Located about 45 kilometers down a rural, sometimes bumpy road, east of Chilliwack lies Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. Due to its remoteness, and its beautiful mountain valley location, its a true “Beautiful BC” provincial park camping experience. Most sites cannot be reserved ahead of time, which means they don’t fill-up 3 months in advance like nearby Cultus Lake Provincial Park. This makes Chilliwack Lake often the only option for spontaneous camping trips for summer weekends.We’ve stayed at Chilliwack Lake a couple of times in 2014 and 2013. Both times created great camping memories, such as
- hitting a dear on the long gravel road back to Chilliwack
- throwing a log onto the fire, without knowing a rat was clinging to it
- having our daughter’s iPhone, which was on a blanket over her lap, trampoline right into that same fire pit when she stood up
While you may not get those particular experiences, you can count on Chilliwack Lake for it’s fantastic hiking. We’re the Day Hike types (actually, half-day); but our campsite neighbors were serious hikers who pack tents along for 2 or 3 day hikes into the mountains, while using this facility for base. They raved about the longer hikes scenery and location.
The lake itself is available for swimming and boating, but its very cold. If you want a beach lake, choose Cultus, or take the extra few hours to head up to the Okanagan. If you want the peace and quiet of the woods, then come here.
The campground is well treed and offers decent privacy between sites. There are no showers in the campground, and only pit toilets. There is also no cell service in the area which is important to know before heading out there.
The nearest town with shopping or activities is Chilliwack, over 45 minutes away.
The 146 campsites are clustered into 4 loops. Last time we stayed at Greendrop Loop’s double sites 23/24 which were fine but they did not get much sun and it was a bit of a walk to the beach and closest outhouse. For a few hours we did set up lawn chairs at site 22 across the street while it was unoccupied as it got sun. We even got so hot that we jumped in the cold lake to cool off, then returned to site 22 to warm up again.
There is a field area for bocci, etc between Paleface. Greendrop and Lindeman Loops. With all the trees, that field is a good place to grab some sun to warm up during any cool weather. The playground area also has a nice open field to take in the sun, play some games and have the kids get active on the play structure. Radium Loop is a bit farther away from the beach and field, the campsites are larger and more open but it is less private and a bit of a walk to activities.
Here is my advise for this campground:
- Recommended sites: One reason to go to Chilliwack Lake is that many sites are available without advance reservation. You Arrive then drive around until you find an open site with FCFS on the post and take it. The ranger will come around and collect payment at some point in the day. Anything in the Radium loop is far away from the beach and field areas. Paleface loop is closest to the beach but avoid 60, 63/64 of you don’t want a lot of foot traffic going by as it is right on the trail to the beach. The sites that open onto the green space are very nice because there is limited sun in most sites and the fields will give you easy access to sun. We will be going again early this season so I will make more detailed notes and update the site at that time.
- Campground Highlights
- Remote camping experience close to the lower mainland
- “First Come, First Served” sites available on summer weekends. Some sites are available to pre-book, and one even comes with a trailer that you can rent by the day.
- The Hiking trails are great
- I want to bring kayaks next time because the mountain view from the lake is beautiful
- More double sites than most other campgrounds.
- Sani-dump at park
- Campground Lowlights
- Lake water is cold, this is not a beach vacation
- Take what you can get for a site
- All those great trees do block the sun from reaching your site
- Gravel road on the campground. Not so bad by itself, but we did encounter an over-eager grater last time, who made truck/trailers back up to get out of his way and who was pretty noisy a couple of day
- No cell service
- 45 minute drive to town or Cultus Lake of you want any additional activities or groceries.
- Things to do
- Just camping! Great family time without cell phones nor electricity to get in the way of simply talking to each other.
- Hiking and biking trails
- Bring bocci or something to utilize the sunny field
- River Rafting nearby
- Linderman Lake Hiking: http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/lindeman-lake/
- Chilliwack River Rafting: http://www.chilliwackriverrafting.com/