When our kids were young we kicked off summer by heading to Bear Creek Provincial Park for the Canada Day long weekend. It felt like the official start of summer and you could almost be guaranteed to have good weather. Kelowna has a great Canada Day Festival in town with lots to do for the entire family and even without Canada Day you will most certainly be able to find something fun to do. The last time we were at Bear Creek was in 2004, this is largely due to the fact the park is hard to reserve, but these notes are based on those trips so the next time I am in Kelowna I will go back to check it out again.
This campground is great for young families. At least back then, the roads that looped around the campsite were one way, paved and flat so it’s was great for biking. There was also lots of green space and park area for games of bocci and lawn darts. They use to have a great kids program that we would go to every night and on Canada Day you could sit on the beach and watch the fire works in Kelowna. Bear Creek is also a short drive into West Bank or Kelowna so if the weather is not great it is easy to find something there to do.
This campground is right on Okanagan Lake and it has a great beach. The down side is that it is on the shady side of the lake which means limited afternoon sun. Okanagan Lake is also very large so it can be cold early in the summer season. The messy issue was, goose poop, and tons of it, on the beach, on the grass, and often on your shoes, it was a bit gross.
The sites at this park are small but they are private and many back onto green space. We really only stopped going because the park was so popular it became impossible to get a reservations. There is an overflow area but back when we went it was just a large parking lot type area, not a destination to head to.
The last time we went we stayed in the double sites 47 & 49 with a third family staying in 50. These sites were good because they backed into green space and because we were with 2 other families it gave us room to play games and gather together. Our kids were young at the time so being off the lake a bit was nice. That first loop is also nice because it is near the swimming beach and the amphitheater nature shows and ranger activities. Now that my kids are older I would pick the double sites of 55 & 57 or the single site 58. Although they do not have a lot of privacy they have a great view of the lake and area close to the beach,
7 Tips for Recommended Sites:
If you want a double site I would pick 57/55 or 30/31 if you want lake view but are okay to give up some privacy, they are large sites with great views.
For privacy, pick sites 52/54.
Double site 47 & 49 are good because they back onto the green space and have privacy.
The sites in the first 2 loops offer good shade but if you get into
The 3rd loop (81-122) this is a newer area and if I recall it was a bit more open and much sunnier. In Kelowna shade is appreciated.
For single sites try and get sites 58 or 59. Both are close to everything and 59 still offers good privacy.
Since this review Bear Creek has added power to some sites. I am hoping to go back this year to update the review for 2021
Paved roads, great for biking
Lake Okanagan – nice beach, great for swimming
Flush toilets and clean showers
Close to Kelowna and Westbank
Nature house activities
Good foliage between sites for privacy and shade
Lots of green space for activities
Playground for kids
Goose Poo everywhere on the beach and grass
The lake is cold and windy early in the summer season
Very hard to get into.
Sites in loops 81 – 122 are not very treed.
It is a drive to any activities or hiking
Things to do
Swimming & beach activities
Kelowna wineries (25 minutes from campground)
Westbank Wineries (20 minutes from campground)
Boat & sea-doo rentals rental (15 minutes from campground)
Golf – many great location within a short drive
Gyro Park – 18 minute drive – great city park and beach
12 months of blogging and it has been an interesting ride. With the help of my husband we have created an electronic scrapbook of all our family camping trips. We have shared our reviews, tips and funny stories all while researching new products and campgrounds. We have connected with so many other campers and learned that camping outside of Canada must be on our bucket list.
Christmas 2008 was spent enjoying the snow at our trailer. Still one of the most memorable holidays we have had.
This weeks theme, Grid, was taken at Horse Lake, BC during a family camping trip. The grid is provided by my mini blinds as I watched the sunrise early one morning from my trailer.
Similar to my recent post, here is my take on the Connected theme. As soon as I read the theme I had an idea but needed to complete the trip in order to gather the photos. For our 19th anniversary we returned to the lake where we were married. It was fun to take some photos at the same spot we connected 19 years earlier.
A few weeks back the theme was Creepy. I found this photo, taken at the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, during a family trip to the Mall. It seems to fit the bill quite well.
