Here are the most common questions we are asked about the village and the surrounding area:
Is there camping in Naramata?
There are a few camping/RV spots at the Naramata Centre in the village. Others are available at Chute Lake, 15 km. from Naramata and at a higher elevation, there is a rustic Forest Service campground with pit toilets, and nearby Chute Lake Resort also has campsites. Camping is also available in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, north of Naramata, and which is accessed via Chute Lake Road (see below: “Is there a road on the east side of the lake between Naramata and Kelowna?”)
What is the population of Naramata?
The area has an estimated population of 2,000.
What do people do in Naramata?
Many people work in Penticton, the adjacent city, with a population of 33,000. However the orchards, vineyards and wineries also employ residents, or are run/owned by Naramata residents.
When was Naramata founded?
Naramata was founded in 1907 by John Moore Robinson, a land promoter who also founded the communities of Summerland and Peachland. He purchased the land from rancher Tom Ellis who had extensive holdings throughout the area. Robinson divided the area on the benchlands around the town site into ten acre parcels, and promoted the orchard industry across Canada and in Great Britain. Orchards thrived due to the hot, dry summers, cool nights and plentiful water for irrigation. For more information about the history of Naramata, see our Local History article.
Is there a beach?
Naramata’s Manitou Park has the largest public beach. There are change-rooms, washrooms, playground, and horseshoe pitch.
No fires. No dogs, please. There is a dog beach adjacent to Manitou Park, just around the corner on the southeast side.
What is grown in Naramata?
Naramata is foremost an agricultural community. The Sunfresh Cooperative Packing House used to occupy a large parcel of land in the village centre, but was closed in 2008 due to the decreasing amount of fruit being grown in the local area. The building suffered structural damage and was demolished in 2011. To date no buyer has come forward to develop the site.
While tree fruits were the primary crop of yesteryear, the past decade has seen the emergence of a strong wine industry on the Naramata Bench, now a world-recognized prime wine region. Vineyards are increasing in number every year, and account for the largest number of cultivated acres. There are currently more than 24 wineries that form the Naramata Bench.
When is the best time to see the blossoms or find fresh fruit?
The exact times vary from year to year depending on the weather and from tree to tree depending on the variety. However, from about April 7 through May 20, Naramata’s orchards spring to life with a wide array of colour and fragrance. From the end of June through early October you’ll find boughs heavy with the sweet, ripe harvest!
As a general rule, you can expect to find blossoms or ripe fruit as follows:
|Apricots||April 7 – April 30||July 15 – Aug. 10|
|Cherries||April 15- May 10||June 25 – July 20|
|Peaches||April 15- May 10||July 30 – Sept. 1|
|Pears||April 20 – May 16||Aug. 15 – Sept. 15|
|Plums||April 20 – May 16||Sept. 1 – Sept. 20|
|Apples||April 25 – May 20||Aug. 1 – Oct. 10|
Is there public transport?
The Naramata Community Bus is operated by Berry & Smith Trucking, which also operates the Penticton Transit System. The bus runs between Naramata and Penticton three times a day, with a fourth daily trip in the summer, six days per week.
Is there a road on the east side of the lake between Naramata and Kelowna?
The easiest way to get to Naramata is via Penticton. However, for the adventurous, there is a gravel road between Naramata and Kelowna, best suited to summer travel and in vehicles with adequate ground clearance. The road is scenic, and part of it is via the old Kettle Valley rail bed which is single lane. In that section, expect to have oncoming vehicles, and negotiate with other drivers to find places where you can pass each other. When travelling between Gillard Forest Service Road and Chute Lake, you cross through Okanagan Mountain Park, the site of the devastating Okanagan Mountain Park fire of 2003 that destroyed over 200 homes in Kelowna’s Mission District.
From Kelowna take Lakeshore Drive in Okanagan Mission, take Chute Lake Road to the Gillard Forest Service Road. Follow Gillard Forest Service Road for almost 9 km. Turn right on the Kettle Valley Railway right of way, and follow the KVR for 11 km. to Chute Lake. Just past Chute Lake Resort, the Chute Lake Road down to Naramata is the right turn after driving over the small railway bridge that crosses Chute Creek. Follow Chute Lake Road for 11 km. Turn left at North Naramata Road, Naramata village is 5.6 km (3.5 mi) further south.
