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Consistently rated one of Canada's most popular family vacation destinations, Christina Lake offers some of the warmest lake waters in Canada. Located in the Kootenay's region of south-central British Columbia, Christina Lake is also noted for its dry, warm summer climate. Also part of the Mountains West tourism region, Christiana Lake is nestled into the Monashee Mountain Range of the Columbia Mountains. Secluded Christina Lake is 12 miles east of Grand Forks, 44 miles southwest of Castlegar and 120 miles north of Spokane, Washington.
When visitors refer to Christina Lake, they should be aware that there are three locations using the same name. The unincorporated community of Christina Lake lies at the southeastern end of the lake; the 6,446-acre water body named Christina Lake, also known as the "Oasis of the Kootenays," lies along Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway); and follow Highway 3 into town and it will lead you to Christina Lake Park, a provincial park with well-planned public amenities.
Evidence of the Sinixt First Nations people, original inhabitants of this Kettle River Valley region, can be found in pictographs along Christina Lake's northeast shore. By the middle of the 19th century, prospectors and traders were settling the region. Angus McDonald, a fur trader and employee of Hudson's Bay Company, named Christina Lake after his daughter, Christina McDonald. At the turn of the 20th century, residents of the Kootenays saw new railways, increased mining, smelter and lumber industries, and an increased number of tourists who sought recreation at Christina Lake. With a population of 1,435 permanent residents, the community of Christina Lake remains a quiet destination with warm summers, warm waters, and warm welcomes for all who visit.
With an average depth of 121 feet, and maximum depth of 177 feet, Christina Lake is a steeply carved glacial lake. Twenty-three small, and often dry creeks flow into Christina Lake's 11.6-mile length. At Christina Creek, near the southern end of the lake, water drains into the Kettle River then into Roosevelt Reservoir on the Columbia River in Washington State. With an average summertime water temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmth of Christina Lake is likely due to a combination of factors: Christina Lake lies along the Kettle River Fault which may open access to hot springs at the bottom of the lake. The region's hot dry summers also contribute to the water's warmth. Until recently, surveys of Christina Lake's warm water have consistently noted excellent water quality. However, development and changes in watershed land use have hinted to water quality degradation. Christina Lake Stewardship Society has prepared a detailed management plan to address concerns and turn the tide on future deterioration of lake water quality.
The majority of Christina Lake's 27-mile shoreline is undeveloped because of the steeply sloped and heavily wooded terrain. Cabins and campgrounds are scattered throughout the valley but the majority of lakeshore vacation rentals and real estate properties are available around the south end of the Oasis of the Kootenays. Over 1,730 residential lots exist along the scenic waterways in the Christina Lake watershed area with approximately 430 lots on the lakeshore.
Swimming, scuba diving, boating, parasailing and fishing are the primary water sports at Christina Lake. The lake's largest 1148-foot public beach can be found at the south end of the lake in Christina Lake Provincial Park. Facilities in Christina Lake Park include picnic tables, a concrete "change building," wheelchair-accessible restrooms, drinking water, parking for 200 cars, and boat marinas in the area.
The northern half of Christina Lake lies within 97,000-acre Gladstone Provincial Park. Two campgrounds are available within the park. Often in high demand, Texas Creek Campground offers over 60 campsites, modern restrooms, drinking water, swimming beach, hiking trail and boat launch. Xenia Lake Campground provides three lakeside campsites in a more secluded area of the park.
Additional camping, swimming and boat access can be found scattered along the western shore of Christina Lake. After reviewing fishing rules and regulations, fishermen may try their hand at catching kokanee, brook trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black and brown bullhead, bridgelip sucker, burbot, carp, mountain whitefish, northern pikeminnow, tench, tiger musky, walleye and yellow perch.
Away from shore, numerous scenic hiking trails lead you into the cool shade of the back country. Popular trails include Deer Point Trail, following Christina Lake's eastern shore, historic Dewdney Trail, following portions of a trail built to reach 1865 gold fields, and Trans Canada Trail, which will eventually lead hikers through every Canadian province from coast-to-coast.
Mountain biking, championship golfing, tennis courts and lawn bowling greens add to the sporting attractions around Christina Lake. Hidden among the acres of rolling foothills are a multitude of nature's creatures. Wildlife watching may include sights of grizzly bear, black bear, mule and white-tail deer, mountain goats, moose, elk, coyotes and occasional cougars. Canoeing and kayaking into the cool shade of Christina Lake's tree-lined shore may bring sights of muskrat, beaver and other small mammals.
With an average snowfall of 17.3 inches, residents and visitors see the seasons change from sunny summer landscapes into a winter wonderland. Sporting activities turn to cross-country skiing, sledding, and for a courageous few - polar bear swimming. Roughly 45 miles to the east, Alpine skiing and snowboarding are readily available at Red Mountain near the community of Rossland. To the northwest, skiers of all levels will enjoy Phoenix Mountain, "the best little mountain in British Columbia."
Find your home away from home among the vacation rentals and real estate properties available around Christina Lake and create lasting memories at this family-friendly destination. Splash along the shoreline, build sandcastles on the beach or watch a child be transformed by her first nature encounter. Now is the time. Come, connect with family and claim the memories waiting for you at Christina Lake.
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