One of the main reasons we camp is to have the chance to reconnect, away from the distractions of everyday life and routine. With this in mind it would only seemed fitting that I would be excited when my husband suggested we return to our wedding spot for a weekend camping trip to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Now I can hear many of you sigh at his romantic gesture and in theory I agree. You can now shake your head in confusion when you hear I was a bit reluctant to accept the idea. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the thought, it’s more that we were married at a mountain resort and it can be very cold in the mountains in September.
We were married at Manning Park Resort which is a lovely mountain hotel in the center of EC Manning Provincial Park. The ceremony was held on the shore of Lightening Lake with the majestic mountains providing the background. The memories that the pictures did not capture were that of our flower girls shivering themselves to tears as they waited for the photographer and the bridesmaids wearing the groomsmen’s tuxedo jackets to keep warm while creating a fun wedding shot. It was a beautiful wedding but I wasn’t sure I wanted to recreate it in an RV. Maybe a stay at the resort would be more fitting I thought?
Having a camping blog I realized I should be more willing to participate and that I was sounding like a whiner towards his romantic gesture. I decided to embrace the idea and prepare for a cold weekend. If you follow my blog you will know we are rural campers and usually pick campgrounds with cell service and often electricity and water. Manning Park has none of these, so as we drove out of town leaving our kids behind I was a bit nervous about not being able to reach them. My loving husband reassured me they were fine as he continued to drive off into the mountain without a second thought.
As usual he was right. We had a wonderful weekend hiking the trails, enjoying evening campfires and toasting our 19 years of marriage. Yes it was cold, zero degrees at night, but by the last night I had it figured out and prepared for the evening campfire dressed like an Eskimo. We enjoyed a morning breakfast at the resort as a memory back in time and returned for a photo opportunity at our wedding shore. Although I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t want to go, I can say I am on board to make it an annual trip. Who has the chance to spend their anniversary celebrating in the same spot they started their journey. Thank you Blair, it really was a great weekend.
Coldspring is one of 4 campgrounds located within EC Manning Provincial Park. The most popular campground is Lightning Lakes followed by Coldspring, Mule Deer and Hampton. There are also 3 group campgrounds within Manning Park. Coldspring is a very large campground but only offers basic amenities; pit toilets, well water and a self check in gate which are consistent with the less expensive Provincial Parks. We could not get a site at Lightning Lake on the long weekend so we settled with one at Coldspring. As we approached we could see several campsites from the highway so we were concerned. The large loop of the campground is very exposed to the highway and the sites offer limited trees to provide privacy. Most of the sites are a good size though and upon further review there were many that would work great. We went for a walk and found several sites along the creek which sat well below the highway providing a private, quiet camping experience.
What this park offers is great hiking. There are endless trails in this area that range from easy short hikes to more experienced overnight camping trails. We were camping with another couple who were staying at Lightning Lakes so we planned to spend a lot of time up there. They had printed off 8 pages of hiking trails in the area, so deciding on which one was the challenging part. Upon arrival the weather was rainy and cold with a nighttime low of -2 degrees being called for. That forecast worked in our favour because Saturday morning we were able to move to a site at Lightning Lakes due to a cancellation. Turned out the weather was nice and sunny all weekend so our trip was great.
Note that there is no cellphone reception within EC Manning Park. You can access Wifi at the resort if needed.
Our thoughts in the Coldspring Campground
We stayed in site 13. It was large with a lot of space between us and our neighbors although quite open and we could see and hear the highway traffic.
In the main loop, I would only recommend sites along the creek. They are well treed, backed onto the creek which helped mute the traffic and offered good privacy. Site 26 would be our top choice.
The lower road offers the best sites (sites 27-47). The road runs well below the highway so traffic noise was well muted. I would suggest only sites on the creek side because most of the roadside sites were very narrow and open to the road.
Site 28 & 32 were very nice pull through style sites.
Site 37 was the last site on the road and was very private. Great for dogs because they would have more freedom.
If staying on the lower road we noticed the noise started to disappear at site 42 and past.
Creekside sites on lower roads are very private.
Many double sites to choose from
Several first come first serve sites
Short walking trail that leads to Lightning Lakes Park.
