Most visitors to the lake are only allowed to view it from the nearby highway.
This is because of the lake’s sacred status among the Okanagan Nation Alliance, which owns the land it sits on. Visitors who wish to go out onto the lake’s “walkways” must request permission from the group, but that’s not all. Visitors must also request permission from the lake itself. Allow us to explain…
It's important to give an offering to the lake.
The First Nations do this to let the lake know they’re approaching, pay tribute to their ancestors, and honor the sacredness of the area. The offering can be something as simple as water, but even if you arrive empty-handed, you can still show respect. Walking around the entire lake is considered an acceptable substitute for those who are unable to offer anything, according to Bob Etienne, a holy man and member of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Spotted Lake has not always been so well-protected.
In World War I, minerals drawn from the lake were used to manufacture ammunition, a far cry from the healing purposes these waters were originally known for. When in 1979, the family that owned the lake attempted to open a spa on it, the First Nations stepped in to purchase it and protect it as a sacred site.
Of course, the lake still welcomes visitors.
Though they’re kept at a distance most of the time, the site is still a spectacular thing to see. There’s even a local helicopter tour for those who want to take in the lake from above. So there are plenty of ways to enjoy this natural wonder in a safe, respectful way.
Or, you know, you could rely on drones.
Drones can actually provide a great view of Spotted Lake without disturbing the sacred site, especially for those who can’t make the trip to British Columbia. Though of course, taking in a natural site from the comfort of your home or on your laptop is nothing like the real thing.