History of the Cedar Creek Swim Loop

Although the Cedar Creek Boat Launch has been around for decades, most Kelowna residents have not been aware that the 600 meters immediately north of it has been a swim area, complete with a protective string of buoys, all positioned  20-80 meters from shore in roughly a straight line.  For decades, the beach was completely undeveloped, its rocky beach and built-up driftwood, making it unattractive for most beachgoers, and yet a perfect location for a nudist beach–at least until the City of Kelowna wanted to change that.  In the early 2000s,  a massive cleanup was undertaken, which included a walkway with several concrete picnic tables, while designating the area above it as the Cedar Creek Dog Park.  

When a Royal Lifesaving Society recommendation back in 2014 encouraged the City to find another open water swim venue, Cedar Creek was identified as one of the few available locations within the city limits that could fit the bill, so it was officially recognized by the City as an open water swim site in the spring of 2021.  The 9 buoys that define the swim course have all been positioned 75 meters apart, making for an out-and-back swim of 1200 meters.

As you swim this course, you can see below you evidence of Kelowna’s history.  Count as many as a dozen decommissioned underwater pipes,  a couple of waterlogged timbers, some two dozen abandoned concrete anchors, some rock patterns that suggest old fire pits and a once-much-lower water level, an upright but sunken marker buoy, and a couple metal contraptions that defy definition. Lots to distract you!

These days, you will also find plenty of sunken tennis balls that dogs have given up on, a few golf balls curiously very close together, and even a couple of lost frisbees.  And most mornings, dog owners will be encouraging their pets to take some plunges into the lake while you swim, which, conveniently, tends to keep the geese away.

Although some might now say that Cedar Creek Park has gone to the dogs since the nudists left, the area has remained a largely undiscovered swimming area for those who are comfortable in deep, open water.  The water here is clearer than the downtown beaches most of the time, since sand does not easily get kicked up when it is windy. The parking is free, and there is less boat traffic than at Gyro, where there are two huge marinas nearby.  And, when the lake does not reach full pool, as was the case in the spring of 2021, much of Gyro Beach Swim Loop is too shallow to swim in, leaving the Cedar Creek Swim Loop a great alternative for distance swimmers.  

As you can see here, the beach is more gravelly than sandy, which for some is a deterrent to using this beach.  But as a swimmer, most of your time in the water will be on top of the water, and a pair of water shoes can solve any issues with sensitive feet.  Although the staircases are concrete, they are not regularly cleaned off, and for its part, the City has no plans to add sand to this beach, or pave the parking area–at least until there is more demand here.  So, if you come to enjoy this beach, let the City know what you think will make this hidden gem even better!

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