake in Osoyoos, about one hour and 40 minutes from Kelowna and less than a five-hour drive from Vancouver.
• Covert Farms in Oliver is less than 30 minutes from Watermark Beach Resort.
• Parking at Covert Farms is available on-site for self-guided tours.
• Covert Farms can be accessed through local transport companies.