There is no time savings using the east side road between Kelowna and Naramata, in fact Google times the trip as longer than going via Penticton.
What is the Kettle Valley Railway?
The KVR was a rail line completed in 1915. It provided a transportation link between the southeast corner of British Columbia, an area rich in mineral resources, with coastal BC, the economic and population hub. The railway was one of the last built in North America with virtually non-mechanized means, using the sweat and muscle of men and horses. It was also a railway built through some of the toughest terrain on the continent. Gradually, sections of the railway were closed, as highways were built into the interior of BC, and the cost of winter maintenance on the railway soared. The section of KVR above Naramata saw its last train in the early 1970s. The tracks and ties were removed less than ten years later. The province of British Columbia then acquired the right-of-way from Canadian Pacific Railway and the KVR is now part of the 16,000 kilometre Trans Canada Trail system.
What is Naramata’s weather?
Generally speaking, the area enjoys hot, dry days with cool nights in the summer. The winter is mild, with temperatures hovering around the freezing point. Most years feature a few weeks of temperatures below -10°C., when local winemakers can produce ice wines of high calibre.
What kind of shopping is available?
Naramata’s main service centre is Penticton, a city 16 km. (10 miles) south. Naramata does have a general store, post office, liquor agent, a few fine arts, artisan and craft shops, a lavender farm, and a clothing store featuring locally designed and sewn garments. A full business directory is on the rest of this website.
There is no retail gasoline outlet in Naramata, so please check your gauge before heading out from Penticton!
What is the lay of the land?
Naramata village occupies approximately 100 acres (40 hectares) of gentle sloping land formed by an alluvial fan along the shore of Okanagan Lake. The village is flanked on the north and south by benches, several stepped plateaus occupied by orchards, vineyards, meandering country roads and residences.
Contrary to some beliefs, the closest Crown Lands are approximately 5 km (3 mi) as the crow flies to the east of the village, something that ATV and Off-road enthusiasts should remember.
Is there a Chamber of Commerce in Naramata, or somewhere to get tourist information?
Yes. The Discover Naramata Community & Business Society, a non-profit society, operates a tourist info centre in the former Naramata Garage, across Robinson Avenue from the general store in the core of the village. Check our Community section for the Info Centre’s business hours.
Naramata is an unincorporated community, governed by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS), similar to a U.S. county. Tourist information is available throughout the pages of this site, and regionally through Tourism Penticton.
How is the fishing?
There is a public wharf into Okanagan Lake where some people try their luck for the Kokanee, a small inland salmon (picture at left); but the most common fishing is for Rainbow Trout.
Serious fishers are more apt to drive 30 minutes to Chute Lake, a high elevation mountain lake, 20 minutes from Naramata.
What about the birdlife?
The South Okanagan is well-known for its diversity of birds as well as many rarities found nowhere else in Canada. Take a walk along the KVR to the Little Tunnel to see Canyon Wrens, Rock Wrens and White-throated Swifts, as well as the ever present California Quails that live here year-round. Turkey Vultures, Osprey, and Bald Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks and at night the Great Horned Owl, Bats and Night Hawks are often seen in the area. Manitou Park can be enjoyed for its many songbirds and woodpeckers, including the rare Lewis’ Woodpecker. Don’t be surprised to find one of the resident Peacocks walking around the village, or sitting on a fence. For more information about the birds of the region, see the Meadowlark Festival website.
What types of animals are around?
There is plenty of wildlife in and around Naramata. A partial list would include Black Bears, Coyotes, Deer, Marmots, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Raccoons, Rabbits, and some varieties of snakes including Rattlesnakes. Rarer, but seen on occasion, are Big Horn Sheep, Cougars, and Grizzly Bear.
In winter a herd of Elk roams around, and the occasional Moose can be seen as well as ubiquitous White-Tail Deer.
Does Naramata have any nightlife?
As you’ve probably gathered from this website, Naramata is a tranquil village, with limited commercial activity. For nightlife, The Naramata Heritage Inn and Naramata Pub have occasional live weekend entertainment. Some wineries also feature live music in conjunction with promotional events or as part of their restaurant offerings, as well as the Patio at Legend Distillery. Stargazing is also possible as the area is not yet light-polluted.