Spotted Lake: Surreal natural beauty in British Columbia

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If Dr. Seuss created a lake, what would it look like? Probably like Spotted Lake in British Columbia, located just a few miles from the Washington state border.

Due to high summer temperatures in this semi-arid region, much of Spotted Lake dries up every summer, leaving behind hundreds of colorful, crystallized rings of pale yellow, green or blue.

View of the Dr. Seuss-like Spotted Lake
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The First Nation People considered Spotted Lake sacred and magical, believing that different rings cured different ills. The natives bathed in the water and applied mud from the different pools to heal wounds, sprains, skin diseases, and body aches.

Spotted Lake has high concentrations of minerals, including Epsom salts, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and other trace minerals. The color of each ring depends on the type and concentration of minerals.

Spotted Lake is on private land, so tourists cannot bathe in its curative waters. However, sightseers can get great views and pictures from Highway 3. There are also other, smaller spotted lakes in the region along Highway 3. The best time to observe this unique natural phenomenon is from June to mid-September when the lake’s rings show their best colors.

Mineral pools dot Spotted Lake, British Columbia, on a sunny day
Kamchatka via canva

The town of Osoyoos and Lake Osoyoos are a few miles east of Spotted Lake. Lake Osoyoos provides more than 5,700 acres for all water sports, including fishing, boating, canoeing, waterskiing, and swimming.

Anarchist Mountain Lookout is east of Osoyoos on Highway 3. The road quickly climbs from 910 feet to 4,045 feet. The view overlooking the Okanagan Valley is one of the most spectacular in British Columbia.

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