Are you tired of the usual tourist stops? Are you looking for something strange or unusual to add that special something to your vacation plans? Then this is the place for you. Are you going to Canada anytime soon? Once you hit all the must-see spots (discussed elsewhere on this website), save some time to check out this particular weird place. It’s known as Spotted Lake.
British Columbia, Canada
Spotted Lake, long revered by the native Okanagan or Sylix people, is actually a saline endorheic alkali lake they consider to be sacred. The lake is situated in the eastern section of the Similkameen Valley of British Columbia in Canada. It is northwest of Osoyoos and can be seen and reached via Highway 3.
What’s So Special About Spotted Lake?
Every summer the lake’s water evaporates. Small mineral pools are left behind. Each pool has its own unique color. Tourists are asked to avoid trespassing on the nearby tribal land.
The lake, once known to the First Nations of the Okanagan Valley as Kliluk, contains a high concentration of numerous minerals including calcium, magnesium and sodium sulfates and eight additional minerals. It also contains smaller quantities of titanium and silver. Perhaps this is part of why to this day it remains a sacred site and the locals think the lake’s waters are therapeutic. Interestingly, during the first world war, Spotted Lakes’ minerals were actually collected and used in the manufacturing of ammunition.
A “Spotty” History
For almost four decades, the area was controlled by the Ernest Smith Family. Ernest Smith tried to drum up interest in a spa there at the lake In 1979. This only resulted in the First Nations attempting to purchase the lake. In October 2001, the First Nations bought 22 hectares of land for $720,000. The Indian Affairs Department paid all but 20 percent of the cost. And now for the million dollar question:
Why is Spotted Lake “Spotted”?
As previously noted, the majority of the lake’s water evaporates every summer uncovering colorful deposits of different minerals. Thus it looks as if the lake has large, colored “spots”. The colors are determined by the amount of rain that year and the main mineral composition of each specific “spot”. One major common contributor to the spot color is magnesium sulfate which actually crystallizes during the summer months. The other minerals in the lake then also harden to form what are actually natural “walkways” between and around each of the spots in the lake.