Five BC Parks Camp­grounds for Es­cap­ing the Crowds

The Daily Courier - - KELOWNA -

Pitch­ing a tent in one of Bri­tish Columbia’s many pro­vin­cial parks is the per­fect way to get out of town. Here are five lesser-known pro­vin­cial parks where you are more likely to en­joy a quiet night (or sev­eral) in a ve­hi­cle-ac­ces­si­ble or walk-in camp­site.


Lo­cated in Pow­ell River on the Sun­shine Coast, In­land Lake Pro­vin­cial Park fea­tures a scenic 13-km (8-mi) wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble loop trail that’s per­fect for hik­ing and cy­cling. The 2,757-hectare (6812-acre) park at­tracts both day and overnight vis­i­tors with its canoeing, kayaking, swim­ming, trout fish­ing, and wildlife-view­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. As a stop on the Sun­shine Coast Trail, In­land Lake might even in­spire you to back­pack all or part of this 180-km (111mi) path main­tained by vol­un­teers with the Pow­ell River Parks and Wilder­ness So­ci­ety. (An­other multi-day chal­lenge of sim­i­larly epic pro­por­tions is the Pow­ell For­est Ca­noe Route, with its mul­ti­ple portages.) The camp­ground near the south end of the lake of­fers 22 drive-in camp­sites and pit toi­lets. If you need a break from camp fare, a craft brew­ery (Town­site Brew­ing) and restau­rants serv­ing up Mex­i­can, In­dian, and other cuisines are just 10 km (6 mi) away in Pow­ell River.


Does camp­ing on the site of a his­tor­i­cal gol­drush town ap­peal to you? Og­den City is now called Sey­mour Arm, but some of its 19th­cen­tury re­mains, in­clud­ing a grave­yard, lie in Sil­ver Beach Pro­vin­cial Park. Cov­er­ing 130 hectares (321 acres) along Shuswap Lake, this park hosts 35 ve­hi­cle-ac­ces­si­ble camp­sites and pit toi­lets. From High­way 1 near Chase, it’s a 83-km (52-mi) drive north­east on paved and gravel roads. The Shuswap Lake lo­ca­tion means a plethora of wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties are avail­able. Sil­ver Beach can serve as your base for canoeing, scuba div­ing, wa­ter­ski­ing, wind­surf­ing, swim­ming, and fish­ing (19 species, such as rain­bow trout and bur­bot).


Found along High­way 37 be­tween two much larger parks—Mount Edz­iza and Spat­sizi Plateau Wilder­ness—Kinaskan Lake Pro­vin­cial Park in north­west­ern BC of­fers a re­mote but still drive-in camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The 1,800-hectare (4,447-acre) park, 100 km (62 mi) south of Dease Lake, has 50 ve­hi­cle-ac­ces­si­ble camp­sites and pit toi­lets. For wildlife watch­ers, sight­ings of bears, coy­otes, hares, martens, moose, and wolves are pos­si­ble. Both canoeing and fish­ing for rain­bow trout are rec­om­mended on Kinaskan and Natadesleen lakes. The lat­ter drains into the Iskut River, which flows over a stair­case of Juras­sic sed­i­men­tary rocks at Cas­cade Falls. For the ad­ven­tur­ous back­packer, an over­grown trail leads from Kinaskan Lake to Mow­dade Lake in Mount Edz­iza Pro­vin­cial Park.


Ac­cess to New­cas­tle Is­land Marine Pro­vin­cial Park is by boat only, so its 18 camp­sites are of the walk-in va­ri­ety. Con­ve­niently, the camp­ground is just five min­utes on foot from where the pas­sen­ger ferry from Nanaimo docks. Des­ig­nated a pro­vin­cial park in 1961, New­cas­tle Is­land lies in the ter­ri­tory of the Snuney­muxw First Na­tion and has a sto­ried his­tory. Mid­dens point to at least two his­toric vil­lage sites in the 363-hectare (897-acre) park. Start­ing in the 1800s, coal min­ing and sand­stone quar­ry­ing took place on the is­land be­fore it was turned into a re­sort. The New­cas­tle Is­land of to­day boasts 22 km (14 mi) of easy hik­ing trails. The park has both flush and pit toi­lets as well as coin-op­er­ated show­ers and a play­ground.


There are two ve­hi­cle-ac­ces­si­ble camp­grounds in Kootenay Lake Pro­vin­cial Park, and one of them even has wi-fi avail­able for a fee. Lo­cated 25 km (16 mi) north of Kaslo on High­way 31, both the Davis Creek and Lost Ledge camp­grounds of­fer shady sites and beach ac­cess. Cov­er­ing 343 hectares (847 acres), the park con­sists of five sites along 100-km-long Kootenay Lake. The Purcell and Selkirk moun­tains rise on op­po­site sides of the wa­ter, which in­vites canoeing, kayaking, fish­ing, swim­ming, and wind­surf­ing. (South of Kaslo, Cody Caves Pro­vin­cial Park is open for guided tours.) Davis Creek is the camp­ground with the wi-fi. It has 32 drive-in camp­sites, while Lost Ledge of­fers 14. Pit toi­lets are on site for tak­ing care of busi­ness. For front-coun­try camp­grounds, BC Parks ac­cepts reser­va­tions up to four months in ad­vance of ar­rival. You can book at dis­cov­er­camp­ , or call 1-800-689-9025 (Canada and the U.S.) or 1-519-826-6850 (in­ter­na­tional). For wilder­ness safety and trip plan­ning in­for­ma­tion, visit­parks/ ex­plore/safety

In­land Lake Pro­vin­cial Park on the Sun­shine Coast.

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