Campground access to several local hikes
Proximity to highway. Some site are fully exposed to the road
Limited large trees on center sites
No cell service at all
Things to do
Hiking is the main attraction for campers in the area
Whistler, British Columbia is one of my favourite places to visit in the summer. There is so much to do and so many people to watch that it is impossible to be bored. As mentioned in my review of Riverside Campground, we spent 3 nights in Whistler with 2 other couples all camping in RV’s. We planned to hike, bike and enjoy the beach during this trip and we were not disappointed. Continue reading →
Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located 5 minutes outside Pemberton and 25 minutes north of Whistler making it a great home base for those wanting to enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area. We recently camped a night there before heading into Whistler.
We decided to only stay one night mostly because of the limited facilities. Nairn Falls has no hook ups, which is the case with most provincial parks, but it also only has pit toilets and well water making it a bit more primitive than the camping we normally do (aka, I like my showers). We were planning a Monday night stay, so after checking the Discover Camping Reservation System which indicated the chance of getting a first come first serve site was high, we headed there without a site reserved.
Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal to most people but I am someone who likes to plan things down to the smallest detail so this was a risky move for me and even riskier for my husband who had to deal with my heightened stress.The drive from Vancouver to Nairn Falls is spectacular and worth the trip on its own. We arrived around noon and after cruising around the campground we settled on a site. We were meeting another couple so it was an added bonus that we could get double site 8/9. The camp sites at this park are large so there really isn’t a bad site to be had but all the sites along the cliffs edge have spectacular views and are worth reserving ahead of time if you can get one. Not surprising those sites were gone but a site across the road from the view was the next best thing. It was also close to the washrooms and far enough off the road to distance the traffic noise.
The main reason we decided to stay at Nairn Falls was for the local hiking so after we set up we headed out to complete the Joffre Lake hike. This has to be one of the most spectacular hikes in the area and it only took around 2 hours to complete. That evening we enjoyed the views of the campground and drinks with friends.
The next morning was check out so we only had time for a short hike. We saved the Nairn Falls hike for that morning because it can be completed in under and hour. It was an easy hike and worth the view at the end.
Once packed up we were ready to head out but it was too early to check into our Whistler campground so we decided to explore Pemberton. We had passed North Arm Farm the day before and wanted to go back to find some fresh berries. The views from this farm were amazing and after buying a “hand pie” we sat on the swings and took in the sites. I had never berry picked before so myself and one of our friends headed into the fields, bucket in hand. It didn’t take us long to realize why they can never hire berry pickers. In our short 15 minute pick we were both covered in mosquito bites. After gather enough berries for sangria and cereal we called it a day and headed back to the safety of our vehicles. On to Whistler it was but not before declaring Pemberton and Joffre Lakes a successful stay.
Here are my thoughts on the campground.
Sites 2,4,6,7,11,13/14,16 are prime view sites. Get them if you can, they are worth it.
Avoid sites that back onto highway 99, although there is a lot of bush to dampen the noise, the highway is right there so they are the noisiest
Last weekend we headed out for a 7 day 3 campground excursion with 2 other couples. I affectionately called it the 7 day hike but after day one we were not sure we would still be walking. 4 of us arrived at Nairn Falls Provincial Park in Pemberton, BC and after arrival I explained my 7 day hike theme. As a group of campers who call bocci exercise, you can imagine how well received my idea was but they are all troopers and appeasingly agreed. Continue reading →
Hike number 2 on our 7 day hiking trip was Nairn Falls located just south of Pemberton. We had set up camp at Nairn Falls Provincial Park for one night so we needed a short hike in the morning before we had to check out. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is only 1.5 km so it fit the bill just right. It was also an easy hike and because we were all recovering from our Joffre Lake hike the day before it seemed perfect. Continue reading →
My girls weekend has come to a close and all that is left is the sharing of memories, oh ya, and the laundry. Last weekend I had the good fortune to spend the time with some friends. We had 5 women who camped over night and another 4 who were able to drive out and spend the day. Day 1- set up, unpack and unwind (aka camp chair – set up, snack food – unpack and apple cider – unwind). Once set up we decided to walk into beautiful Fort Langley for dinner and a few drinks. It was a great way to start the weekend, no cooking, no dishes and no mosquitos. After dinner we walked back enjoying the sunset and then settling in for a campfire. That was when we realized…. Continue reading →